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mirandah asia’s operational nexus is based in Singapore. It is our largest office, and it coordinates the activities of all the others. Founder and director Gladys has a 40-year strong reputation as one of the country’s long-standing IP pioneers: with her at the helm, clients can look to mirandah asia Singapore as their IP hub in Asia.

Overview

Singapore boasts of a strong and enforceable intellectual property (IP) framework. In fact, its IP regime is consistently recognized as one of the best in the world: Singapore was ranked fourth in the world and top in Asia for having the best IP protection in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015/2016. Similarly, it was ranked top in Asia for its IP environment in the U.S. Global Intellectual Property Center’s International IP Index 2016. It was also ranked as the most innovative nation in the world on the Innovation Input Sub-Index of the Global Innovation Index 2016.

In 2015, Singapore commenced operation as ASEAN’s first International Patent Search and Examination Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Singapore is the fifth of such in Asia (after China, India, Japan and Korea) and joins a select group of 19 IP offices worldwide that have been appointed as International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for the PCT.

Given the various local and international cooperative efforts to maximize the country’s IP capabilities, Singapore stands to be an excellent IP application destination for business owners and innovators wishing to register their IP rights.

Singapore’s famously efficient bureaucracy makes for some of the swiftest turnaround periods for customers wishing to register IPRs in the region – typically, for example, a trade mark without any opposition can expect to be registered from first filing in just 4 to 6 months.

Above all, Singapore strives to provide businesses and clients with quality IP protection and continues to build a reputable IP ecosystem that is recognized not just regionally, but globally.

Development of Singapore’s IP Enforcement

Singapore’s IP laws are administered by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. The Intellectual Property Rights Branch of the Police is responsible for territorial enforcement, whilst Singapore Customs – together with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority – are responsible for border enforcement of IP rights.

Over the past few years, Singapore has strengthened its border enforcement measures through the lodgement of notice system and the ex-officio approach. Under the notice system, the rights owner can lodge a formal complaint to Singapore Customs to detain a particular shipment, whereas border officials, having ex-officio authority, can detain suspected goods without the need for a formal complaint.

Legal Basis
  • Patents Act 1995 (Chapter 221) effective 23 February 1995
  • Patents (Amendment) Act, 1995 effective 01 January 1996
  • Patents (Amendment) Act, 2001 effective 25 February 2002
  • Patents (Amendment) Act, 2004 effective 1 July 2004
  • Patents (Amendment) Act, 2008 (No. 18 of 2008) effective 01 December 2008
  • Patents (Amendment) Act, 2012 (No. 15 of 2012) effective 14 February 2014
  • Patent Rules 1995
  • Patent Rules 1993 (Rev. Edition) effective 23 February 1995
  • Patents (Amendment) Rules 1996 effective 24 February 1996
  • Patents (Amendment) Rules 2013 effective 08 April 2013
  • Patents (Amendment) Rules 2014 effective 14 February 2014
  • Patents (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2014 effective 10 March 2014
Major international treaties signed
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) effective 23 February 1995
  • Paris Convention effective 23 February 1995
  • Budapest Treaty effective 23 February 1995
  • Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
Costs of obtaining a patent Please contact us at singapore@mirandah.com
Average time to obtain a patent 12 – 24 months from PCT national phase entry, 42 – 54 months from priority date for Paris Convention applications
Official language for patent prosecution English
Non-patentable subject matter
  • Methods of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or of diagnosis
  • Invention that may encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour
Grace period for prior disclosure or sale 12 months
Major prosecution events Following the filing date – or earliest claimed priority date – whichever is the earlier:

Request for Search: 13 months

National Phase Entry: 30 months

Request for Search and/or Examination: 36 months

Payment of Grant Fees: 54 months

Renewals: On the fifth anniversary of filing, and each succeeding anniversary thereafter

Filing and prosecution procedures Stage 1: Filing

Stage 2: Formality Examination

Stage 3: Publication

Stage 4: Substantive Examination

Stage 5: Grant

Stage 6: Renewal/ Annuity

Extension of office action deadlines Non-extendible
Necessary document for filing None, if the application has already been published by WIPO and is in English. Otherwise, verified English translations of the specifications and the translator’s declaration of accuracy is required.
Pharmaceutical Data Exclusivity Laws Available
Search and Examination Local examination of patents is not compulsory. Search and examination reports established in other countries or during PCT international phase can be relied upon for the purpose of patent grant in Singapore
Opposition term Not available
Term of patent protection 20 years
Patent term extension Available
Restoration of lapsed patent Within 18 months from the day it ceased to have effect
Parallel Imports Available
Other forms of patents (e.g. Petty/innovation patents) Not available
Useful links Patent Agents and Attorneys in Singapore www.ipos.gov.sg
Infringement offence Civil and Criminal (in special cases)
Specialised courts for IP No
Outline of the enforcement steps Notice of Cease and Desist Infringement lawsuit
Relief against groundless threats Available
Declaration of non-infringement Available
Preliminary injunctions Available
Time frame for various legal actions Revocation – 1 to 2 years Infringement proceeding – 2 to 3 years
Alternative dispute resolution Mediation Arbitration
Availability of damages and other relief for infringement Injunction Delivery Up Damages Account of profits
Civil remedies As per above
Criminal Sanctions Not Available

In Singapore, a patent application shall proceed to grant based on the allowed/granted claims in either: a corresponding application, a corresponding international application, or a related national phase application. However, we do not recommend this option, as this may result in a weak patent.

