28th February 2014
Europe and Asia have taken a step closer to cooperation on intellectual property law and patents following a meeting between leaders in Cambodia. The deal between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would support innovation and the knowledge-based society in those countries.
The nine heads of ASEAN member states intellectual property offices and Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office (EPO), reached the agreement in Siem Reap this week.
Parties have signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing an institutional framework for working more closely together patents.
Tan Yih San, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, says businesses will benefit from the deal, which will mean greater market access in South East Asia and Europe as patent offices in both regions are able to work more closely together.
In a statement, ASEAN said: “In this perspective, the EPO-ASEAN cooperation will include: training of patent examiners; data exchange; patent classification; machine translation; search tools; and exchange of best practices and technical/policy solutions.”
Mr Battistelli noted the growing economic significance of the bloc as being a crucial factor. ASEAN consists of a number of regional powerhouses and emerging nations, including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and the Philippines.
It comes shortly after the EPO reached a deal with Mexico on patent cooperation, further strengthening business links between the EU and the Latin American nation.
Mr Battistelli said fostering the protection of intellectual property in the two regions was vital for businesses on both sides. "European companies are among the most active users of the patent system in Mexico, filing a substantial share of all patent applications there,” he explained earlier this month following the deal.
He went on to say that the EPO will support the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) in efforts to “enhance its services to inventors and innovative businesses in Mexico”.
Director general of IMPI, Miguel Ángel Margáin, said the deal would help increase the number of patents filed by Mexican companies.