Patent Filing in ASEAN

Patent Attorney in Asia

A patent is an exclusive legal right granted to the applicant for a new invention by the government that prevents from making, using, importing, or selling the invention without his permission. Patent’s rights are territorial, which means an individual can protect his invention in the geography where he filed the patent application. An individual can also obtain international patent protection by directly filing a patent application in the country where he wishes to get a patent. There are three types of patents. These are utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A utility patent is concerned with the technology and it has to do with how something works. It has to do with mechanical things or chemicals or pharmaceuticals or software, it might be simple, it might be a screw or a nut or a bolt but there is something technical about the product. It could be shown in drawings. It can describe in tables or chemical composition. The utility patent includes a detailed and written description.  Design patent covers the ornamental design. Plant patents are the rarest of all kinds of patents. They are not that hard to get, but they are in a specialized field, typically, for example, for hybrid roses. If you breed hybrid roses, you might be interested in plant patent. 

Patents protect inventive ideas themselves.  In the United States, the patent and trademark office issues patents to inventors who can demonstrate their inventions are new and useful. Patents provide the inventor 20 years period of exclusive control over their idea, preventing anyone else from making, using, selling, or importing the invention into the United States. Patent holders can recover their lost profits or a reasonable royalty from anyone who infringes their patent and up to triple damages from anyone who infringes wilfully. Patent holders can also obtain a court order preventing infringers from making, using, selling, or importing any products based on their patents.

ASEAN is a political and economic alliance of ten countries. The group’s five original member states are Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, founded ASAEN in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war. At that time, many Southeast Asian governments were at war with their respective communist-led guerrilla groups, and leaders became increasingly concerned about political vulnerability. So, they ally to not only secure the region against the threat of communism but to give Southeast Asia a cohesive voice on Cold war issues.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, ASAEN has shifted its focus to international trade, border security, and collaboration with neighbouring countries like China and South Korea. For instance, ASEAN member state GDP range anywhere from roughly $11 to roughly 888 billion dollars, but collectively their GDP is about 2.5 trillion dollars rivalling that of France and the United Kingdom. ASEAN striving to create a distinct “Southeast Asian identity” by 2020. It means that citizens belonging to these member states would identify themselves not by their nationality, but by calling themselves ASEAN.   

The Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has the goal of establishing itself as a single market and competitive economic region. The Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recognizes the patent system as a tool to persuade and promote a pro-business environment and to attract technological investment to the region. ASEAN can become one of the largest economies and markets in the world, which is in itself is sufficient justification to consider IP strategies in the region. In the future, if ASEAN becomes the single economy, then it would be the seventh-largest in the world and the third-largest in Asia, behind China and Japan. If ASEAN grows with current growth trends, then it will be the world’s fourth-largest by 2050. ASEAN’s potential market is greater than the European Union, which is justification in the region’s GDP growth from the perspective of the population.

The limited institutional capacity and flaws in the patent registration system in ASEAN countries are hurdles for development. ASEAN must adopt another regional model, which is the Regional Patent Office, to remove such barriers and promote the patent registration system in ASEAN. Regional Patent Office gives an advantage to ASEAN in improving its capability in administering the patent registration and promoting the goal of ASEAN to accelerate the technological growth in the region. ASEAN member states must overcome the challenges in establishing the regional Patent Office.  

ASPEC stands for The ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation which, is launched on 15 June 2009. ASPEC is the first regional patent work-sharing program among its nine participating ASEAN Member states IP Offices. These member states IP Offices are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. In all participating AMS IP Offices, ASPEC operates in the English language and is free-of-charge to the applicant at any participating AMS IP Office. The patent office assesses the patentability of a patent application by conducting exam and examination quality. The main aim of the ASPEC programme is to improve search and examination quality. With the help of the ASPEC programme, participating can share S&E results.


ASEAN Business Information for Technology Companies

Business in Singapore, Patent Attorney in Asia

ASEAN stands for The Association of Southeast Asian Nations which is a regional organization that comprises ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and provide the facility of political, economic, security, educational, military, and socio-cultural integration among its members such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia and Laos. These facilities are provided to the other countries of Asia also. ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in the Philippines with its  headquarter in Jakarta, Indonesia. The founders of ASEAN are Abdul Razak Hussein, Narciso Ramos, Adam Malik, S. Rajaratnam, and Thanat Khoman.

Business investments in ASEAN are able to achieve desired goals through advisory and expertise of management consultant. The management consulting services are aimed at creating a digital trust through financial management initiatives. Across various companies, financial analysis to ensure regulatory and legal compliance is the backbone of a strong business strategy. Such initiatives result in optimization of financial processes and an effective cost management. The job profile of management consultants in ASEAN markets like Singapore also covers risk consulting, deal advisory and preparing best practices for strategy and operations.

