On 4 May 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) launched a two-year pilot programme to accelerate the grant of patents in Singapore under the SG Patent Fast Track Programme (“PFTP”). As of 1 September 2020, the PFTP has been expanded to include the acceleration of trademark and registered design applications to support innovators in building their IP portfolio and renamed the SG IP Fast Track (“SG IP FAST”). Under SG IP FAST, a patent which is first filed in Singapore may be granted within six months of filing - a substantially shorter period than the typical time period required. SG IP FAST applies to all patent applications in all technology fields. This remains unchanged from the current PFTP.
Under SG IP FAST, applicants who have a successful request for patent acceleration can also request for acceleration of related trademark and registered design applications. The acceleration timelines for trademark and registered design applications are as follows:
1. Straightforward trademark applications (i.e. applications that do not encounter substantive objection(s) or contain only minor issues) can be registered within 3 months; non-straightforward trade mark applications can be registered within 6 months.
2. Registered design applications can be registered within 1 month.
The existing caps on acceleration of patent applications (i.e. 5 accelerated applications per month and 10 accelerated applications per year per entity) will remain. However, there is no cap on the number of trademark and registered design applications that can be accelerated.
To qualify for acceleration, the following conditions must be met:
1. The applicant must have a patent application placed on SG IP FAST.
2. The trademark and registered design applications must be filed within 1 month of the applicant being notified that a patent application has been placed on SG IP FAST.
3. The trademark and registered design applications must be related to the patent application which has been placed on SG IP FAST.
4. Further conditions for trademark applications to be placed or remain on acceleration are as follows:
a) The specification of goods and/or services in the application must be fully adopted from IPOS' pre-approved classification database.
b) The application is not for a series mark.
c) The application is not for a non-conventional mark (e.g. 3D shape mark).
d) The application is not for a certification or collective mark.
e) Objections raised by the examiner in the first Office Action (“OA”) are all resolved in the first submission within 1 month of the OA.
f) The applicant responds as directed by the Registrar in the second OA (e.g. file the requisite form to amend the specification claimed in the application) within 2 weeks.
g) The application must not encounter opposition during the publication stage.
h) The applicant cannot request for Extension of Time (“EOT”) during the course of examination.
5. Further conditions for registered design applications to be placed or remain on acceleration are as follows:
a) Deficiencies raised in the first OA are all resolved in the first submission within 2 weeks of the OA.
b) The applicant cannot request for EOT.