By Adrian Ee & Joanne Chew
Singapore’s patent system was a self-assessment one. To strengthen the patent regime, the Patents Act has been amended to a positive grant system. With the positive grant system, Singapore’s patent regime would be on par with the other established patent offices such as that of the UK, US, Japan and the European Patent Office. The amended Patents Act came into force on 14 February 2014.
Positive Grant System
- Under the positive grant system, only patent applications with fully positive examination reports that meet all the requirements of patentability as set out in Section 13 of the Patents Act (Chapter 221) can be granted a patent. This will raise the overall quality of the patents granted in Singapore.
- IP2SG, an integrated electronic-filing portal aimed at simplifying the process of e-filing and access to IP information will be launched in phases commencing with patent-related functions.
- In certain cases, innovators can expect to receive a patent grant within 12 months, provided the application conforms with all the requirements. Industries with fast moving technology will stand to benefit from the speedy grant.
- For greater assurance of quality, a patent search and examination unit has been set up and it has begun examination of applications since May 2013.
- A Singapore patent may be granted on the basis of a search and examination at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore or rely on a corresponding application in lieu of filing the request for search and examination at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. Where a corresponding application is relied on, the applicant will have to request for a supplementary examination. The examiner will determine whether the application conforms with Singapore’s patent practice. Refer to the flowchart for the search and examination procedure.
- To meet the changes, a new team of in-house patent examiners has been formed. Foreign qualified patent agents may be registered at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore on the basis of their foreign qualifications to add to the pool of patent service providers.
With the new regime to strengthen Singapore granted patents, this will place the country in good stead to become an IP hub.