The Committee on the Future Economy recently identified innovation as a key driver in Singapore’s economy. To this end, intellectual property plays an important role as a strategic tool to promote and protect innovation in order to incentivise businesses to commercialise on a global stage. In this regard, the role of Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is evolving to a multi-faceted innovation centric entity, as adeptly summarized by the Chief Executive of IPOS, Mr Daren Tang in a recent commentary:

To contribute to this important effort of helping our future economy, IPOS will also have to evolve beyond being a registry and regulator to becoming an innovation agency.

Pursuant to the evolution of IPOS, IPOS has recently launched the following initiatives:

  1. Patents Open Dossier; and
  2. Patents Formalities Manual.

Patents Open Dossier

Patents Open Dossier (POD) is a new addition to IPOS' e-service portal (IP2SG), which aims to provide the public with access to a database of published patent documents. Access to these documents will be available 14 days after a document has been filed at the Registry in relation to all patents/applications lodged on or after 14 February, 2014.

This initiative provides the public easy access to patent information which will reduce the inconvenience and cost associated with retrieval of such information. Additionally, work sharing amongst other IP offices will be facilitated by POD which will enable higher productivity. Furthermore, the ready availability of such information also aid third parties in formulating their respective IP strategies.

POD provides access to the following documents:

1. Search Report, Examination Report, Search and Examination Report

2. Written Opinion

3. Written Submission in response to Written Opinion

4. Examination Review Report

5. Amendment and Correction of Specification

6. Amendment and Correction of Abstract

7. Patents Forms and Common Forms, and related notifications (Except Request for File Inspection and Request for Certified Copy and their related correspondence)

A list of documents that will not be shared via POD includes the following:

1. Cover Letter

2. Supporting Documents and Statements

3. Statutory Declarations or Affidavit

Patents Formalities Manual

The Patents Formalities Manual (“the Manual”) provides a set of guidelines detailing the Registry’s practices and requirements, conveniently cross-referenced with relevant provisions in the Singapore Patents Act and Rules. The Manual, which was prepared with substantial input provided from various stakeholders (for example, applicants and practitioners), aims to address/highlight issues encountered during a patent application process.

Our View

These initiatives clearly demonstrate IPOS’ commitment to improving the Singapore patent landscape by providing improved access to patent information and improved visibility of their internal practices.

These initiatives are indicative of IPOS’ progress in catching up with the five largest intellectual property offices in the world, the IP5. IPOS’ commitment to continually improve and modernize its systems is evident.