In February 2016, the United States hosted its first-ever ASEAN Summit. The meeting was part of President Obama’s efforts to strengthen economic and security ties with Southeast Asia. The US’s interest in ASEAN countries has grown significantly in recent years as tensions rise over the highly disputed South China Sea. ASEAN is a political and economic alliance of ten countries. The group’s five original member states are Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, founded ASEAN in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war. At the time, many Southeast Asian governments were at war with their respective communist-led groups. Guerrilla groups and leaders became increasingly concerned over the region’s political vulnerability. So, they formed an alliance to secure the region against the threat of communism and to give Southeast Asia a cohesive voice on Cold War issues.

ASEAN wants growth with the available rich resource reserves and an established manufacturing base which, only be possible by the regional economic integration agenda of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The main function of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is to realize the region’s end goal of economic integration. ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) visualize ASEAN as a single market and production base, a highly competitive region, with economic development, and integrated into the global economy. The Asian Economic Community facilitates the implementation of trade, investment, and services which, is necessary for each ASEAN member state.  ASEAN’s economic performance is very good across the globe. The region’s investment prospects in the ASEAN member state have made consistent growth.

Intra-ASEAN trade and Extra-ASEAN trade has been boosted by the prospect of an integrated ASEAN economy in the form of a unified market and single production platform through the free flow of goods and services, capital, investments, and skilled labour. In the future, it may be possible that the ten members of the ASEAN may persuade FDI to invest in their region, and several alternatives are there to make the region in to a better competition against a global economy. It is necessary to apply liberalization of trade, integration of capital markets, and standardization of legal and regulatory frameworks in the region of these states of ASEAN which, reduces the difficulty for doing business in these states.  

ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) was established in the year 1992 at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore in response to other emerging regional groups such as NAFTA, EU, etc. The main objective of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement is to create a single market and an international production base. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) attracts FDI and expands Intra ASEAN trade and investment and it strengthens, and deepens Intra ASEAN Industrial linkages. In December 1998, at the sixth ASEAN Summit, all members of ASEAN agreed that AFTA would come into effect in the year 2002, but it went into effect in 2003 for the automotive sector. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement increased competitiveness among AFTA members countries. The most important factor of AFTA is the liberalization of trade. The main motive of AFTA is to expand the intra-regional trade so that the consumers of ASEAN are benefited from choosing plenty of products of better quality.

ASEAN is becoming important in a trade and is now the third-largest in the world after the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. After comprising ASEAN6 such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam with Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, it has a combined GDP of US$2.31 trillion (2012). ASEAN is a trade bloc of ten nations with an aggregate economic size of $2.3 trillion which, is measured by the total GDP of the member countries. The main objective of the ASEAN trade bloc is to establish a fully-fledged economic community (AEC). The trading bloc’s diversity that ranges from advanced economies such as Singapore to developing countries such as Myanmar is an interesting feature. The ASEAN bloc cancelled all import and export duty taxes on items that traded between them except Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam who always continued to impose a duty on certain items. In the year 2015, the entire region became  free of duty.

ASEAN has a free trade agreement with other Asian nations. These Asian nations are now radically altering the global sourcing and manufacturing landscape. ASEAN has a treaty with the matured market such as China that has effectively done away with reduced tariffs on nearly 8,000 product categories, or 90% percent of imported goods, to zero. These are the favourable terms that affect China and the original ASEAN members such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand positively. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam also implemented these terms in the year 2015. 

FTA stands for Free Trade Agreement which, is a pact between two or more nations for reducing barriers between imports and exports among them. With the help of the Free Trade Agreement, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with few or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange. The main function of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade across international borders. China (FTA) gives benefits to Vietnam, Indonesia, and other ASEAN countries by offering lower wages and attracting foreign investment both for the Chinese market. ASEAN has a similar FTA with India, which is in the process of reducing tariffs on 90 percent of all traded goods between ASEAN and India. India has a sizeable middle-class consumer market, but it can grow as fast as China.

The member countries make ASEAN rank high in top priority for many patent applicants, and also, they have made a considerable improvement to their IP laws and enforcement practices. The improvement of IP laws and enforcement practices connected with advancements in technology and industry has made these jurisdictions much more desirable in recent years. There are possibilities of more applicants involve these countries in filing their strategies. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are the most filed destinations. There are many similarities among the ASEAN countries, but each country has its own unique set of IP laws.

Most of the applicants consider filing in ASEAN because of market opportunities, competitors, and manufacturing locales. The other advantage of filing in ASEAN countries is that examination and filing fees are very low. Most of the countries are also contributing their resources in their patent systems and creating specialized IP courts.

