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Singapore Leads 42nd AWGIPC ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation Meeting

Issued: January 13 2014

Singapore chaired the 42nd ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) meeting in Langkawi, Malaysia, from November 18-22. The Malaysia host invited Hasan bin Malek, minister of domestic trade, co-operatives and consumerism to officiate the meeting as guest-of-honour.


The AWGIPC is the domain expert group to drive the development of a business-friendly IP ecosystem under the vision of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015. When established, the AEC envisions ASEAN as a vibrant trading region of 620 million people with a combined GDP of more than US$2 trillion. The AWGIPC is chaired by Tan Yih San, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, and involves all 10 heads of IP offices in ASEAN. 


Since the implementation of the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2011-2015, ASEAN member states have worked to enhance their capacity and to streamline activities within the region to raise awareness, increase protection, and utilization of IP rights. The 42nd AWGIPC meeting witnessed improved collaborations, with ASEAN member states agreeing to lend great focus to the realization of the Action Plan. Expert group meeting was also conducted with Australia, New Zealand, and the World Intellectual Property Organization to help build a stronger IP regime within ASEAN. 


The meeting also noted good progress in several initiatives. Namely, the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) programme that reduces the company wait-time for patents registration within ASEAN member states. Championed by Singapore, ASPEC serves to enhance business efficiency by reducing wait time and improving the quality of search and examination for patent applicants. The 42nd AWGIPC meeting noted the initial success of ASPEC with utilization from companies. The AWGIPC hopes that more companies could come on-board. 


While Action Plan 2015 is beginning to show results, the AWGIPC has also begun work to chart the development of the next five-year plan. The AWGIPC will step-up engagement with businesses, innovators, creators and practitioners within ASEAN so as to help spur greater innovation in the region for the future.


“This is an exciting time in the ASEAN IP ecosystem as the 10 IP offices have moved to building a better ASEAN with IP,” said Tan.


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