Singapore is removing the foreign examination route: How does it affect your patent rights?
As of 1 January 2020, it will no longer be possible to rely on Singapore’s foreign examination route (Supplementary Examination). All Singapore patent applications filed from that day forward will be subject to Substantive Examination.
Supplementary Examination: The current situation
Patent applicants have for a long time enjoyed cost-effective and speedy examination by selecting Supplementary Examination for Singapore patent applications. This option enables the grant of a Singapore patent based on positive Examination results of a corresponding international application or a corresponding foreign application.
How will the change impact your patent application?
Beginning in 2020, all patent applications will be subject to the same rigorous examination standard. The intention of the change is to provide patentees with greater certainty of the validity of Singapore patents. Also the change will result in fewer Singapore patents being unwittingly granted for non-patentable subject matter on the basis that the claims are consistent with claims found allowable in a jurisdiction where such subject matter is not excluded.
What is the Supplementary Examination Process?
The Supplementary Examination process allows patent applicants in Singapore to rely on positive Examination results of a corresponding international application or a corresponding foreign application when seeking grant of a Singapore patent. A request for Supplementary Examination must be filed before 54 months from the earliest priority date (as opposed to filing a request for Substantive Examination before 36 months from the earliest priority date).
- No official fee is payable for requesting Supplementary Examination.
- Examination is very efficient because the examiner is relying on positive examination results of a related application.
- The claims in Singapore will be consistent with the allowed/granted claims of a related application in a foreign jurisdiction.
- The costs for applicants can be delayed to 54 months from the earliest priority date under Supplementary Examination as compared to 36 months for requesting Substantive Examination.
How to maintain the opportunity to request a Supplementary Examination?
File your patent application before Tuesday, 31 December 2019 to take advantage of the current provisions.
You can file the following:
- a Singapore Convention Patent Application;
- an International Patent Application (that later enters national phase in Singapore); or
- divisional applications for any current Singapore patent applications where it is anticipated that divisionals will be required.
Do you have any questions? Contact our Singapore patents team here.