Apply for a Patent

Before applying for a patent, please ensure that your invention is eligible for registration.

Is your invention patentable?

For an invention to be patentable, it must, in general, satisfy three key criteria:

  1. New – The invention should not be publicly known in any way, anywhere in the world. Owners of inventions should be careful to keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be compromised.
  2. Inventive step – The invention must be an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available. The improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the field of the invention.
  3. Industrial application – The invention must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.

A method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body is not patentable.

An invention that is generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour will not be published or patentable.

Did you disclose your invention to anyone?

Disclosing your invention may compromise the novelty and affect your patent application.

If your invention needs to be disclosed to a third party before a patent application has been made, it is a good idea to draw up a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Disclosure to the invention can be made after a date of filing has been obtained for the application.

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

Before you apply for a patent, it is a good idea to run a search on existing patents to see if your invention already exists. You can also avoid scenarios where there might be possible infringement of other patents filed or granted.

You may tap on online databases such as IP2SG to search or engage professional services.

Are you entitled to register for the patent?

You are entitled to register the patent if you are any of the following:

  1. you are an employer and the invention was made by your employee in his normal course of duties;
  2. if you are a person who has entered into an agreement with the inventor before the making the invention, such that you are entitled to the invention; or
  3. the inventor.

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

When should you apply for a patent?

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

Singapore also allows priority claims to be made in a patent application. This means that if you have filed a patent application in a Paris Convention country or a World Trade Organization member country, and wish to subsequently file the same application in Singapore, you may claim foreign application as priority in the Singapore patent application, within 12 months.

Have you decided what countries you intend to file for protection?

The scope of patent protection, and the cost of protection, varies from country to country. Generally, protection should be sought in the countries which are your key markets.

Do you have a technical and accurate description of the patent?

For your invention to be granted a patent protection that is effective, it is important that your patent applications are technically and legally accurate. This will save you time, money and increase your chance for a favourable patent application.

You can consider engaging the services of a registered patent agent to assist with the submission of your patent application. Alternatively, you can refer to the PDF icon information sheet on requirements for filing patent applications with IPOS.

Are your claims ready?

If your claims are not fully ready, you may apply for a Provisional Application to secure an early filing date for your invention.  However, as claims are essential in defining the scope of protection sought, it should be furnished within 12 months* to complete the patent application. Failure to do so would result in the patent application being treated as having been abandoned.

Have you obtained a written authorisation from IPOS?

If you are residing in Singapore and plan to apply for a patent outside of Singapore first, you need to obtain a written authorisation from IPOS for national security clearance before doing so. Failure to do so would result in you being liable to a fine and/or imprisonment.

There are two routes of applying for a patent in Singapore – directly with IPOS via domestic route, or through PCT National Phase Entry route.

Patent protection is territorial in nature. This means that if you wish to protect your patent in another country outside of Singapore, you must also file for patent registration in that country.

To obtain patent protection overseas, you can either:

  1. File individual applications in the countries concerned; or
  2. Use the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), which facilitates the filing of International Applications.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a Singapore resident, you are required to obtain written authorisation from IPOS before filing an application for a patent outside of Singapore. This is called a National Security Clearance.

Registry of Patents Quality Policy

We strive to work effectively with all interested parties to provide quality products and services to the satisfaction of our customers and meet the applicable requirements. We are committed to continually improve our systems and processes for enhancing the validity, reliability and timeliness of our products and services.

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, Registry of Patents has been ISO certified for the management of national patent search and examination process, and payment.

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