Singapore has a positive assessment system for applications filed after 14 February and a self assessment system for applications filed before 14 February. Under the self assessment system a patent will grant on an application regardless of whether the claims of that application define patentable subject manner. Despite this “self assessment” system, it is a requirement for the grant of the application that some form of search and examination has been conducted.
Examination for these applications may proceed under a “fast track” procedure or a “slow track” procedure. Additionally, there are a number of different options for examination depending on whether you have filed a Convention application or entered the national phase via a PCT application. These different examination procedures will be discussed in the section below.
This is the default examination procedure. Under the fast track system, the deadline by which the Grant Fee must be paid is 42 months from the priority date.
The following options for examination under the fast track option are available:
Under options 1 and 2, the Singapore patent office will outsource the search and examination to a foreign patent office. Foreign patent offices that conduct searching and examination on behalf of the Singaporean patent office include the Australian patent office, the Austrian patent office, and the Danish patent and trademark office.
For options 3 and 4, prescribed foreign patent offices include: Australia, Canada (if filed in English), the European patent office (if filed in English), Japan, South Korea, the UK, and USA. Additionally, the results of the IPRP may also be relied upon.
For PCT applications, which enter into the national phase in Singapore at the 30 month date, options 1, 2, and 3 are not available. The only option available is option 4, unless the application is converted to slow track.
To move to the “slow track” procedure, a request for a block extension accompanied by the appropriate fee must be filed by 39 months from the priority date.
Under the slow track system, the examination and grant requirements are extended by 18 months. This means that examination must be requested by 39 months from the priority date (accompanied with the request for a block extension) and the Grant Fee must be paid by 60 months from the priority date.
The following options for examination under the slow track option are available:
The slow track procedure is our preferred approach, and is generally better suited to PCT applications.
As stated above, under the “self assessment” patent system, a patent will grant even if an examination report indicates that the claims do not define patentable subject matter. It is up to the Applicant to ensure that the claims of the application are valid.