The ASEAN Patent System: The Adoption of Regional Patent Office in ASEAN
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With the goal of establishing itself as a single market and competitive economic region, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recognizes the patent system as a mechanism to promote a pro-business environment and to attract technological investment to the region. However, despite efforts to improve patent services, the limited institutional capacity and the flaws in patent registration system in ASEAN countries are still important obstacles for development. This study argues that ASEAN should consider adopting another regional model, namely the regional Patent Office, to remove such difficulties and promote the patent registration system in ASEAN. The core of this study, therefore, is the ASEAN regional Patent Office. The aim of this study seeks to examine the concept and potential impacts, both positive and negative, that the establishment of the regional Patent Office has on ASEAN and to determine whether the regional Patent Office can be a mechanism that helps ASEAN remove the flaws and serve ASEAN’ s interests. Based on a qualitative research, the study examines ASEAN regional framework, current situation, and constraints of patent registration system in ASEAN. It then analyzes the policy and legal framework, operation, advantages, and challenges of the regional Patent Office, through experiences of two regional Patent Offices: the European Patent Office (EPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in order to determine the applicability of regional Patent Office to ASEAN. The finding of this study suggests that the regional Patent Office would benefit ASEAN in improving its capacities in administering the patent registration and promoting the policy and goal of ASEAN to accelerate technological growth in the region. The study also pinpoints key considerations which ASEAN Member States must take into account and take actions in order to maximize the benefits and overcome the challenges that ASEAN might have in establishing the regional Patent Office. Keywords: ASEAN, patent, patent registration, patent procedure, patent prosecution, patent office, regional patent office, regional patent system, patent cooperation, intellectual property
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