IPOS Revises Examination Guidelines on Patentable Subject Matter

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) issued a revised version of its Examination Guidelines for Patent Applications in May 2016. The revised version of the Examination Guidelines includes an update to Chapter 8, Section A of the Examination Guidelines, which relates to patentable subject matter.

Earlier, IPOS had requested feedback from the patent community on proposed changes to Chapter 8.  The changes were intended primarily to address computer-implemented inventions and those inventions that are often characterized as “business methods.” Among the replies received by IPOS, the Association of Singapore Patent Attorneys (ASPA) provided feedback challenging the proposed changes as contravening existing Singapore patent law.

Chapter 8 of the Examination Guidelines contains significant differences from the earlier-proposed changes.  Following the issuance of the revised Examination Guidelines, IPOS appears to have issued corrected written opinions in cases where an invention was objected to as being directed to an unpatentable business method.  These corrected written opinions appear to be a direct result of the revision to Chapter 8 of the Examination Guidelines.

While the revised Examination Guidelines do not explicitly exclude such subject matter, applicants pursing patents for computer-implemented inventions can sometimes struggle to meet Singapore’s patentability requirements during the substantive examination process.

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