Singapore


Patents

International Agreements Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (from 23 February 1995).
Paris Convention (from 23 February 1995).
Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (from 1 January 1995).
Budapest Treaty (from 23 February 1995).
Patent Authority Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
Types of Patents/Applications Available

  • Standard Patent.
      • Convention.
      • Non-Convention.
      • National Phase PCT Application.
      • Divisional Patent.
PCT National Phase Entry Deadline: Thirty (30) months from the earliest claimed priority date.
Patentability Requirements

  • Absolute novelty: the invention has not been publicly disclosed in any form, anywhere in the world.
  • Involves an inventive step, i.e. the invention must be something that represents an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available, that is not obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the particular field of the invention.
  • Industrial application: i.e. the invention must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.
Non-Patentable Subject Matter

  • An invention of a method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or of a diagnosis practised on the human or animal body.
  • An invention that could encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour, even if it satisfies the key criteria for Patents.
Filing Requirements

  • Applicant’s Name and Address, State and Country of Incorporation (if applicable);
  • Inventor’s Name, Address and Nationality;
  • Patents Form 1;
  • Specification in English or a verified translation of the PCT publication if not in English;
  • Convention Priority details (if relevant); and
  • Government filing fee.
Grace Period for Disclosure Twelve (12) months if the disclosure was made as a result of a breach of confidence or where the inventor revealed the invention at an International Exhibition or before a learned society. If an Applicant wishes to invoke these provisions, the onus is on them to make out a sufficient prima facie case (on the basis of an affidavit or other evidence if necessary) that one of the conditions specified is satisfied.
Importantly, the provisions only apply to disclosures within twelve (12) months of the filing date of the application in Singapore and not the filing date of the priority document (for example the basic document in a foreign country).
Patent Term A Standard Patent is protected for twenty (20) years from the date of filing.
Search and Examination Examination of a Standard Patent is compulsory.

Three (3) options are available to Applicants:

  • Option A (36 months): Requesting Examination based on the International Search Report (ISR) and providing cited documents;
  • Option B (36 months): Requesting combined Search and Examination by IPOS; and
  • Option C (54 months): Requesting Supplementary Examination based on (1) a clear International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP); or (2) the search and examination results of a corresponding Application, or (3) a corresponding granted Patent in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, UK, US and the EPO.
Third Party Observations and Oppositions Not available.
Patent Term Extension Provisions Available.
Restoration Provisions Available provided the request for restoration is filed within thirty (30) months of the date of lapsing.
Work Sharing Programs Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH)

  • Available with the:
    • State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China.
    • Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) of the United Mexican States.
    • German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).
    • European Patent Office (EPO).

ASEAN program:

  • Search and examination results are shared between the participating Offices to allow Applicants in participating countries to obtain corresponding Patents faster and more efficiently.
Renewals

  • Renewal fees fall due at grant and accumulated annuities from four (4) years from the filing date (annually thereafter on the anniversary of the filing date).
  • There is a six (6) month grace period to pay any outstanding renewal fees, which incurs a fine that increases on a monthly basis.

Trade Marks

International Agreements Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (as amended on 28 September 1979).
Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (as amended on 28 September 1979).
Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (from 1 January 1995).
Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (2006).
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (as amended on November 12, 2007).
Trade Mark Authority Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
Types of Trade Marks Available

  • Standard.
  • Certification.
  • Collective.
  • Government Agency Marks.
  • Madrid Designation.
Non-Traditional Trade Marks Available

  • Shape.
  • Sound.
  • Aspect of packaging.
  • Colour.
  • Scent.
  • Moving Marks.
  • Holograms.
Paris Convention Deadline: Six (6) months from the earliest claimed priority date.
Provisions for Filing of Multi-Class Applications Yes.
Excess Goods/Services Fee A supplementary fee is payable for each class of goods and services in excess of three (3).
Provisions for Filing of Multi-Class Applications Yes.
Registrable Trade Marks

  • Must be capable of being represented graphically; and
  • Must be distinctive.
Non-Registrable Trade Marks

  • Marks that are descriptive or laudatory (e.g. super, best, cheap, one dozen);
  • Marks that are common to the trade (Marks that have become well accepted in relation to your trade and do not distinguish the goods or service offered);
  • Marks that could offend or promote immoral behaviour;
  • Deceptive Marks (Marks that could misrepresent the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services);
  • Marks that are identical to earlier Marks;
  • Marks that could cause confusion (similar or identical to an earlier Mark and in relation to similar or identical goods or services provided by the owners of the earlier Mark); and
  • Marks that are identical or similar to well known Marks.
Filing Requirements

