trade-marks

TRADE MARKS

A trade mark can help you differentiate your products and services from others. Read on to learn more about registering and managing your trade marks.

How to Register

Read on for more information on the registration process – including registration criteria, application options, forms and fees, as well as our service commitment. 

Here is a quick example of the registration process. Your registration process may vary, depending on your application requirements or if there are opposition proceedings.

registering_trade-mark


The details of each stage of the registration process can be found below.

Step 1: Check Registration Criteria for a Trade Mark

Before applying to register your trade mark, you should check if your trade mark fulfils the registration criteria. Here are four quick questions to guide you in determining the registrability of your trade mark:

a. Does Your Trade Mark Meet the Registration Criteria?
To register your trade mark, take note of some key criteria. Your trade mark must:
  • Be capable of being represented graphically
  • Be distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from other traders
  • Not consist entirely of signs which are descriptive of your goods or services (e.g. best, cheap)
  • Not consist entirely of signs which are customary in current language or established practices of trade (e.g. the mark “Escalator” has become so well-accepted that it is used to describe power-driven staircases for carrying passengers, and can no longer be used to distinguish the trader selling such goods)
  • Not be identical or confusingly similar to existing trade mark(s)

For more information, please refer to the relevant chapters of the Trade Marks Work Manual.
b. Have You Searched for Similar Existing Marks?

Before applying for a trade mark, you are encouraged to conduct a Similar Mark Search on IP2SG (our e-services portal) to ensure that there are no existing marks on our Register belonging to another party, that are identical or similar to yours.

If there is a similar or an identical mark found and this mark is protected for similar/identical goods and/or services as specified in your trade mark application, it is possible that your application will face an objection. In certain circumstances, you may be able to overcome the objection by providing us with a letter of consent from the other party.

For more information on refusal of a trade mark application due to conflict with another party’s earlier trade marks or rights, please refer to the Trade Marks Work Manual chapter on Relative Grounds for Refusal of Registration.

c. Have You Classified Your Trade Mark Appropriately?
The scope of your trade mark protection is determined by the goods and/or services listed in the application. You are required to state the exact class number and the appropriate description(s) of the goods and/or services according to the Nice Classification. Under the Nice Classification, there are 45 classes of goods and services.

The table below gives a quick overview about certain goods and services classified in the respective classes based on the International Classification of Goods and Services (ICGS).

icgs

You are encouraged to use IPOS’ Classification Database to search for the appropriate descriptions to avoid facing an objection against your trade mark application. Further, a class which contains entirely of descriptions from IPOS’ classification database will enjoy a discounted application fee of S$240 per class if the application is filed online via IP2SG.

For more information on the classification of goods and services, please refer to our resources below:

d. Do You Wish to Engage Professional Assistance for Your Trade Mark Application?
While engaging professional services to file your trade mark application is not a requirement, you may benefit from enlisting professional help to advise you on whether your trade mark is registrable, to determine the appropriate classification of your goods and services, and to assist in similar mark searches.

The Registry of Trade Marks does not give any legal advice to applicants on any subject, including on the registrability of your trade mark. You may refer to our Trade Marks Work Manual for more information on our examination practices. If you have any difficulty ascertaining the registrability of your trade mark or other requirements, you should consider seeking professional advice from a trade mark agent/lawyer.
Step 2: Apply for a Trade Mark
Before you apply to register a trade mark, learn more about the different options to do so.

Registering a Trade Mark in Singapore

Pre-filing Checklist

From Application to Registration of a Trade Mark in Singapore 

It may take about 12 months for a trade mark to be registered (if the application did not contain any deficiency or face any objection/opposition).

The steps below outline the stages following an application to register a trade mark in Singapore.

tm-registering-in-singapore

Examination / Processing of Application
  • At this stage, your application will be examined to check if the application fulfils the requirements for registration. A filing date is accorded if essential filing requirements are met. If the mark is registrable, it will proceed to the publication stage.

