Amendments to Patent Act in Singapore

As of February 14, 2014, the Amended Patents Act went into effect. This essentially made it necessary for the subject matter of the pending patent application to meet several different criteria regarding its inventiveness, novelty and purposefulness in the industry in which it will be marketed. This is important news for anyone considering Singapore company incorporation, particularly if patents will be necessary for branding purposes.

The Objective

The objective of the Amended Patents Act is not to make Singapore company registration more difficult. Rather, it seeks to ensure that the quality of the patents issued in Singapore is sound by aligning it with the patent approval programs that are found in European countries, the United States, the United Kingdom and even Japan.  These countries all use what are known as “positive grant” systems like the one proposed by this Act. As such, patents are not issued until the subject matter has positively passed an assessment regarding characteristics like innovation, uniqueness and fitness for a purpose. It is thought that by doing this, Singapore will be able to make a name for itself as one of Asia’s premier IP hubs.

A Single Time-frame

Previous patent laws allowed for “fast tracking” and “slow tracking” of patent applications prior to Singapore company incorporation. Since the enforcement of the new Act will remove the dual-track systems, there will be only one time-frame in which applications for patents will be processed. As it stands, the time-frame for filing a search report will remain at 13 months from the filing or priority date. A combined search and examination report that is based on the results of a previous search must be filed within 36 months from the filing or priority date. Applicants will have five months to respond to any written report that is provided based on the results of either of these reports.

Approvals and Refusals

Once the searches and examinations have been completed as part of the Singapore company incorporation and patent-seeking process, the individual may be provided with a Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to the Grant of a Patent or a Notice of Intention to Refuse. According to the Act, refusal letters may be provided when any unresolved objections are formal in nature. In the event that the applicant receives an eligibility notice, he or she will have two months to respond in kind and receive his or her certificate of patent. Those who receive a refusal letter will have the same two-month time frame in which they can ask for an appeal, during which the examination report will be reviewed again.

Examination Report Reviews

In the event that the applicant asks for an appeal, he or she may make changes to the application in order to overcome any objections made by the registrar in reference to the Search Report, the Search and Examination Report, or the Supplementary Examination Report. Once this is completed, a second Examination Report will be provided to the applicant that contains the original report that was reviewed, any amendments made by the applicant, and the reasoning behind any decision that is made, whether that decision is to approve or deny the patent. Thus, it will be determined whether or not the Singapore company incorporation can continue as planned.

Enforcement

The Amended Patents Act went into effect as of February 14, 2014. Any patent applications turned in on that date or later are subject to the terms and conditions of the Act. However, all patent applications turned in prior to February 14, 2014 will be processed according to the self-assessment system that was in place at that time. Further questions regarding the changes to these patent laws or anything to do with Singapore company incorporation should be addressed with the company owner’s lawyers, as these individuals keep up with the changes to patent laws as they occur.

Overall, Singapore company incorporation will not become more difficult in any way in accordance with this Act. In fact, it is thought that stricter guidelines regarding the provision of patents will help business owners stand out within their industries, since these patents will essentially be rewards for innovation. This means that the Act will benefit Singapore as a whole by making it a country in which businesses are truly authorities in their fields.

 


Copyright 2018