We found out today that there is a bug in the current implementation of Patents Form 13A on IP2SG.
The bug affects responses to Written Opinions that are filed without amendments to the specification of the patent application.
Rule 46(3) of the Singapore Patent Rules
Under the Singapore Patent Rules, a response to a Written Opinion needs to be filed using PF13A.
Rule 46(3) of the Singapore Patent Rules states:
(3) The applicant may file a response to the written opinion in Patents Form 13A containing —
(a) written submissions on the Examiner’s opinion; or
(b) an amendment of the specification of the application (whether or not he makes the amendment of his own volition),
and where the applicant wishes to make written submissions and amend the specification of the application, he shall do both at the same time.
As you can see from the rule, a response to a Written Opinion is optional. You can either file written submissions, or file an amendment to the specification.
The upshot of this is that Rule 46(3) allows for a response to be filed to a Written Opinion without any amendments to the specification. This might be something you would like to do if you have a violent disagreement with the Examiner’s interpretation of the claims or the teachings of the prior art!
Patents Form 13A on IP2SG
It turns out that there is a bug in the current implementation of Patents Form 13A on IP2SG.
This is a description of the issue and a workaround with a hope that it will help others when encountering it.
The issue arises when you attempt to file a response to a Written Opinion, where no amendments are being made to the specification.
Filing a Response to a Singapore Written Opinion
On Patents Form 13A, there are two fields that are marked as mandatory (red text, starred):
(1) Part 5: A Summary Explanation of the Amendment Sought Should be Indicated in the Box Provided *
(2) Part 6: Amendment or Proposed Amendment of the Specification *: XXX sheet(s)
If you leave both fields blank, the form validation will stop further progress with a message:
Please correct the following errors in the form:
PART 5 A Summary Explanation of the Amendments Sought is mandatory
It turns out that the form validation only checks for the presence of text in the Part 5 field, despite the Part 6 field marked as mandatory.
So, to actually file the form, enter some text in the Part 5 field, e.g., “No amendments are being made to the specification”. Leave the Part 6 field blank. Click “Next”.
The form validation will pass and you can continue to submit the form.
I’ve reported this over the phone to IP2SG support and will follow up with an email. They are aware of this issue and agree that these fields should not be mandatory. I am told that they will fix the form some time in the future.