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Singapore – New Patent Law Postponed To 14 February 2014.

6 January, 2014


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


The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has just announced that the commencement date of the changes to the Singapore Patents Act and Rules has been postponed from 11 January 2014 to 14 February 2014. This postponement was due to feedback requesting more time to prepare for the changes.
The main changes are:-


  • Move from a “self-assessing” system to a “positive grant” system. If the examination report is positive, IPOS will issue a notice of eligibility, and the applicant can then pay the grant fee. If however the examination report is negative, IPOS will issue a notice of intention to refuse.


  • An applicant can request for a review of an examination report that has been found be negative. When requesting for the review, the applicant has to file written submissions and may choose to simultaneously file amendments to the specifications. An examination review report will be issued. The examination review report will specify if the Examiner agrees or disagrees with the examination report, whether each unresolved objection has been overcome and his supporting reasons. Depending on the examination review report, IPOS will send a notice of eligibility (if IPOS is satisfied there are no more unresolved objections) or a notice of refusal (if IPOS is satisfied that there is at least one unresolved objection). Once the notice of refusal is issued, the applicant has 2 months to file divisional applications before the application is irrevocably refused.


  • Supplementary examination is now required when the applicant places reliance on the allowance or grant of a corresponding application. In supplementary examination, the examiner will not examine the claims on substantive patentability issues like novelty and inventive step. The examiner will examine whether the claims: are supported by the description, contain immoral or offensive subject matter; are method of treatment claims; will result in double patenting with another Singapore application; contain added matter; are related to the corresponding claims being relied upon (a related claim table must be provided). If the examiner has at least one objection, a written opinion would be issued. The applicant would then have 3 months to file a response to this written opinion.


  • The search and examination timelines have been changed. There is no more block extension request, so there is no more fast track, slow track system. Timeline is now a 13 months – 36 months – 54 months setup. The applicant has 13 months from the priority date is to file a request for search. The applicant has 36 months from the priority date to file a request for examination based on a search report, or file a request for search and examination. The applicant has 54 months from the priority date to file a request for supplementary examination.

Patent applications (which includes convention applications, Singapore national phase entry for a PCT application, divisional applications) filed on or after 14 February 2014 will be subject to the new law. Patent applications filed before 14 February 2014 will remain under the old self-assessing system. Therefore, an applicant who wishes to take advantage of the less stringent and less procedural self-assessing system, should file the application as soon as possible and before 14 February 2014.


ATMD Bird & Bird


For further information, please contact:


Howard Yap, ATMD Bird & Bird

[email protected]


ATMD Bird & Bird Intellectual Property Practice Profile in Singapore

Homegrown Intellectual Property Law Firms in Singapore 


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