Designers to Get Greater Assurance in Industrial Designs Protection as Singapore Signs On to the Locarno Agreement

SINGAPORE, 11 February 2020 – Industrial designers will soon obtain greater assurance in protecting their designs in Singapore when the Locarno Agreement enters into force on 19 March 2020. With this, Singapore is now signatory to 15 World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) treaties, marking a continued commitment to support global innovation flows through the active harmonisation of our intellectual property (IP) policies and legislations against international standards.

The Locarno Agreement is an international standardised classification system for industrial designs – a multilateral treaty administered by WIPO. Also known as the Locarno Classification, it simplifies the search process across different industrial designs databases and helps applicants identify the specific class their work belongs to when they file for industrial designs protection. With the accession to the Locarno Agreement, Singapore joins other industrial designs powerhouses such as Japan, Germany and Italy as a contracting party to the WIPO administered treaty.  As a member of the treaty, Singapore will have a seat at the appropriate WIPO platforms to influence the development of the Locarno Classification for the interests of the design community in Singapore. 

Mr Daren Tang (邓鸿森), Chief Executive at Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (新加坡知识产权局局长), said: “IP is an increasingly important input for growth which then positively impacts jobs, growth and social vibrancy. At IPOS, we are committed to ensuring that our IP laws are progressive, and our processes are aligned to international standards and practices to help our designers better access markets in the region and beyond.  As the first in the ASEAN bloc to join the Locarno Agreement, we hope to work closely with our ASEAN and global counterparts to build stronger linkages, so that businesses will find it easier and cheaper to file and gain industrial designs protection for their work across countries.”   

Ms Winnie Tham (譚慧儀), Director at Amica Law LLC (Amica Law LLC 的董事), said: “It is a long-awaited but definitely welcomed move. With the accession to the Locarno Agreement, Singapore is formally aligned to the international standards and practices. Industrial designs applicants will be able to avoid discrepancies on classification and this, in turn, will make it simpler for them to check on classification issues in seeking for industrial designs protection.” 

Mr Desmond Tan (陈文明), President of the Association of Singapore Patent Attorneys (ASPA) (新加坡专利代理人协会主席) and Principal at FPA Patent Attorneys (FPA 专利代理人主任), shared that: “My clients are happy with this development as they do not need to revisit the categorisations for their Singapore applications, thus allowing for more conformity in their respective designs portfolios.” 

According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019 report, global industrial designs applications doubled between 2007 and 2018 to reach 1.02 million in 2018. This is consistent with the industrial designs filing trends in ASEAN, which grew by almost 15% between 2011 to 2017. In 2019 alone, Singapore saw a 16% year-on-year increase in applications for international designs registrations.

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About IPOS 
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a government agency under the Ministry of Law. Our mission is to use our intellectual property (IP) expertise and networks to drive Singapore’s future growth, and build Singapore into a hub where innovative enterprises use IP and intangible assets to grow. More information on IPOS can be found at 

IPOS Press Contact
Gracie Xiang | +65 6705 2367 | 
Benjamin Tan | +65 6331 6560 |

[1] Singapore’s instrument of accession to the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs was deposited at the World Intellectual Property Organisation on 19 December 2019.

[2] This is the abbreviated form of the International Classification for Industrial Designs under the Locarno Agreement, used for registering industrial designs. The Locarno Classification consists of 32 classes and their respective subclasses with explanatory notes plus an alphabetical list of the goods in which industrial designs are incorporated and an indication of the classes and subclasses into which they fall.

[3] List of Contracting Parties to WIPO-Administered Treaties

[4] World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019

[5] ASEAN IP Portal Statistics