The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced a public consultation on proposed amendments to Singapore’s patent law.
The proposed amendments would eliminate the “Supplementary Examination” option that is currently available under the Patents Act, which is often referred to as the “reliance route.” Currently, a patent applicant can rely on the examination results of a PCT application or a corresponding patent application filed in a “Prescribed Office,” which includes patent offices in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These proposed amendments to Section 29 would have the effect of ending this reliance on foreign examination for all Singapore patent applications filed after a certain date, as determined by the Ministry of Law.
The elimination of the foreign reliance route has been discussed as early as 2014 when Singapore switched to a “positive grant” patent system and the IP office became appointed a PCT International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA). The elimination of the foreign reliance route has been postponed at least once but is now considered to be inevitable among Singapore’s patent professionals. The stated goal of this change is to increase the qualify of patents granted in Singapore. The presumed effect, however, is likely to be fewer inbound patent filings, since Singapore is not currently considered to be a primary filing jurisdiction for most companies.
Amendments have also been proposed to expand the grace period of pre-filing disclosures made by the inventor or patent owner. The grace period proposed by the amendments shares some similarities to the grace period provided under U.S. Patent Law.
Other amendments relate to the timing for when an applicant is allowed to withdraw a type of examination request and request a different type of examination.
The deadline for submitting feedback has been extended to November 30, 2016.
Feedback may be sent to IPOS by mail or email at:
Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
51 Bras Basah Road #01-01, Manulife Centre