  • Applicant’s Name and Address, State and Country of Incorporation (if applicable);
  • Specification of the goods and/or services in relevant Nice classes;
  • A clear representation of the Trade Mark;
  • If Convention Priority is claimed, the Number, Date, Country and details of the Basic Application;
  • A statement that the Trade Mark is being used in the course of trade, by the Applicant or with his consent, in relation to those goods and/or services; or that the Applicant has a bona fide intention that the Trade Mark should be so used; and
  • Government filing fee.
Initial Trade Mark Term A Trade Mark is protected for ten (10) years from the date of filing, and is renewable every ten (10) years thereafter.
Search and Examination

  • Examination of a Trade Mark Application is automatic.
  • Formal Examination is carried out within one (1) month of the filing date of the Application, with the issuance of an Acknowledgement Letter or a Deficiency Letter. If a Deficiency Letter issues, any deficiencies must be remedied within the non-extendible deadline of two (2) months or the Application will be deemed as not filed.
  • Substantive Examination is typically carried out between one (1) and six (6) months from the filing date of the Application. If no objections are raised, a Letter of Acceptance issues and the Application is advertised for two (2) months for opposition purposes. If no Opposition is filed, the Application proceeds to Registration within one (1) month of the end of the Opposition period.
  • If objections are raised, an Examination Report will issue, to which the Applicant has four (4) months to respond or the Application will be deemed withdrawn. Extensions of time are available, provided the request is filed before the expiry of the time period stated in the Report.
  • If a Notice issues, advising that the Application is deemed to be withdrawn, an Applicant may file a request to restore the Application, upon payment of fees, within six (6) months of the date of the Notice. A response to any outstanding objections must be filed at the same time.
Amendment of Goods and Services An Application may be amended, at the request of the Applicant and upon payment of Government fees, only by correcting the Name or Address of the Applicant; errors of wording or of copying; or obvious mistakes, and then only where the correction does not substantially affect the identity of the Trade Mark or extend the goods or services covered by the Application.
Third Party Oppositions and Applications

  • Trade Mark Opposition Proceedings.
  • Trade Mark Invalidation or Revocation Proceedings (for non-use, or the manner of use misleads the public).
Restoration Provisions

  • The owner of the Trade Mark may apply to restore the Trade Mark Registration within twelve (12) months of the expiry of the Registration.
  • An Application that is deemed to be withdrawn may be restored on request and upon the payment of Government fees within six (6) months from the date of the Notice advising that the Application was deemed withdrawn. A response to any outstanding objections must be filed at the same time.
Renewals

  • Renewal fees fall due from the tenth (10th) anniversary of the filing date.
  • Renewal fees are then due each tenth (10th) anniversary after that.
  • There is a six (6) month grace period to pay any outstanding renewal fees which incurs late fees.
General

  • There is no need for a Power of Attorney to support the filing of an Application.

Designs

International Agreements Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (as amended on 28 September 1979).
Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (from 1 January 1995).
Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs (as amended on 28 September 1979).
The 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.
Design Authority Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
Types of Designs Available

  • Single Designs.
  • Plural Designs (two or more Designs may be the subject of the same Application for Registration if the Designs relate to the same Class and sub-Class of articles, or the same set of articles).
Paris Convention Deadline: Six (6) months from the earliest claimed priority date.
Registrability Requirements

  • The Design must be new and applied to an article by an industrial process. This means that more than fifty (50) copies of the article must have been or are intended to be produced for sale or hire.
  • Generally, a Design is not new if it:
    • has been registered;
    • has been published anywhere in the world, in respect of the same or any other article; or
    • Differs only in immaterial details, or features, from other Designs that are commonly found in trade.

Non-Registrable Designs

  • Designs that are contrary to public order or morality;
  • Computer programmes or layout Designs of integrated circuits;
  • Designs applied to certain articles, such as wall plaques, medals and medallions, and printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character (e.g. calendars, certificates, coupons, greeting cards, leaflets, maps, playing cards, postcards, stamps, and similar articles);
  • Methods or principles of construction;
  • Designs that are solely functional;
  • Designs that are dependent upon the appearance of another article, and which are intended to form an integral part of another article, so that either article may perform its function (“must-match Designs”); and
  • Designs that enable the article to be connected to, placed in, around or against, another article so that either article may perform its function (“must-fit Designs”).
Filing Requirements

