Singapore is predominately one of the fastest developing economies in the world. Apart from this, it is considered as one of the largest financial centres in the world. Owing to this, many companies would want to set up their business centres in Singapore. As per data, Singapore is classified as one of the topmost countries for ease of doing business. Foreign Companies want to establish technology centres in Singapore. With the increase of technology and inventions, an individual or company would want to protect their invention.
Such intellectual property rights whereby an individual or entity would want to protect their respective invention is known as a patent. This is an intangible right which gives the owner of the patent an exclusive right to use the patent for a particular period. Companies and individuals that create an invention would consider the process of patent registration of Singapore.
What is a Patent?
There are different meanings for the term patent. Various institutions have come out with different definitions for a patent.
The following definitions can be considered for the term patent:
- As per the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a patent is considered or defined as an exclusive right granted for a particular invention. This invention would involve some form of product or process of carrying out a particular procedure or finding some form of the technical solution to a problem. To secure the patent, such information regarding the invention must be disclosed in public.
- As per the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, a patent can be understood as an exclusive right which is granted for a particular invention. This exclusive right only allows the person or corporation, to use the patent. Such an invention can be a new product or process or be some form of modifications to an existing invention.
Hence having a plain look at the above definitions, it is clear that the meaning of patent is similar. There is an independent institution dealing with Patent Registration in Singapore. An applicant must comply with the requirement of securing a patent for the respective invention.
What are the Benefits of Patent Registration in Singapore?
An applicant or inventor would enjoy a wide range of benefits; it opts for the process of patent registration in Singapore.
The following benefits are derived from patent registration in Singapore:
- The applicant or inventor would have the exclusive right to deal with the invention or patent for a specific period.
- No other individual or company would have the right to the patent. However, if prior permission or consent is sought from the inventor, then the application or invention can be utilised.
- The applicant would have the exclusive right to use the patent. Apart from this, patents can be assigned or licensed to another individual or company for a particular period. Royalty or Commission can be earned by the inventor or applicant using such process.
- The inventor can get an opportunity to expand his portfolio related to a patent. The applicant can enjoy economic and commercial opportunities
Checklist for Patent Registration in Singapore
- First to file system- Like all common law countries in the world, Singapore enjoys the first to file system for patent registration in Singapore. In this system, the inventor or the applicant will have some form of priority over the patent application or the invention. In Singapore, priority claims can be made over respective patent applications.
Priority is a system where an applicant or the inventor would enjoy some form of priority over the other application. Therefore for example, if the applicant has made an application for a patent in a member country that is belonging to the Paris Convention or a member country of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and has to make an application in the Singapore Patent Office, then the applicant will have to claim priority over the patent application using the foreign application.
The system of priority can be used and claimed by the applicant within 12 months of the application.
- Deciding the Jurisdiction to File Patent- The applicant or the inventor would have to decide which country to make a patent application. If the invention falls under the criteria for patent registration in Singapore, then the applicant can make a domestic application. If the applicant is a foreign company or any individual outside Singapore, then an international application can be made with the respective country.
- Description of the Invention- This is one of the most crucial steps in making a patent registration in Singapore. The description of the invention must be accurate as per the requirements of the inventor. The more precise the information is on the patent plan; the easier it is to receive a patent for the invention. Hence, it is important to have an elaborate plan for the invention or the process. With the above information, it is important to provide drawings of the patent and other necessary documents. An applicant or organisation can utilise a patent agent for the patent registration in Singapore.
- Claims for the Invention- For any patent registration in Singapore, it is crucial to have your claims for your invention ready to be submitted to the respective authority. Claims are nothing but the main objective of your invention. These claims must state “why is it necessary for the applicant to secure a patent for the invention”? Such claims would have to state the main aim of securing the patent for a particular process of the invention. Apart from this, the main thing for patent protection is the scope of why the patent is sought after. These claims can be made within 12 months of the patent application. However, to ensure that the patent application is made, the claims must be submitted within 12 months of the patent application. If the applicant does not carry this out, then the application would be deemed to be rejected.
Who is the Regulatory Authority for Patent Registration in Singapore?
The primary regulatory authority for patent registration in Singapore is the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The IPOS handles all matters pertaining to intellectual property within Singapore. Apart from patents, the IPOS handles cases and matters related to other form of intellectual property rights which include trademarks, copyrights, designs and other form of protections which afford some form of intangible protection for the respective rights of owners.
The IPOS brings out various laws related to protection of intellectual property rights within Singapore. An applicant going for patent registration in Singapore would have to comply with the relevant laws related to the IPOS.
