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Singapore: Revision in IP practice and official fees from April 29, 2022

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced certain changes to IP practices, as well as a general increase in official fees. The pertinent changes, which will take effect from April 29, 2022, are highlighted below:

Official fees

Trademark application fees will be increased from the current S$341 to S$380, while renewal fees have generally increased by about 15 percent, from S$380 to S$440, on a per mark, per class basis. Official fees for contentious matters have also increased, from S$374 and S$357 per class for oppositions and revocations, respectively, to S$420 per class for both types of actions.

As regards patents and registered designs, with the exception of design applications, which sees a reduction in fees from S$250 to S$200 per application, a general increase in official fees of between 10 percent to 15 percent will be applied across the various stages of patent application, including filing and annuities.

Trademark practice

Several changes will also be implemented on trademark processes, such as:

a) Acceptance of partial specifications not objected to during examination will be allowed;

b) The time period to request for reinstatement of an application is reduced from six months to two months;

c) Applications with status “Treated as Withdrawn” will continue to be cited by the Registrar against identical or similar marks with later filing dates or priority dates (in contrast to the existing practice);

d) Corrections to an application may be advertised and any person can file a notice of opposition against the proposed correction within two months.

Patent practice

Removal of request for publication and accompanying fees. Even if the internationalapplication was filed and published in a non-English language, applicants need not file a separate form to request for publication of English translation when entering the application into Singapore national phase. IPOS will publish the English translation filed with the national phase application within the prescribed period

Limitation of the number of figures accompanying abstract to up to two. If the application contains more than two drawings, applicants can only choose up to two drawings to accompany the abstract.

Removal of the obligation to furnish prescribed documents in prescribed circumstances during the patent prosecution process. When making a request for incorporating the description by reference, filing missing parts or support for the declaration of a priority claim, applicants are no longer required to provide a copy of the earlier relevant application filed with IPOS. When requesting examination based on IPOS’ search report, applicants no longer have to provide a copy of the report.

Submission of sequence listing. If the patent application discloses a sequence, a sequence listing has to submitted at the time of filing to form part of the description of the application.

Minor amendments during substantive examination. At the examination stage, if the examiner is of the view that minor amendments to the specification will make the application eligible for grant, e.g. wrong claim dependencies, the examiner may issue an “invitation to amend”. The applicant will then have two months to make those amendments. If the amendments do not overcome the problems identified, the examiner will issue a Written Opinion according to the existing practice.

Streamlining of the examination review process. If a request for an examination review accompanies amendments to address all outstanding objections, the examiner would only assess the amended application.

Restricting examination to the first invention. If an application contains two or more inventions, the examiner will only examine the first invention. File inspection available only via electronic system. Requests for file inspection may only be made by registered users of IPOS’ online platform.

Removal of the requirement for Singapore address for service to seek Section 34 Security Clearance. A request for security clearance can now be requested without theneed for a Singapore  address for service.

Designs practice

Clarification of processes as regards sets of articles and nonphysical products. Design applications in respect of sets of articles and non-physical products may be registered.

Filing of disclaimers. IPOS will allow a visual and/or text disclaimer as long as it is clearly and consistently represented and/ or described.

Reduction of period for reinstatement. A request for reinstatement of an application or right must be filed within two months (previously six months) from the time it was deemed abandoned/withdrawn or ceased to have effect.

Cross-IP that apply to patents Other changes in process, which apply to the patent practice, include the following:

• Proposed corrections relating to the name or other particulars of the applicant/ owner and priority details may be published for opposition purposes.

• Correction of a person’s name or other particulars should be requested via a requisite form only.

• If an agent intends to cease to act on a party’s behalf, the agent should provide the party’s latest address and a statement that reasonable notice has been given to the party and that consequences have been explained to the party.

• A copy of documents can now be served on the counterparty via IPOS’ online platform.

• An assent or an order of the court may be notified to IPOS via a written request. No form and fee will be required. For recordal of an order of court, a copy of the order should be submitted. For recordal of an assent, the request is to be authorised by each personal representative of the deceased.

• Patents and designs journals will be published on a weekly basis (from a monthly basis).

Launch of IPOS Digital Hub. IPOS will also be launching a new IP filing system, which will replace its existing e-services platform on May 4, 2022. Consequently, IPOS has declared April 29, 2022, and May 4-6 2022, as excluded days so that all deadlines falling due on these dates will be automatically extended to the next working day of May 9, 2022, including the weekend in between. These changes are intended to enhance operational efficiency and business-friendliness as innovators and businesses use IP to grow locally and globally.

This article was first published in the IP Analysts column of Asia IP.