From 1 September 2020 to 29 April 2022, businesses seeking to obtain a bundle of rights for their portfolio of inventions, brands and designs will be able to tap on the SG IP Fast Track Programme to accelerate their applications, at no additional charge apart from the standard fees.
Under this new scheme, the accelerated timelines from file-to-grant can be as fast as:
• 6 months for patent applications;
• 3 months for (straightforward) trademark applications; and
• 1 month for registered design applications.
To qualify for acceleration, the following applications and requests must be filed:
1) File a patent application and request for acceleration
Patent applications in all technology fields which are first-filed in Singapore (i.e. no priority claim) can qualify for acceleration. In particular, applicants for technologies with social impacts, technologies with healthcare impacts, or emerging technologies with a short product lifecycle are encouraged to apply. Examples of such technologies are those relating to sustainable food production, climate change, ventilators, diagnostic kits and other digital health solutions.
Each entity is limited to a maximum of 10 requests for patent acceleration per year. IPOS will notify the applicant if the patent is successfully placed on SG IP Fast Track when the Formalities Examination Report is issued. This procedure is unchanged from the pre-existing SG Patent Fast Track scheme.
2) *NEW* Within 1 month, file related trade mark and/or design application(s) and request for acceleration
Under the expanded initiative, corresponding trade mark and design applications may be filed within 1 month of receiving notification that the original patent application has been placed on SG IP Fast Track.
A pre-condition is that the trade marks and designs must be related to the invention itself, or pertain to associated goods and services. Brands and designs which form part of the same product offering as the invention – for example, marks used in promotional or advertisement material, or designs which form part of the decorative get-up of the invention, will qualify.
There is no limit to the number of related trade mark or design applications that can be accelerated based on a single patent application. However, it is important to note that there are tight timelines and certain requirements to meet under this scheme. Applicants cannot request for any extensions of time, and all trade mark applications must be for conventional marks with specifications from the IPOS pre-approved classification database.
Overall, the SG IP Fast Track is a welcome development for businesses seeking to strengthen their IP portfolio and leverage on their intangible assets to develop new revenue streams in these uncertain times. The accelerated file-to-grant timelines will greatly benefit those in fast-moving sectors like technology and ecommerce, to exploit current trends by shortening the period from product conceptualisation to launch.
Please get in touch with us if you would like to explore ways to strengthen your IP protection via this new initiative.
*Please note that the information provided reflects our understanding based on IPOS' publicly available circulars. Whilst we have tried to provide accurate information, our advice may differ depending on the specific patents, marks and designs that you wish to protect. We will advise accordingly in each situation, and propose an overall filing strategy that is best suited to your commercial needs.
This article is produced by our Singapore office, Bird & Bird ATMD LLP, and does not constitute legal advice. It is intended to provide general information only. Please contact our lawyers if you have any specific queries.