Patent Process in Singapore

Patent Attorney in Asia

Technology-driven companies in Asia protect their innovations by filing patents in Singapore. Among innovative countries within Asia, South Korea, China, Singapore, and Indonesia are leading from the front. The government bodies within Asia, like Singapore’s GovTech Agency, are constantly working towards innovative products and services that are capable of obtaining patent protection. As an example, mobile app lets users pay, extend and refund parking sessions with their phones, has rapidly replaced paper parking coupons across the city-state of Singapore.

Patent attorneys assist clients in drafting of patent applications that are filed internationally via the Patent Cooperation Treaty mechanism. There are various advantages associated with PCT patent filing, wherein the patent applicants are able to postpone the major costs associated with international patent filings by almost 24 months. Additionally, the PCT patent procedure allows the applicants to develop a strong patent strategy for worldwide patent protection across various countries.

A patent gives an individual a right to stop others from making, using, or selling the patent invention. So even an individual to get a patent, he might not be able to make a product that he patented. An individual can extend his patent to the borders of the country and stop other people from bringing products they would infringe on his patent. Patents are all about innovation. A utility patent protects the way something works while a design patent protects the way something looks. Utility patents protect the functional features of an invention while the design patent protects the non-functional appearance of an invention. Plant patents are related to a kind of plant which is capable of reproduction.

A patent gives an individual a right to stop others from making, using, or selling the patent invention. So even an individual to get a patent, he might not be able to make a product that he patented. An individual can extend his patent to the borders of the country and stop other people from bringing products they would infringe on his patent. Patents are all about innovation. A utility patent protects the way something works while a design patent protects the way something looks. Utility patents protect the functional features of an invention while the design patent protects the non-functional appearance of an invention. Plant patents are related to a kind of plant which is capable of reproduction.

In the Singaporean context, a patent is a monopoly right given by the government to the owner of innovation that assists him from preventing others from using, copying, or making the invention without his consent in the country in which he has acquired patent protection. A company acquires the ownership of the invention by exchanging the full disclosure of the invention to the government. The patent is granted for 20 years and annual renewable fee payable from the end of the 4th year from the date of filing.

In the Singaporean context, a patent can be a new method of doing things, the composition of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work. A patentable invention can be a product or process that gives a new technical solution for solving a problem.

For filing a patent, the inventor should keep in mind some important criteria. The invention should not publicly be known in any way, anywhere in the world. Owners of inventions should keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised, or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be comprised. An individual should safeguard himself when he speaks to investors by requesting them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Once a Date of Filing is obtained for the patent application, the invention can claim a “Patent Pending” status, and the applicant can proceed to disclose the invention, as indicated in the patent application to interested parties. As part of the application process, the patent application publishes after 18 months if the statutory requirements are met. Once the patent application is published, details of the invention will be made available for public inspection.

The invention must be something that represents an improvement over any existing product or process already available. The improvement must not be obvious to somebody with technical skills or knowledge in the invention’s particular field. If an invention is new yet obvious to a person skilled in the art, the invention does not fulfil the inventive step requirement. The invention must be useful and should involve some form of practical application. It should be capable of being used in some form of industry.

There are two main criteria that are not a patentable invention even if they satisfy the key criteria for patents. First an invention of any method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or of diagnosis. Second, any invention that could encourage offensive, immoral, or anti-social behaviour.

Once an individual registers a patent, apart from using the patents to prevent others from exploiting his invention, he can employ it to raise funds for his business, license it to third parties for commercial returns.

An individual is eligible to register the patent if he is the inventor, employer in which invention made by his employee in his normal course of duties or he is the person who has entered into an agreement with the inventor before making the invention, such that he is entitled to the invention. An individual should file an application for patent protection that can be done through the domestic or international phase by using an international application.

Before filing a patent, an individual who is the inventor has the right to apply for a patent in his name but if the invention had been done at the time when he is employed in a reputed company then the right to apply for the patent belongs to his employer. 

It is not necessary that all ideas can be patented. Patents granted for inventions in two main categories. The first category is a product that may include a chemical compound, a safety helmet, and a vaccine, and the second category is a process that is a method of doing something and it may include a method of mobile payment processing and method of silicon water inspection. 

There should be conduction of a prior art search that assist to detect existing similar developments, and it indicates whether his invention fulfils the new requirements.   

An individual should weigh some factors before patenting an application in Singapore. An applicant should know that patenting an application in Singapore is very expensive because total official fees for patenting application is around S$2,100.

Singapore patent applications take a long time for nearly about 2-4 years for granting a patent. Meanwhile, the applicant has no patent rights to prevent unauthorized infringement.

Before patenting an application in Singapore, an applicant should consider market size, market direction, and the threat of competition. Patents are filed only in those countries where there is a big market size and can manufacture the patented product can be manufactured to deter competition. Also, one should keep in mind that even after the inventor has developed a patentable invention, there will be a possibility that patent applications may be rejected by the Singapore patent office for lacking an inventive step.