Apply for a Design

Before you apply for a design, please ensure that your design is eligible for registration.

Is your design registrable?

Your design is registrable if it satisfies this key criteria:

  • New - The registered design must not have been registered in Singapore or elsewhere before, or published anywhere in the world before the date of application of the first filing.

What cannot be registered as a design?

  • Designs that are contrary to public order or morality
  • Computer programmes or layout designs of integrated circuits
  • Designs applied to certain articles; such as wall plaques, medals and medallions, and printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character (e.g. calendars, certificates, coupons, greeting cards, leaflets, maps, playing cards, postcards, stamps, and similar articles)
  • Methods or principles of construction
  • Designs that are solely functional
  • Designs that are dependent upon the appearance of another article or non-physical product, of which it is intended by the designer to form an integral part or enable the article or non-physical product to be connected to, or placed in, around or against, another article or non-physical product so that either article or non-physical product may perform its function

Did you check whether there are existing designs similar to yours?

Before you register your design, it is a good idea to run a search on existing designs to see if it already exists. You can also avoid scenarios where there might be possible infringement of other registered designs. You can conduct the search on IP2SG. You may also check the databases of other countries, generally found on the respective national IP offices’ websites.

When applying for a design in Singapore, use this pre-filing checklist:

Did you engage any professional assistance to prepare the submission of your design application?

While engaging professional services to file your design application is not a requirement, you may benefit by enlisting help from the professionals to advise on your scope of rights before filing.

Did you properly represent your design in the application?

It is important that images you submit in your application properly and accurately represent your design, to achieve faster and greater success in your application.

Refer to the “PDF icon Guide on Acceptable and Unacceptable Images” for example.

Did you search for existing designs that could be similar to your design?

Before applying for a design, you should conduct a search. The search will show whether there are any similar designs in the market which may affect your design application outcome. By conducting a search, you can also avoid infringing other designs that have been filed or registered.

Searches can be conducted using online design databases such as IP2SG or by an IP professional.

When should you register your design?

Register your design at the earliest opportunity.

In Singapore, the first person to file an application generally has priority over others for the same design.

There is also a priority application procedure for applicants who have filed an earlier application for the same design in a country which is either a member of the Paris Convention or World Trade Organisation (other than Singapore). The Singapore application must be filed within six months from the date of the first filing.

The steps of filing of an application for a registered design are outlined below:

Step 1: Application

New registration

Your application must include:

  1. PDF icon Application form
  2. Application fee: S$250/-

Request for Deferment of Publication (Optional)

Your application must include:

  1. PDF icon An indication on application form
  2. Application fee: S$40/-

You can file up to 50 designs within a single application if the designs relate to the same class or all of the same classes as classified in accordance with the PDF icon Practice Direction No 1 of 2017.

You can also file a Graphical User Interface (GUI) as a design. Learn PDF icon how to register a GUI.

Step 2: Minimum filing requirements check

The application for a registered design must contain:

  1. PDF icon Application form
  2. Application fee: $250/-
  3. Name and address of the applicant
  4. At least one clear representation of the design

Upon successful submission of the above, you will receive an online acknowledgement and application number(s). For multiple designs filed within a single application, you will receive an application number for each design in the application. If you applied online via IP2SG, the application number will be provided upon successful payment.

Step 3: Formalities examination

Your application will undergo a formalities examination to ensure the following information is in order:

  1. Statement of Novelty
  2. Classification & article/ non-physical product name
  3. Representation or Image of the design is suitable for reproduction 

If formal requirements are in order:  If these requirements are not complied with:
Your application will proceed to the Registration and Issuance of certificate stage You will be notified by the Registrar to provide what is lacking, or amend the application if necessary, within 3 months from the date of notification. Failure to do so will result in your application being treated as withdrawn.

Step 4: Registration and issuance of certificate

Once your design is registered, a Certificate of Registration is issued and your design will be protected for 5 years from the date of filing of the application.

After the initial 5-year protection, you may choose to PDF icon extend the protection for the design for an additional 5 years. The maximum term of a design is 15 years.

Step 5: Publication

Once registered, the full details of your design are published in the Designs Journal and the register at IP2SG. Once published, the designs are available for public inspection. If you have requested to defer the publication of the design, it will not be published until the end of 18 months from the date of filing of the application.

Protection for designs is territorial in nature. You will need to file individually in each country you wish to obtain design protection in.

You may do so by

  1. Filing individual applications with the IP offices of each countries
    • Law and procedures varies in each country
    • Filing fees varies in each country
    • Translation required if IP office does not use English as their official language
  2. Filing an international application under the Hague System
    • Only one application required
    • Only one filing fee required
    • Filing can be done in one language

To be eligible for filing an international application under the Hague system directly with IPOS, each applicant must satisfy at least one of the following entitlement criteria:-

The Hague System is an international registration system that is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Switzerland.

Singapore is a Hague Union member and can therefore participate in the international registration system facilitated by the Hague System, which has a total of 73 contracting parties covering 90 countries.

Benefits of the Hague System

You can use the Hague System to file a single international application instead of having to file individually to each countries’ IP office.

This means that you can enjoy the convenience of filing design protection in several countries simultaneously through one application with the International Bureau of WIPO, in one language, and by paying one set of fees in one currency (Swiss francs).

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