Consider the following before you submit any patent application: Check your entitlement to the patent. The right to the grant of a patent belongs primarily to the inventor or inventors. However, if your invention has been developed in the course of your work, it may belong to your employer and other employees.
It is important that the patent applications are technically and legally accurate so as to provide effective protection. Also, failure to comply with the various stages of the process and stipulated time periods can result in an unfavourable outcome for your application. You should therefore consider engaging the services of a registered patent agent or practising advocate or solicitor to assist with the submission of your patent application. A list of Patent Agents registered with the Registry of Patents is available here.
Search for existing inventions that could be similar to your invention. By doing so, you can avoid infringing other patents that have been filed or granted. We provide basic search tools at www.epatents.gov.sg
but, as any disclosure made known to the public could destroy the novelty of an invention, more in-depth searches should also be conducted with the assistance of patent professionals using commercial search tools.
Decide which country/countries to file your patent application. Patent law differs from country to country and costs, including translation and professional fees, should be taken into account.
When to apply
The patent system in Singapore operates on a first-to-file basis. In other words, the first person to file an application will, in general, have priority over others for the same invention. Singapore, like many countries, allows priority claims to be made in a patent application. If you have an application filed earlier in a Paris Convention country or a World Trade Organization member country, you may claim this earlier filed application as priority in your subsequent Singapore patent application, provided that the Singapore application is made within 12 months from the Date of Filing of the earlier application.
For applications with Filing Date on or after 1 July 2004, up till 13 February 2014.
(Please mouseover for more information. *Note: Press CTRL and scroll mousewheel to magnify the flowchart)
* Deadline from Date of Filing or declared priority date. By default, the application will be on the fast track. To move to slow track, Patents Form 45A ($1800) must be filed within 39 months from Date of Filing or declared priority date.
For more information, please refer to the Patents infopack located under IP Resources.
1. Applicant files Patent Application
A complete patent application in Singapore shall contain the following:
In Singapore, claim(s) are not required to be furnished at the time of filing a patent application in order to obtain a Date of Filing. This is similar in concept to a Provisional Application which is available in some countries. However, claims are essential as they define the scope of protection sought and should be furnished generally within 12 months to complete the patent application. Failure to do so would result in the application being treated as abandoned.
2. IPOS conducts Date of Filing Checks
In general, the Date of Filing of an application for a patent is the earliest date on which the documents filed at the IPOS to initiate the application satisfy the following conditions:-
(a) the documents indicate that a patent is sought;
(b) the documents identify the applicant for the patent; and
(c) the documents contain a description of the invention.
With effect from 1 April 2007, a limited safety net is provided for applicants to obtain a Date of Filing notwithstanding that the description of the invention is missing from the patent application, if they:-
(a) make a reference to an earlier relevant application declared as priority;
(b) provide the date of filing of this earlier application and the country in which it was filed; and
(c) state that the missing description is completely contained in the earlier application.
3. IPOS issues Acknowledgment Letter
If the IPOS determines that all requirements for a Date of Filing to be accorded have been complied with, it will issue the applicants with a Date of Filing Notification.
If the IPOS determines that any of the requirements have not been complied with, a deficiency letter will be issued and the applicant will have 2 months to remedy the deficiencies, failing which the application will be treated as abandoned.
5. IPOS conducts Preliminary Examination
If the application is not withdrawn or treated as abandoned, and the applicant has paid the filing fee and filed all the necessary documents within the relevant time periods, IPOS will conduct a Preliminary Examination of the application., where, IPOS will determine whether:-
(a) any declaration of priority specifies a date of filing for an earlier relevant application which is more than 12 months before the Date of Filing of the Singapore application.
(b)any drawing or part of the description of the invention is missing from the application ; and
(c).the application complies with all formal requirements.
6. IPOS issues Formalities Clear Report
If during Preliminary Examination IPOS determines that all formal requirements have been complied with, IPOS will issue a Formalities Clear Report.
If not all formal requirements have been complied with, IPOS will issue a Formalities Examination Adverse Report and the applicant will have 3 months to make observations or to amend the application via Patents Form 13, failing which the application may be refused. .
