Singapore: Patents (Amendment) Act 2012

March 10, 2014

Singapore: A patent reform has been implemented in Singapore through series of acts brought into force. The Patents (Amendment) Act 2012, which was passed on August 13, 2012, came into force on February 14, 2014, through the Patents (Amendment) Act 2012 (Commencement) Notification 2014. Subsequently, to reinforce the implementation of the Patents (Amendment) Act, the Minister for Law issued Patents (Amendment) Rules 2014, and Patents (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2014, which came into effect on February 14, 2014, and March 10, 2014, respectively.

The Amendment Act together with the Patents Amendment Rules introduced a significant reform in the patent application procedure including the replacement of the "self-assessment system" with a "positive grant system" based on all the patentability requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application. The fast and slow track options were abolished and replaced by a single-track system. The existing prosecution routes of substantive examination and "modified" examination were retained notwithstanding some essential changes to the timelines. Foreign-qualified patent agents are allowed to undertake offshore patent agency work in Singapore, and harmonize the IT system and procedures of the different Registries at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The reform resulted in important changes concerning the deadlines for submitting prescribed information on a foreign corresponding application and for filing the relevant papers relating to modified examination. Furthermore, it introduced a new supplementary examination process to ensure compliance with the new positive grant.