The ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) is the first regional patent work-sharing program among ASEAN IP Offices, with objective of reducing duplication of the patent search and examination (S&E) work, thereby saving time and improving the quality of S&E results.
Currently, almost all the ASEAN member states (AMS) are part of this program includes: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
With ASPEC, one application claims priority from another or both applications claim priority to the same basis application. Although the S&E results carried out by one Office is not binding on other Offices, it is of persuasive value. In other words, the S&E results of another AMS IP Office serves as a useful reference in producing quality reports.
In addition, ASPEC operates in the English language on all participating AMS IP Offices, so it is time-saving and resources. Besides, there is free-of-charge to the applicant at any participating AMS IP Offices. However, local search and examination fees at AMS IP Offices will still apply.
Some of AMS IP Offices allow the ASPEC request be filed when responding to an adverse report and, in accordance with the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP), even any time before a final determination of grant or refusal in Vietnam.
All patent applicants are allowed to participate in the ASPEC program, if they satisfy any one of the requirements under the ASPEC system works. For the purposes of illustration, below is a graphical representation of ASPECs scenarios. And it represents a Corresponding Application with respect to a Vietnam Application, if the ASPEC Request Form is filed with the NOIP.
Patent Applicants shall be met just one common form – the ASPEC Request Form, without the need to pay any fee. The following English documents may be requested and furnished together with the said form:
- A copy of the search report (if required);
- A copy of the examination report;
- A copy of claims referred to in the examination report; and
- A claim correspondence table (optional).
Where the above-listed documents are not filed in English language, patent applicant may file a verified or, where required, a certified English translation of the documents with the relevant patent office.
In Vietnam, the NOIP requires patent applicants to file a verified English translation only in cases “when there are contradiction(s) or doubts or the likes in the content of the ASPEC documents”.