Singapore – from filing to grant

Our patent attorneys are registered to practise before the Australian and New Zealand Patent Offices and they instruct patent attorneys registered before the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) on all aspects of Singapore patent prosecution.

Singapore Patent Office (IPOS)

The government agency responsible for grant of patent rights in Singapore is the IPOS, which can be accessed at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

Key prosecution events

  • Paris Convention filing: 12 months from earliest claimed priority
  • PCT National phase entry: 30 months from earliest claimed priority
  • Local search and examination: 36 months from earliest claimed priority 
  • Supplementary examination: 54 months from earliest claimed priority
  • Divisional application: before payment of the grant fee to request issuance of the grant

National phase entry

A national phase application must be filed by 30 months from the earliest claimed priority date. View filing requirements for a Singapore National phase application.

Convention applications

Singapore is party to the Paris Convention. A Convention application must be validly filed by 12 months from filing the earliest priority application. View filing requirements for a Singapore Convention application.

Utility patents and 2nd tier protection

Not available.

Examination, divisional applications and acceptance

Please see the following link for applications filed before 14 February 2014.

For divisional, convention, and non-convention applications filed on or after 14 February 2014, and PCT national phase applications that enter the national phase in Singapore on or after 14 February 2014, the following procedures apply.

The below information is based on the draft Patent Rules (issued 9 October 2013). The Patent Rules may change prior to being finalised.

1. Examination procedure

1.1 Local search and examination

Local search and examinations are conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The examiner conducts a search in respect of each of the claims of the application to determine patentability.

For Singapore national phase applications, local search and examination is to be requested within 36 months of the earliest priority date of the application.

The grounds of examination will include an assessment of whether:

  • the claims are novel and inventive;
  • the claims are supported by the description;
  • the claimed invention is capable of industrial applicability (methods of medical treatment are not taken to be capable of industrial application);
  • the application includes added subject matter;
  • the invention as claimed is contrary to morality;
  • there is double patenting; and
  • each of the claims relates to a claim that has been searched.

During examination, the examiner issues a first written opinion. The applicant has 5 months within which to file a response. A further written opinion may be issued at the examiner’s discretion, setting a further period of 5 months during which the applicant may file a response.

18 months from the date of issue of the first written opinion an examiner’s report issues with one of the following outcomes:

  • in the event that the claims are found to be allowable, a Notice of Eligibility is issued with the examiner’s report; or
  • in the event that the claims are deemed to lack patentability a Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application is issued with the examiner’s report.

If a Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application is issued, the applicant may apply for a review of the examination report by filing the prescribed request form, and including any written comments and/or amendments to address the examiner’s objections. This is ostensibly an appeal proceeding. This must be filed within two months of receiving the Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application.

IPOS will review the submissions and will subsequently issue an examination review report and either (i) a Notice of Eligibility, or (ii) a Notice of Refusal.

If a Notice of Refusal is issued, the applicant will be provided with two months within which to file a divisional application before the application is irrevocably refused.

1.2 Supplementary examination

Supplementary examination occurs where the applicant seeks to rely on a PCT application with a clear IPRP or the acceptance/allowance or grant of a corresponding application in Australia, Canada (for English applications), Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK, the USA, and at the EPO (for English applications).

Supplementary examination must be requested within 54 months of the priority date of the application.

Under supplementary examination, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) conducts examination to ensure the application conforms to Singaporean patent practice. This is ostensibly a form of modified examination. Supplementary examination considers whether:

  • the claims being examined are “related” to claims in the corresponding application on which supplementary examination is based;
  • the claims are supported by the description;
  • the invention as claimed is contrary to morality;
  • the invention as claimed relates to a method of medical treatment;
  • double patenting; and
  • the application includes added subject matter.

In the event that the examiner raises an objection, a Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application is issued outlining the nature of the objection. As above, the applicant is provided with a single opportunity to resolve any objection(s) within a prescribed period.

Regardless of the type of examination chosen once the Notice of Eligibility has issued, the applicant has two months within which to pay the grant fee.

1.3 Examination flowchart for positive assessment

 

 

Unity of invention and Divisional applications

In Singapore, a patent application may relate only to one invention or to a group of inventions which are linked by a general inventive concept, namely that there is a technical relationship among those inventions involving one or more of the same or corresponding special technical features defining a contribution over the prior art.

An applicant may file divisional applications voluntarily, or because of the examiner's objection to the unity of invention raised during examination, provided that the divisional applications are filed any time before the parent application has been refused, withdrawn or become abandoned, or before the conditions for grant of a patent on the parent application are satisfied.

Double patenting and Divisional applications

Divisional applications should only be filed for a further invention in the parent application. This is because it is a ground of revocation if a patent is one of 2 or more patents for the same invention having the same priority date and filed by the same party.

Because claims may be assessed to define the “same invention” if the claims each recite a shared special technical feature (ie the claims of each application have unity of invention), careful consideration is required before filing a divisional application if the divisional claims would form unity of invention with the parent claims.

Post grant re-examination procedures apply. There is no opposition procedure.

Micro-organisms

Singapore is a party to the Budapest Treaty.

There is no express statutory exclusion to patent eligibility of isolated nucleic acid molecules.

Renewals

For details on the renewal requirements in Singapore, view South East Asia – Renewal Requirements.

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