We are about two weeks away from closure of the Supplementary Examination Route of patent examination in Singapore. The Circular No. 5/2016, dated 7 December 2016, with the aim of strengthening the Singapore patent regime and increasing the quality of patents being granted announced closure of this route of patent examination.
A recap on the benefits of the Supplementary Examination Route
Supplementary examination is requested within 54 months from the date of filing of the patent application in Singapore. The supplementary examination route allows an applicant to use a favourable PCT international preliminary report on patentability (IPRP) or positive search and examination results from a prescribed patent office to expedite grant in Singapore. This route is also cost-effective as it does not incur any official fees.
Final call for availing patent examination under the Supplementary Examination Route
If you intend to file a national or an international application entering national phase in Singapore relying on the supplementary examination route, then the good news is that you still haven’t missed the bus!
As per the circular:
- any national applications having a date of filing on or before 31 December 2019, or
- any international applications entering national phase in Singapore having a date of filing on or before 31 December 2019, or
- any divisional application having an initiation date on or before 31 December 2019
will still be eligible for requesting examination under the supplementary examination route.
Hence, if you wish to keep the supplementary examination route open, then this is the final call to secure the “date of filing” for your Singapore application before 1 January 2020 or file corresponding divisional applications before 1 January 2020.
Can we rely on any foreign grants post 1 January 2020?
Although the supplementary examination route will not be available after 31 December 2019, the applicants can still rely on accelerated examination programmes such as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), the Global PPH programme (GPPH) and ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC, ASPEC AIM and PCT-ASPEC) to expedite examinations based on any corresponding foreign grants.
ASPEC is a regional patent cooperation programme between ASEAN countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to utilize search and examination results from another participating ASEAN IP office. ASPEC AIM, also known as ASPEC Acceleration for Industry 4.0 Infrastructure and Manufacturing, prioritises Industry 4.0 patent applications, and will run for a period of 2 years starting from 27 August 2019 to 26 August 2021. ASPEC has also been broadened to include PCT reports issued from an ASEAN ISA/IPEA (namely the Singapore and Philippines IP offices). The PCT-ASPEC will run for a period of 3 years starting from 27 August 2019 to 26 August 2022.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) also has PPH pilot programmes with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the European Patent Office (EPO). Meanwhile the GPPH programme comprises 25 participating offices including the Japan Patent Office (JPO), United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).
The request for PPH or GPPH has to be filed at the time of requesting for examination, while a request for ASPEC can be filed any time before a final decision of grant or refusal is issued by IPOS.
Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you need any further information or assistance.