  • If the registration requirements are not met, you will receive an examination report. The examination report will state the grounds for refusal and you will be required to provide the necessary information or to amend the application within a given period of 4 months. Should the examiner direct the application to be amended, you are required to submit Form TM27 to effect it. If you fail to respond within the deadline, your application will be treated as withdrawn.
Publication
  • Should your application be accepted, your application will be published in the Trade Marks Journal for public inspection for 2 months. Any interested party may oppose to the registration of your mark during this period.

  • If there is no opposition, your application will proceed to registration.
Opposition Proceedings
  • If your trade mark application faces an opposition, you will receive a copy of the notice of opposition from the opponent. The application process will be suspended pending the outcome of the opposition proceeding.

  • If the outcome of the hearing is in favour of the opponent, the application will be refused. If it is in your favour, the application will proceed to registration.
Registration
You will receive a certificate of registration from IPOS and the trade mark is granted protection for 10 years.
Renewal
Starting from 6 months before the expiry of the registration, you can file for a renewal of your registration to extend the protection of your trade mark for another 10 years.
Registering a Trade Mark Outside of Singapore

If you wish to register a trade mark in countries outside of Singapore, you may either make separate applications by filing directly with the IP offices of the respective countries or file a single international application via the Madrid Protocol

The Madrid Protocol is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which governs the international registration of trade marks. It allows applicants to enjoy the convenience of obtaining protection for a trade mark in several countries through one application with a single office, in one language, with one set of fees and in one currency.

Pre-filing Checklist

Check that you have fulfilled the following criteria: 

  • You have filed a Singapore application for the same trade mark.

  • The countries in which you wish to protect your trade mark are contracting parties to the Madrid Protocol. You may wish to refer to WIPO’s website on Madrid Members Profile for more information on the practices, procedures and contact details of the respective contracting parties.

  • You must satisfy at least one of the following entitlement criteria to file an international application from Singapore:

  • Find out the required form and fees for filing an international application via the Madrid Protocol.

Examination Process for an International Application

The steps below outline the stages following the filing of an application through IPOS to register a trade mark outside of Singapore.

international_application_process


Formalities Examination
  • At this stage, IPOS will examine your international application to check that the requirements are complied with.
  • If all is in order, IPOS will certify your application and forward it to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) within 2 months from the application filing date. This secures the filing date as the date of your international registration. IPOS will notify you when the application has been forwarded to WIPO.
  • If there are deficiencies in your application, you will be notified to remedy them within a stipulated deadline. If you fail to do so, IPOS may not be able to forward your application to WIPO within 2 months from your application filing date. Thus, you may fail to secure the filing date as the date of your international registration.

Formal Examination by the International Bureau
  • At this stage, your application will be further examined by the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
  • If all is in order, your application will be recorded in the International Register and published in the WIPO Gazette. WIPO will issue a certificate of the international registration to the Applicant and notify the designated contracting parties (DCPs). The certificate issued by WIPO informs that the international application conforms to the applicable requirements under Article 3 of the Madrid Protocol, and is not a confirmation that the mark is registered in the DCPs. 

  • If there are irregularities in your application, you will be notified by IB to address them within a stipulated deadline. If you fail to do so, your application will be deemed as abandoned. 


Examination by the Designated Contracting Parties
  • At this stage, the designated contracting parties (DCPs) will conduct substantive examination of your international registration according to their domestic law, within 12 or 18 months from their receipt of your application from the International Bureau.
  • If your international registration conforms to the requirements of the DCP(s) and did not face any opposition in the DCP(s), your trade mark will be granted protection in the DCP(s). Otherwise, you will receive a Provisional Refusal of Protection from the IP Office(s) of the DCP(s). The provisional refusal will state the grounds for refusal with a stipulated deadline for you to file a response or make amendments.
Designating Singapore via Madrid Protocol
If you are filing from another country and wish to obtain trade mark protection in Singapore, you may designate Singapore in an international registration or a subsequent designation, via the Madrid Protocol.

