The Singapore Patents Act has been amended by the Patents (Amendment) Act 2012. The amendments are expected to come into force on 14 February 2014.

Major features of the amended Patents Act include:

  • removal of the “slow track” option and block extensions of time, replaced by a single timeline for patent prosecution

  • replacement of the 21/39 month deadline with a single deadline for requesting examination which is 36 months from the earliest priority date 

  • a “positive grant” system (patents will no longer grant in the face of an examination report with outstanding objections - i.e., the “self-assessment” system will be abolished)

  • previous options for search and examination remain (e.g., local search and examination or local examination based on a search report of a corresponding foreign application)

  • modified examination”, i.e., relying on the prosecution to grant of a corresponding foreign application, is still available (but not recommended generally)

  • a new supplementary examination process, mandatory where modified examination is used, to ensure compliance with the new positive grant requirements

  • a “last chance” review process will provide a single opportunity for applicants to respond to negative examination reports and supplementary examination reports

  • divisional applications will have their deadlines calculated from the actual date the divisional is lodged, rather than their claimed priority dates (unchanged)

  • patent applications will be searched and examined by local examiners based in Singapore (currently, search and examination is outsourced to a number of patent offices in Europe)

We’ll write more on the changes in this blog in the coming weeks, but please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions in the meantime.

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