After filing a request for supplementary examination, local examiners will examine only a limited number of prescribed matters, e.g. the relatedness of the Singapore claims to the granted claims of the corresponding application. There is no further substantive examination to be conducted.

Consequently, the application will be allowed based on the examination report conducted in a country, which may have a different examination practice with Singapore. This will therefore increase the burden on the applicant to establish the validity of the claims in later proceedings. A good example to this is the currently revoked claims of Singapore Patent No. 51905 (claims 1-13 of this patent have been found to be invalid due to insufficient disclosure and lack of inventive step). These shortcomings have been acknowledged by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and in fact, this option will be removed in 2020.

  Year

Applications

Granted

Domestic

Foreign

Total

Domestic

Foreign

Total

2003 626 7248 7874 175 4242 4417
2004 641 7944 8585 400 5576 5976
2005 569 8036 8605 555 6975 7530
2006 626 8538 9165 438 6955 7393
2007 696 9255 9951 469 7009 7478
2008 793 8899 9692 501 5785 6286
2009 750 7986 8736 473 5136 5609
2010 895 8878 9773 369 4073 4442
2011 1056 8738  9794 484 5465  5949
 2012 1081  8604  9685 410 5223  5633
2013  1143 8579 9722 393  5182 5575
2014  1303 9009 10312 402  5136 5538
2015  1469 9345 10814 446  6608 7054

Source: WIPO

Legal Basis Trade Marks Act (Cap. 332, Revised Edition 2005) (Amended as of 10th June 2016)

Trade Marks (Composition of Offences) Regulations (Cap. 332, RG 1)

Trade Marks Rules (Cap. 332, R 1)

Trade Marks (Border Enforcement Measures) Rules (Cap. 332, R 2)

Trade Marks (International Registration) Rules (Cap. 332, R 3)

Application of Section 75 to Foreign States (Cap. 332, N 2)

Trade Marks (Application of Section 75 to Foreign States) Notification (Cap. 332, N 3)

Major international treaties signed
  • Paris Convention effective 23 February 1995
  • Madrid Protocol effective 31 October 2000
  • Nice Agreement effective 18 March 1999
  • Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
Costs of registering a trademark Please contact us at singapore@mirandah.com
Average time to register a trademark 6 to 8 months
Official language for trademark prosecution English
Registrable marks Any sign (including any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, shape, colour, aspect of packaging or any combination thereof) capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade by a person from goods or services so dealt with or provided by any other person
Filing and prosecution procedures Stage 1: Filing
Stage 2: Examination
Stage 3: Publication
Stage 4: Opposition (if any)
Stage 5: Registration
Stage 6: Renewal
Number of classes 45 (10th Edition of the Nice Classification)
Multiple class filing Available
Filing of series marks Available
Necessary document for filing None
Common objections Descriptiveness
Non-distinctiveness
Prior conflicting rights
Extension of office action deadlines Available
Opposition term 2 months (extendible)
Term of trademark protection 10 years (renewable)
Restoration of lapsed trade mark Within 6 months from the date of the removal of the trademark from the register
Parallel Imports Available
Parallel Imports Available
Minimum period of use to avoid non-use cancellation action 5 years of continuous use from the date of completion of registration formatlities, or from the date of last use.
Useful links Trademark Agents and Attorneys in Singapore
www.ipos.gov.sg
Infringement offence Available
Specialised courts for IP Not available. Be that as it may, the knowledge and competence level of the IP Registry and the specialist IP judges of the Supreme Court are extremely high.
Outline of the enforcement steps Infringement
Passing-off
Relief against groundless threats A declaration that the threats are unjustifiable
An injunction against the continuance of the threats
Damages in respect of any loss sustained by the threats
Declaration of non-infringement Available
Preliminary injunctions Available
Time frame for various legal actions Approximately 12 months (subject to the factual matrix of the case)
Alternative dispute resolution Mediation
Arbitration
Availability of damages and other relief for infringement As per below
Civil Remedies Injunction
Damages
Account of profits
Criminal Sanctions Trade Description Order
Monetary fines or imprisonment or bothBorder Measure
Prohibition of importation; seizure; detention; forfeiture of counterfeit trademark goods

Year

Applications

Registrations

Resident

Non-Resident

Total

Resident 

Non-Resident

Total

2003

4254

12147

16401

 5735

23095

28830

2004

4840

 14089

18929

4064

12665

16729

2005

5071

15451

20522

4156

14760

18916

2006 4854 16021 20875 3869 14218  18087
2007  5393 17558 22951 5441 18262 23703

2008

4203

12886

17089

3543

14021

17564

2009

4107

10496

14603

3650

11097

14747

2010

4334

12594

16928

3302

10592

13894

2011

4243

13959

18202

2833

11614

14447

2012 4607

14656

19263

3379

12161

15540
2013 4800 15232 20032 2844 12796 15640
2014 5641 15650 21291 4565 14588 19153
2015 5390 15972 21062 5724 17700 23424

Source: WIPO

Want to find out more about
Singapore's IP landscape?
Drop us a line or visit
our office.

mirandah asia (singapore) pte ltd
1 Coleman Street
#07 – 08 The Adelphi
Singapore 179803

Tel: +(65) 6336 9696
Fax: +(65) 6338 3739

Email: singapore@mirandah.com