The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has recently clarified how articles should be classified for design applications. Amendments to the Registered Designs (International Registration) Rules (RD (IR) Rules) would also be of interest to applicants designating Singapore. The main points are summarised below.

Classification of Articles

An applicant seeking design registration must classify the articles or non-physical products to which their design is applied. To facilitate the identification of appropriate classes and sub-classes, IPOS has issued a practice direction on classification.

This classification comes into effect from 1 October 2019, replacing an earlier version from 30 October 2017, which had been released in connection with significant changes to the Registered Designs Act at the time.

Amongst other changes, the new classification adds further sub-classes for articles and non-physical products with telecommunication or data processing functions, including recording and data storage media and holders, stands and supports for electronic equipment. This coheres with an increase in design applications for articles in this area, especially after IPOS’ affirmations on the registrability of both static and dynamic graphical user interfaces.

International registrations designating Singapore must also comply with the new classification set out in this practice direction.

Protection for International Registrations (IR) designating Singapore

The RD (IR) Rules have also been amended to clarify how applicants may address refusals of protection, and the relevant start dates for protection. These amendments came into effect as of 13 September 2019.

Firstly, the amended RD (IR) Rules provide that holders of IRs designating Singapore that seek to address a refusal by amending the particulars of the IR should notify the Registrar through written representations. An address for service in Singapore must also be provided when filing such representations.

Secondly, the amended RD (IR) Rules specify when protection for an international registration commences. If the holder successfully addresses a refusal of protection by amending the particulars of the registration, the design will be protected in Singapore from the date of the Registrar’s notification to withdraw the refusal. However, in all other cases, the design would be protected from the filing date of the international application.

These updates are a useful source of guidance and improve the accessibility of Singapore’s registered designs system.