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Singapore – Moving To A Positive Grant Patent System.

31 May, 2012

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Singapore – Intellectual Property

 

As part of efforts to strengthen Singapore’s patent regime, changes to the Patents Act were proposed in Parliament on 14 May 2012.

 

A significant change for the Patents Act is the move from a self-assessment system towards a positive grant patent system. This change will raise the overall quality of patents granted in Singapore, and align Singapore’s patent practices with those of established patent regimes in Europe, United States and Japan.

 

The current self-assessment system allows patents to be granted even if the invention does not meet the criteria of novelty, inventive step or capable of being industrially applicable. With the proposed change to a positive grant system, only inventions which meet these criteria can be granted. Some of the proposed changes include:

 

  • Applicants can request for the issuance of a grant certificate only upon receipt of a Notice of Eligibility which will be issued when an Examination Report does not contain any unresolved objection.
  • For national phase applications in Singapore, applicants can place reliance on results of a “related national phase application” or “related national phase patent”, which is an application or patent filed with a prescribed patent office that is derived from the same PCT application with no priority claim. This change is intended to cover applications which are not covered under the scope of a ‘corresponding application’ and a ‘corresponding international application’.
  • A request for “Supplementary Examination” will be introduced for applications where the applicant has chosen to rely on the results of a related national phase application, corresponding application or corresponding international application. The claims of the application will be examined to ensure they meet local requirements like the ‘related claim’ criteria.
  • The post grant search and examination procedure has been abolished.
  • The standard for restoration of patents has been revised from ‘reasonable care’ to ‘unintentional’.

 

Another major change proposed will make it easier for foreign patent agents to operate from Singapore. They will no longer need to qualify as Singapore registered patent agents if they are dealing only with offshore patent agency work.

 

A series of amendments to the Registered Designs Act have also been proposed. Notably, an amendment is proposed to allow for a request to be made for the publication of a registered design to be deferred for a prescribed period. The request must be made at the time of application for registration, and a fee is payable.

 

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Lionel Ser, ATMD Bird & Bird

lionel.ser@twobirds.com

 

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