Proposed Changes to Singapore Patent Regime and Their Implications to European SMEs

patent-without backgroundToday’s blog post is taking a closer look at the proposed changes to  Singapore Patent Regime and explains their implications to European SMEs wishing to patent their inventions in Singapore.

Singapore is currently in the process of amending its patent regime as the government has submitted the proposed amendments for public consultation due to end on 15 August 2017.  Major amendments concern the examination guidelines on isolated products from nature; third party observations; patent re-examination option; the examination guidelines on the new patents grace period and amendments to Patents Rules concerning patentable subject matter and supplementary examination. The aim of these proposed amendments is improving Singapore’s patent regime and further increasing the confidence of stakeholders and investors in Singapore’s patent regime[1].

Patent examination guidelines on isolated products from nature

In order to have a more balanced patent regime, the Singapore Government is proposing to clarify the distinction between ‘inventions’ and ‘discoveries’ as applied to the issue of isolated products found in nature. According to the new proposal isolated or purified materials or microorganisms that can be found in nature would represent a discovery and would not be an invention – thus these materials or microorganisms would not be eligible for patent. At the same time, if a new use of the isolated or purified material or microorganism is found, then the new use can be claimed and it can also be patented.  Furthermore, the new proposal states that “in the case of an isolated material or microorganism which has been modified such that the modified material or microorganism can be clearly distinguished from the isolated or purified naturally occurring material or microorganisms, then not only can the modified material or microorganism be claimed but also any new use of the modified material or microorganism”.[2] In this case both the new material and new use can be patented. Continue reading “Proposed Changes to Singapore Patent Regime and Their Implications to European SMEs” »

Upcoming Reform: Registered Designs Regime in Singapore

shutterstock_385731427Singapore has recently finalized the review of registered designs and is ready to implement the amendments to the Registered Designs Act. These amendments are meant to bring Singapore’s design rights in line with the changing environment and improve the country’s design industry. Our external IP experts Mr. Max Ng and Ms. You Na Lee from the Gateway Law Corporation have kindly drafted for us today’s blog post, where they discuss these amendments and their implications to the European SMEs. 

Introduction

In light of the recent technological advances and evolving business practices in the designs industry, the Ministry of Law (the “MinLaw”) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (the “IPOS”) commenced their review of the registered designs regime in Singapore in 2014, conducting 2 rounds of public consultations, and numerous focus group talks and one-to-one consultations with design associations, business, IP practitioners and academics. They have completed their joint review and released a “Final Report on the Review of Singapore’s Registered Designs Regime”, which sets out their recommendations to amend the Registered Designs Act (the “RDA”) to keep abreast of the changes in the industry.

Aims

The proposed reform is to complement the “Design 2025 Masterplan” released by DesignSingapore Council in March 2016, which sets out the government initiatives and policy framework to develop Singapore into a creativity- and innovation-driven economy and ecosystem by supporting capitalisation of the intellectual property in Singapore. Design is identified as one of the key pillars and catalysts to propel such a paradigm shift.

In the meantime, it seeks to protect interests of the users and the public, support business certainty and remain in line with international best practices, especially with other major markets. The MinLaw and IPOS have therefore taken into account different interests of all stakeholders and decided to implement some changes to the current designs regime to provide for sustainability and growth of the designs industry in Singapore. Continue reading “Upcoming Reform: Registered Designs Regime in Singapore” »

Proposed Revisions to the Chinese Patent Law (December 2015)

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PatentToday’s blog post has been kindly brought to you by our IPR expert Mr. Toby Mak from Tee & Howe Intellectual Property Attorneys. In his article, which was first published in UK Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) Journal,  Mr. Mak gives a detailed overview of the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office’s final draft of the proposed revisions to the Chinese Patent Law. 

In December 2015, the Chinese SIPO published their final draft of the proposed revisions (the proposal) to the Chinese Patent Law (the Law) to seek public opinion. Compare to the draft in April 2015 (please see my report in the May issue of the CIPA Journal), there are a lot of significant changes in this proposal, while many changes proposed in April 2015 were retained. This article reports these proposed revisions in the final draft, together with my comments.

As this article closely relates to mine published in May 2015 issue of the CIPA Journal, I will continue to use the same number scheme for various topics so that the two articles could be referred to each other.

To start with, let us have a look at the changes that have been retained and remain unchanged: Continue reading “Proposed Revisions to the Chinese Patent Law (December 2015)” »

South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Patents in Singapore

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PatentsToday we’re continuing with our South-East Asia IPR Series with another core area of Singaporean IP law, the law of patents. Patents are essential, especially to those operating in the mechanical or electrical engineering sector, or manufacturing goods anywhere in the world.

A solid patent portfolio can prevent the copying and manufacturing of products by competitors and allows SMEs to exploit their inventions free from competition.

In addition, monitoring competitors patent portfolios and applications can provide useful information on their business strategy and product direction, thus enabling SMEs to react in advance of product releases to better handle threats to their market position presented by products utilising these new features or processes.

Singapore has recently been named ASEANs first International Patent Search and Examination Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and has the most developed legislation and procedures in the region.

So read on, and if you have any queries, feel free to contact our experts at the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk for free, tailored advice.

Continue reading “South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Patents in Singapore” »