The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced some important changes to its fees structures. These modifications will become effective on April 1st.

Fees applicable to patent and trademark applications will be dramatically reduced. The price for a patent search and examination will fall by 25% to reach an expected cost of S$1,950, and even by 27% for a price of S$1,650 for examination reports requested under the Patents Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Likewise, filing trademark applications in Singapore will become 30% cheaper than it previously was, to a predicted cost of S$240 per class.

As explained by Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, the modifications brought to the Office’s fee structure aims to favor the creation and registration of Intellectual Property rights, in a time where Singapore’s innovation scene is said to become “more vibrant” thanks to the proliferation of startups and innovative enterprises. If lowering the application fees aims to encourage production and protection of intellectual property, the new official fee schedule also intends to prevent IP squatting and the continuous existence of unused or unnecessary IP by substantially increasing IP renewal fees. The desire to see the IP rights either used by the owner or released has led to patent renewal fees to be increased by 37%, and those for trademark renewals by a whopping 50%. However this impressive hike is not meant to be punitive, but only inductive of productive use of the intellectual property. As such, heavy discounts will still be applied to patent renewals where the patent in question is being licensed by the owner.

Patent and brand owners may have to adapt their IP strategy in Singapore when taking into account that managing and maintaining their portfolio is set to become much more onerous, despite the fact that the Singaporean fees remain substantially lower than those in other popular IP jurisdictions such as Korea, Japan, China or the US.