Singapore works with Cambodia to hasten the process of getting patent grants

SINGAPORE -The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) has started work with Cambodia on patent applications, a move which will allow firms from both countries to hasten the process.

Ipos said on Jan 19 that it has started to issue what is known as the "first-office-action search and examination reports" for patent applications filed in Cambodia. This could give businesses and entrepreneurs quicker access to a combined market of 20 million people.

Ipos is working with Cambodia's ministry for industry and handicraft.

Dr Bernard Ong, Ipos's director of the international engagement department, told The Straits Times: "What it means for a firm is that if they have business interests in Singapore and Cambodia, the whole process is cut short, and you save a lot of time and costs. You don't have to pay translation fees and all those things."

This could also encourage investors to invest in both countries, as patent grants can eventually lead to products being commercialised in a quicker manner, he added.

Cambodia is also on its way to be part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, so Ipos said "the steady continuity in intellectual property (IP) cooperation between both countries is testament to the progressive integration and development of IP within Asean".

Singapore and Cambodia had signed a memorandum of understanding last January to cooperate on IP protection and help develop the region's IP ecosystem.

Ipos chief executive Daren Tang said: "We will continue to share and develop business-friendly and efficient IP processes for creators and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and gain a competitive edge in Asean."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg