Patent Process in Singapore

Patent Attorney in Asia

Technology-driven companies in Asia protect their innovations by filing patents in Singapore. Among innovative countries within Asia, South Korea, China, Singapore, and Indonesia are leading from the front. The government bodies within Asia, like Singapore’s GovTech Agency, are constantly working towards innovative products and services that are capable of obtaining patent protection. As an example, Parking.sg mobile app lets users pay, extend and refund parking sessions with their phones, has rapidly replaced paper parking coupons across the city-state of Singapore.

Patent attorneys assist clients in drafting of patent applications that are filed internationally via the Patent Cooperation Treaty mechanism. There are various advantages associated with PCT patent filing, wherein the patent applicants are able to postpone the major costs associated with international patent filings by almost 24 months. Additionally, the PCT patent procedure allows the applicants to develop a strong patent strategy for worldwide patent protection across various countries.

A patent gives an individual a right to stop others from making, using, or selling the patent invention. So even an individual to get a patent, he might not be able to make a product that he patented. An individual can extend his patent to the borders of the country and stop other people from bringing products they would infringe on his patent. Patents are all about innovation. A utility patent protects the way something works while a design patent protects the way something looks. Utility patents protect the functional features of an invention while the design patent protects the non-functional appearance of an invention. Plant patents are related to a kind of plant which is capable of reproduction.

A patent gives an individual a right to stop others from making, using, or selling the patent invention. So even an individual to get a patent, he might not be able to make a product that he patented. An individual can extend his patent to the borders of the country and stop other people from bringing products they would infringe on his patent. Patents are all about innovation. A utility patent protects the way something works while a design patent protects the way something looks. Utility patents protect the functional features of an invention while the design patent protects the non-functional appearance of an invention. Plant patents are related to a kind of plant which is capable of reproduction.

In the Singaporean context, a patent is a monopoly right given by the government to the owner of innovation that assists him from preventing others from using, copying, or making the invention without his consent in the country in which he has acquired patent protection. A company acquires the ownership of the invention by exchanging the full disclosure of the invention to the government. The patent is granted for 20 years and annual renewable fee payable from the end of the 4th year from the date of filing.

In the Singaporean context, a patent can be a new method of doing things, the composition of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work. A patentable invention can be a product or process that gives a new technical solution for solving a problem.

For filing a patent, the inventor should keep in mind some important criteria. The invention should not publicly be known in any way, anywhere in the world. Owners of inventions should keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised, or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be comprised. An individual should safeguard himself when he speaks to investors by requesting them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Once a Date of Filing is obtained for the patent application, the invention can claim a “Patent Pending” status, and the applicant can proceed to disclose the invention, as indicated in the patent application to interested parties. As part of the application process, the patent application publishes after 18 months if the statutory requirements are met. Once the patent application is published, details of the invention will be made available for public inspection.

The invention must be something that represents an improvement over any existing product or process already available. The improvement must not be obvious to somebody with technical skills or knowledge in the invention’s particular field. If an invention is new yet obvious to a person skilled in the art, the invention does not fulfil the inventive step requirement. The invention must be useful and should involve some form of practical application. It should be capable of being used in some form of industry.

There are two main criteria that are not a patentable invention even if they satisfy the key criteria for patents. First an invention of any method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, or of diagnosis. Second, any invention that could encourage offensive, immoral, or anti-social behaviour.

Once an individual registers a patent, apart from using the patents to prevent others from exploiting his invention, he can employ it to raise funds for his business, license it to third parties for commercial returns.

An individual is eligible to register the patent if he is the inventor, employer in which invention made by his employee in his normal course of duties or he is the person who has entered into an agreement with the inventor before making the invention, such that he is entitled to the invention. An individual should file an application for patent protection that can be done through the domestic or international phase by using an international application.

Before filing a patent, an individual who is the inventor has the right to apply for a patent in his name but if the invention had been done at the time when he is employed in a reputed company then the right to apply for the patent belongs to his employer. 

It is not necessary that all ideas can be patented. Patents granted for inventions in two main categories. The first category is a product that may include a chemical compound, a safety helmet, and a vaccine, and the second category is a process that is a method of doing something and it may include a method of mobile payment processing and method of silicon water inspection. 

There should be conduction of a prior art search that assist to detect existing similar developments, and it indicates whether his invention fulfils the new requirements.   

An individual should weigh some factors before patenting an application in Singapore. An applicant should know that patenting an application in Singapore is very expensive because total official fees for patenting application is around S$2,100.

Singapore patent applications take a long time for nearly about 2-4 years for granting a patent. Meanwhile, the applicant has no patent rights to prevent unauthorized infringement.

Before patenting an application in Singapore, an applicant should consider market size, market direction, and the threat of competition. Patents are filed only in those countries where there is a big market size and can manufacture the patented product can be manufactured to deter competition. Also, one should keep in mind that even after the inventor has developed a patentable invention, there will be a possibility that patent applications may be rejected by the Singapore patent office for lacking an inventive step.