Based on a circular released by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) on 6 October 2017, there will be upcoming changes to the examination guidelines in Singapore.

Notably, the circular states that examination guidelines will be amended to better discern discoveries from inventions. Further details will be available once the amended guidelines are published on 30 October 2017. However, it seems that the impending changes will now exclude pre-existing materials or micro-organisms from patentability regardless of whether these are claimed in an isolated or purified form. These changes appear to align Singapore practice closer with United States and Australian practice with respect to the patentability of isolated nucleic acids.

Other notable changes include the broadening of the grace period provision for disregarding public disclosures of the invention made prior to the filing of the patent application and greater flexibility for applicants intending to switch between substantive and supplementary examination routes.

These are ongoing developments and we will provide more information as soon as it is available.