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First read in Parliament on 8 November 2006, the Trade Marks (Amendment) bill 2006 proposes a number of significant additions and alterations to existing legislation.

One of the key recommendations made in the Bill was that of the insertion of a new Section 5A to the existing Trade marks Act. Giving effect to Article 7 of the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, the new Section will provide the applicant with the option to have the registration of a trade mark divided into two or more separate application if he/she so desires. Thus making room for a more efficient registration process, applications to classes where objections or opposition will not be raised can be registered first. It must be noted however that the right to divide applications does not equate to the applicant having protection for a new class, which was not included in the original application. Renewal fees still remain as being chargeable on a ‘per mark, per registration’ basis.

Amendments have also been proposed to the existing Section 17 (1) such that “[a} person may make a single application… for the registration of a series of trade marks” without the need for the marks to be falling within a single class. Thus enabling multi-class registrations, new amendments to Section 17 will make post-registration matters such as that of amendments and assignments, more manageable than before. Renewals for marks registered in multiple classes need only be done once for the renewal to be effective over all classes for which the mark is registered.

Further, a widening of Section 41 would now render as registrable, the grant of licenses on trademarks that are awaiting registration. Additional provisions pertaining to the governance of this additional recognition, such as that of the furnishing of notices for registrable transactions to the Registrar and the keeping of records of such notices by the Registrar, were also made subsequent to these recommended changes.

With the revisions done to Section 108 of the Act, greater flexibility would be accorded to the Minister will no longer have to consult the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore before making rules. The Minister will also be empowered with the ability to make new rules for the extension of time limits which have yet to expire, and to also reinstate matters which have gone past due dates thus giving applicants, who have missed deadlines, a second lifeline to sustaining their applications.

The Bill, which has since received Presidential assent on 1 February 2007, is expected to come into force in the form of the ‘Trade Marks (Amendment) Act 2007’ very soon.