The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has released its draft amendments to the Singapore Patents Rules. IPOS intends to implement these amendments within the year.

The move from the self-assessment system to the positive grant system

Presently, a Singapore patent can be granted on the basis of a positive or negative examination report. Following the amendments, only patent applications with positive examination results can proceed to grant. The draft Rules include:

  1. a new provision wherein an applicant may still rely on the final results of any search and examination as to the substance of one corresponding application, corresponding international application or related national phase application, or where the application is a national phase application, the final results of any search and examination as to the substance during its international phase, by filing a request for a supplementary examination report based on the above results; and
  2. a new provision pertaining to a review process of examination reports, search and examination reports and supplementary examination reports.

Furthermore, some prosecution deadlines and the extension of time limits will also be changed as follows:

  • The prescribed period to file a request for supplementary examination report is 54 months from the earliest priority date or filing date.
  • The prescribed period to file a request for combined search and examination or request for examination based on the foreign search result will be changed from 21 to 36 months from the priority date or filing date.
  • The period for responding to a Written Opinion will be changed from 5 to 3 months from the date of Registrar’s letter.
  • The prescribed period to file a request for Examination Review will be 2 months after the date of Registrar’s letter forwarding notice of intention to refuse.
  • The number of months of extension of time as of right will be increased from 3 to either 6 or 18 months
  • The rules pertaining to filing of block extension have been deleted.

The proposed amendments shall be applicable to patent applications (as well as divisional applications) and other non-contentious proceedings filed after implementation. As far as contentious proceedings are concerned, however, the proposed amendments will be applicable to all actions regardless of whether they were initiated prior to the effective date of the amendments.