The following article provides updates on accelerated examination options in Singapore.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has recently announced that it will extend the SG IP FAST programme (previously named "SG Patent Fast Track programme") for two years from 30 April 2022 to 30 April 2024, and will end the 12 Months File-To-Grant Programme. The rationale to end the 12 Months File-To-Grant Programme is to enable more enterprises to receive their patent grants with SG IP FAST.
The SG IP Fast programme offers applicants a much earlier opinion on the patentability of the invention. Requests for the acceleration of applications under this programme will be complimentary until further notice.
Under the SG IP FAST programme, the timelines for the different types of IP will be as follows:
- Straightforward patent applications: as fast as six months.
- Non-straightforward patent applications: as fast as nine months.
- Straightforward trade mark applications: as fast as three months.
- Non-straightforward trade mark applications: as fast as six months.
- Registered design applications: as fast as one month.
Straightforward trade mark applications are those that do not encounter substantive objection(s) or contain only minor issues. IPOS did not issue a definition of a straightforward patent application. Whether a patent application is considered a straightforward application or not is only decided by the patent office. Based on past experience, it can be expected that a straightforward patent application as defined by IPOS is a patent application comprising only minor formality issues and at least one claim which can be considered patentable.
With effect from 30 April 2022, IPOS has revised the following requirements:
- The annual cap has been doubled to 120 patent applications, wherein the monthly cap for patent applications will be increased to 10 requests, with a cap of two requests per entity (individual or corporate).
- The period to file a request for acceleration of the trade mark and/or registered design application will be extended to 12 months from the date on which the applicant is notified of the successful request for patent acceleration.
To qualify for the SG IP FAST programme, the following conditions must be met for patent, trade mark and registered design applications.
- The request is within the cap on the number of requests per month as described above;
- Application must be first-filed in Singapore, i.e. no priority claim and must contain 20 or fewer claims;
- Request for search and examination has to be filed on the filing date of the application, and be accompanied with a document identifying the reasons for acceleration and the technology field to which the invention relates;
- Response to a formalities examination adverse report must be filed within two weeks;
- Response to a written opinion must be filed within two months;
- No extension of time can be filed for any matter during the patent application process.
- The trade mark application must be filed within 12 months of the applicant being notified that a patent application has been placed on SG IP FAST;
- The application is not for a series mark, a non-conventional mark (e.g. 3D shape mark or for a certification or collective mark;
- Objections raised in the first office action are resolved in the first submission within one month of the office action;
- Response to a second office action must be filed within two weeks of the date of the office action;
- No extension of time can be filed for any matter during the trade mark application.
- The registered design application must be filed within 12 months of the applicant being notified that a patent application has been placed on SG IP FAST;
- Objections raised in the first office action are resolved in the first submission within two weeks of the office action;
- No extension of time can be filed for any matter during the design application.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.