The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will implement a new system in their patent law and regulations, effective 11 January 2014. New Singapore national applications, PCT national phase applications and divisional patent applications filed on or after the effective date will be prosecuted under the new “Positive Grant System”. Currently IPOS practices a “Self-Assessment System” wherein a patent can be granted although it doesn’t fulfill Singapore’s patentability requirements. IPOS proposed the new system as an amendment to Singapore’s Patents Act in May 2012. This amendment was passed in Parliament on 10 July 2012. This change in the Patents Act only grants patent applications which have been examined locally and have fully met the patentability requirements, i.e. novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability or have a positive supplementary examination report based on examination results obtained from a corresponding application or a corresponding national phase application. Singapore patent applications which are filed on or after the effective date and relying on the positive examination results from a corresponding application will require a request for supplementary examination. The request is to be filed within 54 months from the filing date or priority date.
In anticipation of the implementation of the “Positive Grant” System, we would suggest that those intending to (i) file PCT national phase applications, (ii) file Singapore national patent applications, (iii) file divisional patent applications from Singapore parent applications, and (iv) file requests for post grant search and examination, do so before 11 January 2014 to take advantage of the current “Self-Assessment” System, seeing its leniency compared to the new system.
As a whole, the new amendment will produce good quality patents in Singapore, on par with the patent offices of the US, UK, Japan and EPO. In line with this new “Positive Grant” System, IPOS is planning and working on creating a group of technical experts for examining the patent applications. This new change will therefore also contribute to the growth of patent experts in Singapore.