The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has recently announced that it will lower its fees for trade mark applications and patent search and examination application with effect from 1 April 2017.

However and although there will be a decrease in the application fees, there will be an increase in the official fees in respect of the renewal and maintenance of granted patents and registered trade marks. This will also take effect from 1 April 2017. The reason provided for this increase, is that it will serve as a means of discouraging the "hoarding" of registered IP rights.

Nevertheless and although the relevant official fees will rise, proprietors of granted patents who have registered to licence their granted patents as of right will still enjoy a 50% discount off the official fees for renewals.

Be that as it may, we would strongly advice any prospective and intended renewals to proceed now rather than later, and such instructions should certainly be carried out before 1 April 2017 where possible.

Further details on the impending fee changes are set out below.

TRADE MARK APPLICATION FEES

The Singaporean Registry will reduce its fees for filing marks it the applicant uses its "pre-approved" list of items of goods and services.

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TRADE MARK RENEWAL FEES

Although there are fee reductions for patent search and examination fees and trade mark filing fees after 1 April 2017, the Registry will increase the official fees for the renewal and maintenance of granted patents and registered trade marks. As for the changes to the official fees for trade marks, please see below.

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PATENT EXAMINATION FEES

Fee reduction in this respect will commence on 1 April 2017 for each request for a search and examination report, and will also apply to a request for either a search report or a supplementary search report. There will also be a further discount on the official fees payable to request for a search and examination report in situations where a report under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) has already been established by IPOS acting either as the International Searching Authority (ISA) or the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), for patent applications entering national phase into Singapore.

As for the impending changes to the official fees for patents, please see below.

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INCREASE IN EXCESS CLAIM FEES

Currently, excess claim fees of SGD20 per claim in excess of 25 claims are charged at the time of payment of the grant fee. From 1 April 2017, the excess claim fee will increase to SGD40 per claim in excess of 20 claims payable during the examination stage. In addition, if at the grant stage there are extra claims added for which excess fees were not paid, the same charge will be levied on these extra claims at this stage. There will however be no refund if the number of claims is reduced at the grant stage.

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PATENT RENEWAL FEES

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PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL FEES & RENEWAL FEES FOR RESTORATION OF PATENT

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PAYMENT OF RENEWAL FEE AFTER ENTRY IS MADE IN REGISTER TO EFFECT THAT LICENCES UNDER PATENT ARE TO BE AVAILABLE AS OF RIGHT

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Business innovators and brand owners will thus enjoy these cost savings through the lowered application fees, and these are in line with IPOS' ongoing efforts to make IP protection more affordable for them.