A guide to the patent process in Singapore
There are a number of ways to commence the patenting process in Singapore.
- A Singaporean provisional application is filed with IPOS and is an optional step before filing a complete application. A provisional application refers to an application filed with a specification without any claims.
- A Singaporean complete application is filed with IPOS and is required for the grant of a patent.
- An international (PCT) application can be filed in Singapore, which provides temporary protection for your invention in more than 145 countries world wide.
- Entry into the national phase is the process of converting an international (PCT) application into a Singaporean complete application, which is necessary in order to secure grant of a patent in Singapore if a PCT application has been filed.
Priority and filing dates
During the application process, two dates are of particular importance;
- The priority date is the date from which the newness and inventiveness of your application will be considered. During the examination process, your application will be compared to information that was publicly available earlier than the priority date.
- The filing date on which a complete application is lodged is the date from which the term of protection is calculated. Once the patent is granted, you will have the exclusive right to use your invention from the filing date.
Singaporean provisional applications
How can we help?
Davies Collison Cave patent attorneys are skilled in drafting provisional and complete applications for filing at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore or, depending on your requires, at the United States Patent and Trade mark office. More information here on Patent Drafting, Filing & Prosecution.
Filing a provisional application with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore is an optional first step in the patenting process.
Provisional applications establish the priority date of your invention, while giving you an additional 12 months to continue the patenting process by:
- Filing a complete application in Singapore;
- Filing applications for patent protection in other countries.
The provisional application is a legal and technical document that describes your invention. The provisional application will not be published until after a complete application is filed. This means the details of your invention will not be available to the public for some time.
Singapore complete applications
You must file a complete application to be granted a patent in Singapore. The complete application can either start the patenting process, or it can follow within 12 months of a provisional application or a patent application in another Paris Convention country.
Content and publication of your complete application
Complete applications include the patent specification that describes your invention, and the patent claims that define the extent of exclusive rights that you are seeking. The date the application is filed ('the filing date') is the date from which the term of protection is calculated.
The patent specification is published in the Patents Journal approximately 18 months from the earliest claimed priority date, after which the details of the invention described in the application will be publicly available.
Applications under the Paris Convention
The Paris Convention is an international agreement that allows patent applicants from member countries to use the filing date from their first application as the effective filing date in Singapore as well.
In order to take advantage of the Paris Convention, a Singapore complete application or a PCT application must be filed within 12 months of the date of filing the foreign original application.
International applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Which countries are covered?
More than 145 countries are signatories to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, European Union States, the USA, Canada, China and Japan:
- The current list of PCT countries from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (PDF)
- WIPO's FAQs about the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PDF)
Although there are no 'global patents', there is an international application procedure under the Patent Cooperation Treaty which:
- simplifies the process of filing applications in multiple countries;
- can delay the costs of filing in PCT countries;
- provides more time to assess the commercial viability of an invention before complete applications are filed in each country.
An international PCT patent application made in Singapore can provide simultaneous protection in more than 145 countries worldwide. When an international application is filed, the right to obtain patent protection in most countries is preserved for a period of 30 or 31 months from the priority date.
Entry into the national phase of an international application
If you have filed an international application overseas and wish to secure patent protection in Singapore, you must continue the patent application process locally.
This step, known as 'entering the national phase' must occur within 30 months from the earliest priority date. National phase entry in Singapore involves appointing an agent to represent you in Singapore, payment of an official fee and filing a verified translation of the application into English, if the international application is in a language other than English.