Patent Protection in the ASEAN Region

Managing IP magazine recently featured an article by Fabrice Mattei of Rouse, our agent in Thailand, on patent strategy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.  In the article, Mattei discusses some of the substantive areas of patent law in the various ASEAN countries that may impact pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

We haven’t discussed patent protection in the ASEAN region specifically on the blog, so I thought I’d provide a brief overview:

Although the countries that make up ASEAN rarely rank high in priority for many patent applicants, they have made considerable improvements to their IP laws and enforcement practices.  These improvements, in conjunction with advancements in technology and industry, have made these jurisdictions much more desirable in recent years and we are seeing more applicants include these countries in their filing strategies.

ASEAN consists of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  Of those 10 nations, the most popular filing destinations are Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.  Although there are similarities amongst the ASEAN countries, each country has its own unique set of IP laws.

So why file in ASEAN?

Besides the obvious factors to consider, such as market opportunities, competitors, manufacturing locales, etc., there are other reasons that make filing into the ASEAN countries attractive to many applicants.  PCT applications can be filed in English in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.  Where translations are required, translation fees usually make up the most significant portion of patent costs.  Filing and examination fees in the ASEAN countries are relatively low.  Many countries are also devoting more resources to their patent systems and creating specialized IP courts.  In Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, the patent offices have been removed from the purview of the government.  As a result, the time for patent examination and grant by these autonomous offices has been shortened. 

inovia currently offers PCT national stage filings into Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  For additional details regarding the procedure and requirements for national stage filing into these countries (and many more), you can explore our interactive PCT national stage entry guide.

If you are interested in filing your application into an ASEAN country, I encourage you to register for a free account and use our 1-click quote tool to create a custom quote for your application.


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