The principal statute governing patents in Singapore is the Patents Act. The Patents (Amendment) Act 2012 (the “Amendment Act”), which was passed on 10 July 2012, amended the Patents Act on 14 February 2014 (the “Commencement Date”) for the purpose of shifting Singapore’s patent system from a “self-assessment” patent system to a “positive grant” patent system.

In the previous self-assessment patent system, a patent could be granted even if the patent did not fully satisfy the criteria of being novel, inventive and industrially applicable. In the new positive grant patent system, only patent applications that fully meet all the patentability requirements can proceed to grant.

Application of Amendment Act

The changes made under the positive grant patent system will apply to:

  • Applications filed on or after the Commencement Date (including applications claiming priority under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property at an earlier date);
  • Divisional applications filed on or after the Commencement Date (even if the date of filing of the parent application is before the Commencement Date); and
  • Patent Co-operation Treaty (“PCT”) Singapore national phase applications that have a date of entry in Singapore on or after the Commencement Date (even if the international filing date is before the Commencement Date).


The shift to a positive grant system will align Singapore’s patent regime with those of major established patent offices, and strengthen business and investor confidence in our patent system. It is believed that these measures will further augment Singapore’s status and position in its efforts to be a global IP hub in Asia.