Intellectual Property News
Reported by VJP Singapore
17 June 2021


The ‘ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation’ (ASPEC) was launched in 2009 with an objective to streamline prosecution in 9 participating ASEAN Member States (AMS): Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
From its inauguration until recently, users of ASPEC had only been able to furnish Search & Examination (S&E) reports issued by a participating AMS IP office (herein referred as “Office of Earlier Examination”) to another participating AMS IP office (herein referred as “Office of Later Examination”) as reference for S&E work by the Office of Later Examination.  While the Office of Later Examination is not obliged to adopt the findings or conclusions reached by the Office of Earlier Examination, such findings by the Office of Earlier Examination may help reduce duplication on S&E work by the Office of Later Examination.


Starting from 15 June 2021, in addition to S&E reports, Written Opinion(s) established by one or more Office(s) of Earlier Examination may also be furnished to an Office of Later Examination[*] as reference material.  Users of ASPEC need no longer wait until a S&E Report is established by the Office of Earlier Examination before undertaking the ASPEC route.


ASPEC can be requested at any time during prosecution before the final decision of grant or refusal by the Office of Later Examination, meaning even after a S&E request has already been filed at the Office of Later Examination.  The aforesaid Written Opinion(s) from an Office of Earlier Examination may be furnished to the Office of Later Examination[*] as soon as it becomes available.  This could, in turn, trim the time taken for the Office of Later Examination to issue its own Written Opinion to a greater extent than if users of ASPEC had remained obliged to wait until a S&E Report is established by the Office of Earlier Examination.

[*] Not applicable to the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, until further notice

Details on ASEPC can be found here

This news is circulated for your information only. It should not be taken as a statement of law and should not be used without legal advice. For further information, please contact:-


Adam Bogsch
E: abogsch@vjp.com.sg


Audrey Goh
E: agoh@vjp.com.sg

Gerald Koh
E: gk@vjp.com.sg

Angela Leong

E: aleong@vjp.com.sg