  • Class(es) according to the Locarno Classification System;
  • Applicant’s Name and Address, State and Country of Incorporation (if applicable);
  • Designer’s Name, Address and Nationality;
  • Entitlement of the Applicant: i.e. how the Applicant has derived the right to the Design from the Designer (Assignment, Employment or other Agreement);
  • A Statement of Novelty describing the features of the Design which the Applicant considers to be new;
  • Name of article(s) in relation to which the Design is sought to be registered;
  • Representation(s) of the Design in the form of drawings or black and white photographs showing various views of the Design;
  • Optionally: Any Convention Claim and the details (Date, Number and Country) of the Basic Application from which Convention Priority is claimed;
  • A Request for the Registration of a Design; and
  • Government filing fee.
Initial Design Term Five (5) years.
Full Term (if all renewals are paid timeously) Fifteen (15) years.
Search and Examination

  • After filing, IPOS will check that the minimum filing requirements are met and if so, will issue an Acknowledgement Letter within fifteen (15) days from the filing date. If the minimum filing requirements are not met, the Applicant will be notified accordingly.
  • The Design automatically undergoes Formal Examination.
  • No Substantive Examination is carried out. However, the Registrar may refuse an Application for Registration of a Design if, on the face of the Application, the Design is not new or is not registrable for any other reason, and will give notice thereof to the Applicant.
  • If the Application fails to comply with the formal requirements, an Office Action is issued. The Applicant has three (3) months to correct any non-compliance identified in the Office Action or the Application will be withdrawn.
  • If the Application complies with the formal requirements, the Design proceeds to Registration within two (2) months of the date of the Acknowledgement Letter and a Registration Certificate will issue. The Design will be published in the IPOS e‑Journal shortly thereafter.
Amendment Amendments are permitted on request and payment of Government fees, provided that the amendment does not increase the scope of the Application by the inclusion of matter that was not in substance disclosed in the Application as filed.
Third Party Oppositions and Applications

  • Entitlement Proceedings: Any person having or claiming an interest in the Design may apply to the Court to determine the true Owner of the Design; whether the Design should have been registered in the name of the person in whose name it was registered; or whether any right in the Design should be transferred or granted to any other person, and the Court will determine the question and may make such order as it considers appropriate to give effect to the determination. This can include an order that the name of the Applicant be entered in the Register as the Owner or one of the Owners of the Design (whether or not to the exclusion of any other person); that the transaction by virtue of which that person has acquired any right in the Design be registered; that a licence for the use of the Design be granted; and/or that the Registered Owner of the Design or any person having any right in the Design carry out such act as the Court considers appropriate to give effect to any directions in the order. If an application to determine the true Owner of the Design is made after the end of the period of two (2) years from the date of issue of the Certificate of Registration, no order will be made transferring any right in the Design from the Registered Owner to any other person on the ground that the Registered Owner was not entitled to be registered as the Owner, unless it is shown that the Registered Owner knew at the time of the Registration of the Design that he/she was not entitled to be registered as the Owner.
  • Revocation proceedings: Any interested person may apply to the Registrar or the Court for the Revocation of the Registration of the Design on the ground that the Design was not, at the date of its Registration, new, or on any other ground on which the Registrar could have refused to register the Design.
  • Groundless threats: If the Owner of a Registered Design threatens another person with infringement proceedings, an aggrieved person may bring proceedings against the person making the threats for a declaration that the threats are unjustifiable; an injunction against the continuance of the threats; and damages in respect of any loss sustained by the threats. The plaintiff is entitled to such relief unless the defendant proves that the acts in respect of which the proceedings were threatened constitute, or if done would constitute, an infringement of the Design; and the plaintiff fails to show that the Registration of the Design concerned is invalid. However, proceedings may not be brought in relation to a threat to bring proceedings for an infringement alleged to consist of the making or importing of anything.
Restoration Provisions If the Application is deemed to be withdrawn due to failure to respond to the Formal Examination Office Action within the stipulated three (3) months, an Applicant may request reinstatement of the Application, upon payment of the required Government fee. The Applicant must then comply with the conditions imposed by the Registrar in the Office Action before the Application will be reinstated.
Renewals

  • A Design Application may be renewed twice, once on the fifth (5th) anniversary of the filing date of the Application and once on the tenth (10th) anniversary.
  • Renewal fees must be paid within six (6) months of the renewal date, or the Registration will lapse.
General

  • It is possible to register Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) as Designs. In order to be registered, GUIs must still conform to the requirements of novelty and industrial applicability (e.g. an electronic device’s display.) GUIs may either be static (non-animated) or dynamic (animated). For animated GUIs, an Applicant must provide a series of static representations (minimum two (2), maximum forty (40)) in consecutive order showing the GUI in action.
  • Where a registered Design was, at the time it was registered, a corresponding Design in relation to an artistic work in which Copyright subsists under Singaporean Copyright Law, then the period of Registration of the Design expires when the Copyright in that work expires (if that is earlier than the time at which it would otherwise expire) and it may not thereafter be extended.
  • A Basic Application that is not in English must be accompanied by a verified translation into English.