The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore will be implementing a new practice of examiner-initiated informal communications. This new practice will be effective from 15 September 2017 and would be applicable to all Singapore patent applications.

Under the new practice, examiners may informally communicate with patent applicants by, for example, email, telephone and/or face-to-face interviews. This new practice adds to the current practice in which communications between examiners and applicants are carried out formally through written opinions and responses thereto.

Such informal communications would be useful to provide clarification on a claimed invention, for example, where the invention relates to an emerging technology and/or where there is minor clarity issues related to the grant of the patent. It is also believed that this may assist to expedite the examination process.

Like with formal written opinion responses, all examiner-initiated communications would form part of the official records of a patent application and these will be made available for formal file inspections. However, such informal communications will not yet be available on the Patents Open Dossier.

It is believed that the new practice of examiner-initiated informal communications would assist to improve the efficiency as well as to reduce the prosecution cost for patent applications.