Examination Process for an International Registration/Subsequent Designation

It may take about 12 months for a trade mark registration to be granted from the date we receive the notification from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), if the application did not contain any deficiency or face any refusal/opposition. The steps below outline the stages following the designation of Singapore in an international registration or a subsequent designation.

tm-registering-madrid-protocol

Examination / Processing
  • At this stage, IPOS will examine the application to check if the application fulfils the requirements for registration. If the mark is registrable, it will proceed to the publication stage.

  • If the registration requirements are not met, you will receive a Provisional Refusal of Protection stating the grounds for refusal. You are required to respond to the refusal within 4 months. The refused goods and/or services will be treated as withdrawn if you fail to respond within the stipulated deadline. Please note that you are required to provide an address for service in Singapore in order to file a response.

Publication
  • At this stage, your application will be published in the Trade Marks Journal for public inspection for 2 months. Any interested party may oppose to the registration of your mark during this period.

  • If there is no opposition, your application will proceed to registration. 

Opposition Proceedings
  • If your application faces an opposition, you will receive a copy of the notice of opposition from the opponent. The application process will be suspended pending the outcome of the opposition proceeding.

  • If the outcome of the hearing is in favour of the opponent, the application will be refused. If it is your favour, a grant of protection will be issued. 

Grant of Protection
You will receive a Statement of Grant of Protection from IPOS. Your trade mark is granted protection for 10 years.
Step 3: Forms & Fees for New Applications
Registering a Trade Mark in Singapore
Form TM4 should be submitted for an application to register a trade mark in Singapore.

Possible modes of filing for Form TM4:

Your trade mark application to be submitted via Form TM4 must include:

  1. The name and address of the applicant

  2. A clear graphical representation of your trade mark

  3. A list of goods and/or services in relation to which you wish to register your trade mark

  4. A declaration of your use of or intention to use the mark

  5. The relevant application fee (as indicated below). See our payment modes available here 

Form

Description

Online Filing

TM4

Application to register a trade mark, collective mark or certification mark


After TM4 filing:


If you have a successful patent application placed on SG IP FAST, you may request for acceleration of your trade mark application.


Please compose an ad hoc correspondence via your IP2SG account and submit to us with the following attachment(s):


Template (Word doc)


Template (PDF)


For class(es) whose specification items are fully adopted from pre-approved database of goods/services descriptions:

S$240 per class

For class(es) whose specification are not fully adopted from pre-approved database:

S$341 per class


 

Registering a Trade Mark Outside of Singapore
Form MM2(E) should be submitted to file an international application via the Madrid Protocol from Singapore. 

Mode of filing for Form MM2(E):
  • Via our e-services portal, IP2SG

Your international application to be submitted via Form MM2(E) must be accompanied with:

  1. Administrative fee of $250 which is payable to IPOS. 

  2. Fees payable to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (in Swiss francs). You may find out on the amount using the WIPO Fee Calculator, and refer to the payment methods accepted by WIPO.

The fees payable to WIPO is dependent on:

  • whether the mark applied for is in black & white or in colour

  • the contracting party/parties designated

  • the number of classes of goods and/or services applied for

 

Form

Description

Online Filing

MM2(E)

Application for international registration governed exclusively by the Madrid Protocol


For more detailed information on Form MM2(E), please refer to the Explanatory Notes on Form MM2 prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).


  1. Administrative fee (payable to IPOS):
    S$250; and

  2. Application fee (in Swiss francs, payable to the World Intellectual Property Organization):
    Find out the amount payable at WIPO Fee Calculator.

 

Our Service Commitment
Issuance of Trade Mark Registrations
99% of straightforward applications* within 12 MONTHS from date of application


Timeliness of First Office Action
90% within 4 MONTHS from application

Adjudication of Cases
Within 3 MONTHS from date ready for full hearing

Issuance of Grounds of Decision
Within 3 MONTHS from hearing

Quality of Decision Assessed
When accepting a mark for registration

*Straightforward applications refer to those that are error-free and do not encounter substantive objections



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