8. IPOS publishes patent application
If the application has been accorded a Date of Filing and is still pending, it will be published in the Patents Journal as soon as possible after 18 months from the declared priority date or where there is no declared priority date, the Date of Filing of the application.
One significant effect of publication is that the patent application becomes open for public inspection. Hence, if the applicant wishes to keep his invention a secret, he should withdraw his application via Patents Form 9A (no fee) earlier than one month before expiry of the 18 months.
In general, the applicant will have, as from the publication and until the grant of the patent, the same right as he would have had, if the patent had been granted on the date of the publication of the application, to bring proceedings in the court or before the Registrar for damages in respect of any act which would have infringed the patent. A request for early publication can be made on Patents Form 9 ($50).
>> The Patents Journal is published monthly and they contain information of published patent applications. Recent publications of the Patents Journal are available for free at http://www.epatents.gov.sg.
9. Applicant requests for search & examination
Where the application has complied with all the formal requirements, the applicant may proceed to the search and examination process. The Registry of Patents in Singapore offers three approaches to the search and examination process namely:-
(a) “All-local approach”
In the all-local approach, an applicant may request to undergo either a search-then-examination process or a combined search-and-examination process.
(b) “All-foreign approach”
In the all-foreign approach, the applicant furnishes the Registry of Patents the final search and examination results of a corresponding or corresponding international application. Under this approach, the applicant does not need to file a further search and examination request with the Registry of Patents in respect of the same invention.
(c) “Combination approach”
In the combination approach, the applicant files an examination request with the Registry of Patents relying on the search results of a corresponding or corresponding international application.
Different approaches may be selected depending on the applicants' needs. Applicants should seek the advice of their patent agents on the option that is most suitable for them.
10. IPOS issues report
The search process is essentially a search conducted for all materials and information which are relevant to the subject of the invention. The results of the search are reflected in a search report.
The examination process involves the consideration by an Examiner as to whether the invention qualifies as new, involves an inventive step and is capable of industrial application, among other requirements.
If during the examination, the Examiner is of the opinion that the application does not meet the legal requirements, he will issue a written opinion giving the applicant a 5 months non extendable period to respond. A response to the written opinion must be made on Patents Form 13A (no fee) and can be in the form of written submissions on the Examiner's opinion, an amendment of the specification or both. The results of the examination are reflected in an examination report.
11. Applicant requests for issuance of the Certificate of Grant of patent
After completion of the search and examination process, the applicant would have to assess if it is worthwhile to proceed to obtain a grant of a patent. If the applicant chooses to do so, he would then submit a request for the issuance of the Certificate of Grant (Patents Form 14(2004), $200.00 plus $20.00 per claim in excess of 25 claims) within 42 months (fast track) or 60 months (slow track) from Date of Filing or declared priority date.
12. IPOS issues Certificate of Grant
Upon grant, the term of the patent is 20 years from the Date of Filing, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees.
To maintain the patent, the applicant will need to pay an annual renewal fee, starting from the end of the 4th year from the Date of Filing, and every year thereafter, until the patent expires. The renewal is payable within 3 months before the anniversary of the Date of Filing.
In the event that grant was issued after 45 months from date of filing, all renewals due will only be payable within 3 months after the date of grant.
The applicant can renew the patent by submitting Patents Form 15 together with renewal fees. If the applicant has made an entry in the register for Licence of Right, he can renew your patent at half price, using Patents Form 53.
Renewal Fees (S$)
Patents Form 15
Patents Form 53
5th, 6th, 7th year
8th, 9th, 10th year
11th, 12th, 13th year
14th, 15th, 16th year
17th, 18th, 19th year
Each subsequent year
Your application can be submitted as follows:
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5:00pm
Customer Enquiry Hotline: (65) 6339 8616 Fax : (65) 6339 0252
Email : Click here
Payment can be made by NETS, cashcard, GIRO, cheque (crossed), money order or bank draft (in Singapore dollars) made out to Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. For submission by mail, the application form must be completed and duly signed together with all the required documents and a cheque, money order, bank draft or request for GIRO payment.