Updated 28 April 2014 to include general information on corresponding grace period provisions under Japanese patent law.

Under Singapore law, there is no general “grace period” provision like in for example, the United States of America.

However, there is a specific exclusion for disclosures made to “learned societies” for 12 months prior to the date of filing of the application.

Section 15(4) of our Patent Act reads (in part):

“For the purposes of this section, the disclosure of matter constituting an invention shall be disregarded in the case of a patent or an application for a patent if occurring later than the beginning of the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of filing the application for the patent and either —

(d) the disclosure was due to, or made in consequence of, the inventor describing the invention in a paper read by him or another person with his consent or on his behalf before any learned society or published with his consent in the transactions of any learned society.

(5) In subsection (4) (d), “learned society” includes any club or association constituted in Singapore or elsewhere whose main object is the promotion of any branch of learning or science.”

Please note the requirement for the disclosure to have been orally read out or published in the transactions of the learned society and for the disclosure to have been made or caused to have been made by the inventor or another person with his or her consent.

An assertion that a disclosure should be disregarded under these provisions should be made on filing the Singapore application.

General Information on Japanese Grace Periods

Ohtsuki Patent Firm in Japan has written to let us know about the corresponding grace period provisions under Japanese patent law:

Under Japanese patent law, the grace period is only six months. However, the grace period under Japanese patent law also applies to a situation where the invention was published against the will of the person having the right to obtain a patent.

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