The Search and Examination (S&E) Unit of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) was inaugurated on 28 May 2013. The S&E team was established to support the positive grant patent system introduced by Singapore Patents (Amendment) 2012, and to further Singapore's aspiration to be an IP Hub.
The S&E Unit, currently comprises 18 patent examiners who are mostly PhD holders. IPOS has recruited another approximately 30 examiners, who will join IPOS in September 2013, bringing the total number of examiners in the S&E Unit to about 50. Most of the examiners are specialised in biotechnology, pharmaceutics, chemistry, nano-materials, semiconductors and info-communications technology.
As the S&E Unit aims to determine the extent to which an invention is patentable within 12 months, the applicants of Singapore patent applications will receive search and examination results faster and will be able to obtain a grant of patent between 2 to 3 years instead of the current 5 years.
The newly formed Singapore S&E Unit, together with the PPH programs with US, Japan, South Korea and China and the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation together enable Singapore patent applications to proceed to grant faster, and helps to promote Singapore as an IP Hub.