Procedure for Applying for a Patent in Singapore
In order to apply for patent registration in Singapore, the applicant would have to utilize the below procedure:
In Singapore, if an applicant wants to apply for a patent, then there are two routes for the process:
- Domestic Route
- The PCT Route (National Phase Route)
- Domestic Route- Usually a patent application would take about 3 to 4 years to be granted. This would totally depend on the application. If there are no forms of objections against the patent, then the same can be granted within 12 months.
- Filling the application- Under the domestic route, the applicant has to make an application regarding the patent. Along with the patent, respective documents related to the patent have to be attached.
- Description- Description of the application would involve the following:
- Novelty- An application which has to receive a patent in Singapore must be novel. Something which is novel means not introduced in the world. It has to be new in the eyes of consumers. Such invention or process must be novel in Singapore and when displayed in the international market.
- Inventive Step- In case the application is novel, then the applicant must prove that some form of step is taken to create the invention. Through this process, the office will understand if there is some form of inventive step taken in creating the invention. If this is some form of process, then the applicant must ensure that some form of modification is carried out to change the process. For example: Reverse Engineering methods may be considered novel based on the circumstances of the application.
- Capable to being commercially Used- The invention or process must not be in the market and it should be capable of being commercially used. Commercial purposes can be for the means of the particular industry. If some form of invention is already present then it would not be eligible to claim a patent.
- Drawings- If required, the drawings of the invention have to be produced before the office of patent application. The drawings of the patent application have to be in black and white. Along with the drawings, respective description must be provided with the patent application.
- Claims- As mentioned earlier claims are one of the most crucial aspects for seeking a patent. For patent registration in Singapore, claims are essential. The more detailed the claim is the easier is the process of patent registration in Singapore. Hence, the applicant must ensure that the claims are full proof and detailed according to the specifications.
- Any form of Abstracts- The applicant must also include any abstracts along with the patent application.
- Application Fee- The applicant must pay the application fee of SGD 160. This fee can be paid online. If the claims are not ready related to the application, then it is suitable to go for the provisional application. However, in the provisional application the claim of priority would be weak when compared to the full application.
Examination of the Patent
- Preliminary Examination- The preliminary examination is carried out regarding the patent. This is carried out for Patent Registration in Singapore. During this preliminary examination, the applicant would be intimated regarding any pending documents related to the application. You must ensure to submit the documents or any other information as asked by the Patent examiner.
- Filing of Documents- During the examination, it is crucial to submit all information requested by the office. For example, you must ensure to pay the fees within one month of filing the application. Apart from this, you must also ensure to file the claims within 12 months of the application.
Publication of the Patent
The Patent will be published in the Patent Journal, this will happen after 18 months of applying for the patent registration in Singapore.
If the patent has to be published before 18 months, then you can request the patent office to consider this on a case to case basis.
After the patent is published, the applicant can take action against any form of third party infringement.
During this process of examination, the office will search for any other invention or similar invention which has been already made. Such inventions are considered as prior art.
If there is some form of prior art, then a comparison would be made with your application and the prior art. The main aim for this is to identify if there is any form of similarities which destroys the application from being novel or new.
Grant of Certificate of Patent
Once this is carried out and if everything is successful, the office will grant the certificate for patent registration in Singapore. This is usually granted after 2 months of the Notice of the Eligibility. Once the patent is granted, it would be eligible for twenty years. After this process, the patent would be maintained yearly.
- The PCT Route- The PCT route is also known as the Patent Co-operation Treaty Route. Through this route, the applicant will not only seek Patent Registration in Singapore, but international protection can also be afforded. Under this, the applicant can file an application electronically through the portal.
Under this process, the applicant can directly apply for the international process through the Intellectual Property Office in Singapore. When an application is filed internationally, then international searches and priority periods are calculated as per the requirements of international standards.
Publication after International Phase
After 18 months, the application would be published internationally.
When 30 months are complete, the applicant has to go for the national phase of patent registration in Singapore.
National Phase Application
In the National Phase Application, Singapore must be considered as the designated country for patent registration process.
Along with the application form the prescribed fees of SGD 200 dollars have to be paid to the authority.
The authority will ensure that the application confirms with the standards which is required.
After this step, the authority will make a preliminary analysis and search the applications around the world if there is a similar or existing patent. If there are no form of existing patents, then the patent application will be granted.
So to conclude, an individual or company would have to apply for patent registration in Singapore to protect the respective process or invention. There are two methods for patent registration in Singapore. The domestic route would be considered if the applicant is predominately present in Singapore. However, the PCT route would be applicable if the applicant wants some form of international protection in PCT member states. Foreign firms and companies that want international protection can go for the PCT route. Hence an applicant can use either method for patent registration in Singapore.
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