Patent Cooperation Treaty

The Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), administered by the International Bureau of WIPO (IB), is an international treaty to facilitate patent protection for an invention in several countries simultaneously through one application with a single office.

To be eligible for filing an international application under PCT directly with IPOS, you must be a resident or national of Singapore. In any case, possession of a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment is considered residence in that State. For more information, please refer to Guidelines for the Determination of a Real and Effective Industrial or Commercial Establishment

You may electronically file an international application using ePCT , which is an electronic filing service implemented by WIPO.

For more information on how to register and get started on ePCT, please refer to WIPO's FAQs, Getting Started Page and User Guide.

For more information on PCT fees and options for International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authorities, please click here.

Note: IPOS accepts Chinese as a language for PCT international applications. A final search report can also be issued in Chinese if you select IPOS as an International Searching and Preliminary Examination Authority.



Summary of the international application procedure

International Phase

  • Applicant files International Application under PCT with IPOS
  • International Filing Date is accorded to the International Application
  • International Search Report (ISR) & an International Preliminary Report on Patentability Chapter I (IPRP (I)) issued

Publication

  • At the 18th month, the International Application is published with the ISR
  • Applicant files a demand with a competent International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) - optional
  • International Preliminary Report on Patentability Chapter II (IPRP (II)) issued

National Phase

  • At the 30th month, Applicant enters National Phase, e.g. in Singapore
  • For information on entry into National Phase, please click here.

 

Depending on the complexity of the invention, it may take about 2 to 4 years for a patent application to be granted.

You may apply for a patent in Singapore under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). The application process is similar to filing a patent in Singapore.

Please click here for the detailed flowchart.

Step 1: Request for entry into National Phase stage

Your application must be filed within 30 months* and should include:

  1. Application form
  2. Application fee: S$200/-
  3. Singapore has been designated in the PCT International Application

If the PCT International Application was not filed in English, a translation of the international application into English and a verification of the translation must be enclosed.

If the necessary information is absent, the Registrar will notify you, who shall have 2 months from the date of the notification to provide what is lacking. Your application will be treated as withdrawn if you are unable to submit the necessary in time. Otherwise, a Date of Filing will be accorded.

* From the declared priority date or where there is no declared priority date, from the date of filing of the PCT international application.


Step 2: Search and examination

At this stage, patent examiners will search for similar earlier inventions in the same field as your patent application. Such similar earlier inventions are known as “prior art”.

Next, they will examine and compare the prior art to your patent application and determine if the prior art destroys the novelty of your patent application. The patent examiner will also determine if the other patentability criteria (such as inventive step and industrial application) are met.

You can choose either of the 4 search and examination routes, depending on the availability of a foreign search and/or examination results and cost.

Which route should I take?

Option 1

Option 2*

Option 3*

Option 4

Timeframe

Search within 13 months + Examination within 36 months

Combined Search and examination within 36 months

Examination within 36 months

Supplementary examination within 54 months

Fees^

Search
(S$ 1,650) + Examination (S$1,350)

Combined Search and Examination
(S$ 1,950)

Examination (S$1,350)

Supplementary Examination (no fee)

Advantages

  • Opportunity to decide whether to proceed with examination depending on the search results
  • Enjoy time and cost savings as compared to Option 1

 

  • Less expensive if a foreign search result is available
  • Allows reliance on foreign search and examination results

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than Option 2 if proceeding with examination

 

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  • There may be other prior arts that have not been uncovered in earlier search
  • Granted patent may be vulnerable to revocation if the foreign search and examination is not in accordance with Singapore requirements.

* If you have a foreign search and examination results from partnering offices, you can make use of working-sharing arrangements such as Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) Programme to obtain a patent in Singapore faster and more efficiently.

 ^ Fee discount and excess claim fees may apply for the different options. Click here  to find out more.

After the search and examination process, an examination report or a supplementary examination report will be issued to you. The examination report will detail the patent examiners’ opinion on the registrability of your patent application.

If there are no unresolved objections:

You will be issued a Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant.

If there are one or more unresolved objections:

You are required to respond within 5 months (for examination) or 3 months (for supplementary examination). A response to the written opinion can be:

  • Written submissions on the patent examiner's opinion;
  • An amendment of the patent specification; or
  • Both of the above

Subsequent written opinion (except for supplementary examination) may be issued until all outstanding issues surrounding the patent application is resolved.

If the outstanding issues cannot be resolved within 18 months from the date of the first written opinion, you will receive a Notice of Intention to Refuse from the Registry of Patents.

What should I do if I have received a Notice of Intention to Refuse?

If you are still interested in proceeding with the patent application, request for an Examination Review within 2 months from the date of the Notice of Intention to Refuse. If applicable, you may, at the same time, amend the specification of the patent application to overcome the unresolved objection(s).

If you fail to request for an Examination Review, the patent application will be refused, and you will be notified.

 

Step 3: Grant

You must file a a request for the issuance of the Certificate of Grant within 2 months after the issuance of the Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant.

If you have made any amendments or corrections to the original specification, you need to submit a set of consolidated specification together with the request for the issuance of the Certificate of Grant .

Once the request is filed and the conditions for grant are satisfied, the Registrar will issue the Certificate of Grant.

If you fail to file the request, the patent application shall be treated as abandoned and the Registrar will notify you accordingly by letter.