On the morning of 29 May 2018, the Intellectual Property offices of Vietnam (the NOIP) and Korea (the KIPO) have entered a Cooperation Memorandum covering many points of extensive cooperation in Intellectual Property, among which is a pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme. Previously, Vietnam launched a similar PPH programme in cooperation with the Japan JPO and joined the ASEAN patent examination cooperation (ASPEC).
During the pilot period of two years, any Vietnamese applications filed with KIPO and Korean applications filed with NOIP, if they meet the prescribed requirements, will be expedited in examination and the granting of protection. The pilot PPH will be relevant for applications filed on and after 1 June 2019. Detailed requirements for enjoying this PPH and the specific timeframe for expedited examination of patent applications under the programme are still to be discussed.
While the PPH with the Japan JPO will end on 31 March 2019 and accepts a limited amount of 100 requests per year at the maximum, there is still no hint if the NOIP will provide more favourable commitments to the PPH with Korea. Earlier this month, the Director of Vietnam’s NOIP had asked Japan for further support in development of Intellectual Property in Vietnam, particularly improving the processing and examination of applications and requested filed to the NOIP and building some parts of work in relation to standardization of NOIP’s database under International standards.
This is a good move as the NOIP has sought to deal with its heavy backlog and meet the high demand of applicants. In 2017, the NOIP received 102,330 applications/requests but processed only 80,590 of them (a 1% increase in comparison to 2016).