May 12, 2020

Recent developments in the world of IP

The global world of intellectual property has seen several advances in recent months, ever working toward a more cohesive and modern industry. International treaties and agreements facilitate the collaboration of IP offices across the world, allowing the protection of rights to be more efficient and effective. Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between IP offices, for example, maintain a solid basis of cooperation to build upon, allowing for the exchange of data and the facilitation of patent prosecution highways.

Keen to utilize the global scope for cooperation, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) signed a data exchange program with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) at a virtually held bilateral meeting on April 22, 2020. The new program was created in accordance with the framework contained in the 2018 MoU agreed upon between the two offices. It is hoped to assist with the exchange of data on published applications and registered trademarks and designs, as well as granted patents in both South Korea and Saudi Arabia, allowing public access to the same.

An MoU was also signed between the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) and the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH), on April 24, 2020. The MoU will facilitate the enactment of a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) that is likely to be implemented in the second half of 2020, and is due to continue for at least three years thereafter with a possibility of extension.

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) also signed a cooperation agreement toward the end of 2019 which will act as a pilot PPH program. The agreement entered into force on April 1, 2020, and will ensue for a period of three years.

On May 4, 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) enacted a pilot program named "SG Patent Fast Track", which allows for the grant of a patent within just six months. The pilot is set to continue until April 29, 2022, and aims to expedite the prosecution of patent applications for all technological fields, taking into consideration this year’s World IP Day topic - innovation for a green future. The pilot will benefit applicants wishing to protect innovations which may make a positive impact on the environment, for example, those facilitating sustainable food production or mitigating climate change. This will also extend to inventions which intend to make a positive impact on healthcare.

Also aiming to expedite the IP protection process, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) enacted a fast-track examination for qualifying trademark applications as of May 1, 2020. The mechanism is set to speed up examination for applicants who have filed for the protection of traditional trademark types, met the requirements of duly paid fees and designated goods or services in compliance with the TIPO’s e-filing system. Applicants who have instructed an agent to act on their behalf must also file a power of attorney. The fast track option is automatically applied for qualifying applications and is hoped to provide applicants with a decision on registrability up to two months earlier than the current average for the first office action.

It is clear that international cooperations and agreements are vital to the modernisation of the intellectual property field, thus encouraging innovation across the world. From expedited examination to data exchange, IP offices across the world are working cohesively to provide for more efficient conditions for applicants, inventors and those hoping to change the world through innovation and brand protection.

Author: Danielle Carvey