A patent is a tool that protects inventions (products and processes) as objects of intellectual property. It grants the owner of the patent the exclusive right to commercially exploit the patented invention. Patents only grant protections for a certain territory so if you want to protect your invention in Singapore, you must register a patent in the country.
Patentability of inventions in Singapore
Before initiating the patent procedure you should first make sure that your invention is patentable. As mentioned above it must be a product or a method that covers the following criteria:
This is fairly simple. Your invention must be new, meaning that it must not have been disclosed to the public in any way before the patenting procedure. You should study the current state of art and search for already existing similar patents that may compromise the novelty of your invention.
- Inventive step
An inventive step means that your invention must truly be an improvement of the current state of art. It should not just be an obvious or minor change or adjustment in current technology.
- Industrial application
Your invention must be useful, meaning that it should serve some practical purpose. It must also be possible for a skilled person in the respective area to actually build the invention. Theories and hypotheses are not patentable.
Preparation for patenting
In order for your invention to be granted a Patent in Singapore, you must be ready to provide a technical and accurate description of it. Your description should not just be technically correct but also compliant with legal requirements.
The description is just part of the patent application. Another very important part is the claims. The claims will guide the patenting authority regarding the exact aspects of your invention that you want to be granted protection for. In Singapore, you can opt to start with a provisional patent application that does not contain any claims and add the claims later.
Choosing the territorial scope of the patent
If you only want to patent your invention in Singapore you can do this with the IPOS – Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. However, you may consider a wider range of countries for patenting. If so, you can file a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In your WIPO application, you can designate a multitude of countries to include in your patent as long as they are part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Filing your application in Singapore
You can file your patent application in Singapore with the IPOS. Your application should include:
- An application form;
- A description of the invention;
- Claims (if ready);
- An abstract of the invention.
Upon filing your application you must also pay a filing fee of S$160. It is best to file your application online.
Once you have filed your application the IPOS will start a preliminary examination to ensure that the filing requirements are met. If amendments are necessary you will be notified by the IPOS and granted a long enough time to comply with the requirements.
If everything with your application is OK, it will be published in the Patent Journal. This is a slow process so be patient. The publication of your application will take ~18 months. After the publication, the IPOS will initiate a search and examination procedure for the state of prior art to establish if your invention covers the novelty criteria.
This examination may last anywhere between 13 and 54 months. You have a set of options to choose as services if the IPOS where each option takes more or less time and involves fees ranging from S$0 to S$2000.
After all examinations are complete you will be issued a Certificate of Grant. Once your patent is granted, it will be protected for 20 years from the data of filing. However, you will need to maintain the patent on an annual basis starting from the fifth year which involves the payment of additional fees.