Facts of closure – dates
All Singapore patent applications filed after 31 December, 2019 will be subject to substantive examination. Reliance on Supplementary Examination based on allowed corresponding foreign patent applications will no longer be possible.
Patent applicants have for a long time enjoyed the low cost and speed associated with electing Supplementary Examination for Singapore patent applications. This option enables grant of a Singapore patent based on positive examination results of a corresponding international application or a corresponding foreign application.
As previously reported, as a result of some recent changes to the Patents Act, all Singapore patent applications filed after 31 December, 2019 will be subject to Substantive Examination. The Supplementary Examination path is being closed. This will likely increase the cost involved with prosecuting patent applications in Singapore.
What you should do
To take advantage of the current system, it will be necessary to have filed by 31 December, 2019:(i) a Singapore Convention patent application;
(ii) an International Patent Application (that later enters national phase in Singapore); or
(iii) divisional patent applications for any current Singapore patent applications where it is anticipated that a divisional patent application will be required.
Early filing of an International Patent Application to take advantage of the current system may be out of step with your IP plan. However, filing a Convention application may be a good alternative that still allows you to reduce the overall costs of obtaining patent protection in Singapore.
What is the Supplementary Examination Process?
The Supplementary Examination process allows patent applicants in Singapore to rely on positive Examination results of a corresponding international application or a corresponding foreign application when seeking grant of a Singapore patent. A request for Supplementary Examination must be filed before 54 months from the earliest priority date (as opposed to filing a request for Substantive Examination before 36 months from the earliest priority date). No official fees are payable.
Advantages of Supplementary Examination
- No official fee is payable.
- Examination is typically quick because the Examiner is relying on positive Examination results.
- The claims in Singapore will be consistent with the allowed/granted claims of a foreign jurisdiction.
- The costs for applicants can be delayed to 54 months from the earliest priority date under Supplementary Examination as compared to 36 months for requesting Substantive Examination.