This post outlines the procedures for obtaining grant of a Singapore patent application filed under the amended Singapore Patents Act.
Eligibility for Grant or Intended Refusal at Conclusion of Examination
After examination of a Singapore patent application has concluded, IPOS issues an Examination Report or a Supplementary Examination Report.
An Examination Report is issued where the applicant has requested examination (together with a request for search, or relying on a search report already established for a foreign corresponding application).
Where the applicant has requested supplementary examination relying on the grant of a foreign application, IPOS will issue a Supplementary Examination Report.
The state of the Examination Report under local examination or the Supplementary Examination Report determines whether the applicant can proceed to pay the grant fee.
Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant
If the Examination Report (or Supplementary Examination Report under Supplementary Examination) is positive and does not contain any outstanding patentability objections, IPOS issues a Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant.
The Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant is also known as a Notice of Eligibility for Grant (indeed this is how IPOS refers to the letter in its heading).
The applicant then has 2 months from the date of the Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant to pay the grant fee and to comply with the grant formalities.
Notice of Intention to Refuse
If on the other hand, the Examination Report or Supplementary Examination Report is negative, IPOS issues a Notice of Intention to Refuse the application.
The applicant may request an Examination Review within 2 months from the date of the Notice of Intention to Refuse. If no Examination Review is sought, the application will be refused at a date which is 2 months from the date of the Notice of Intention to Refuse.
It is possible to file a divisional application before the application is refused.
If the application has been amended during prosecution, the applicant is also required to file a consolidated copy of the specification incorporating all the amendments made so far on the application.
The deadline for filing the consolidated copy is the same as the deadline as for paying the grant fee.
Sample of Notice of Eligibility to Proceed to Grant
We’ve recently received the first Notice of Eligibility for Grant issued by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.
Here’s what the Notice of Eligibility for Grant looks like:
As you can see, IPOS has set a date of two months from the date of the Notice of Eligibility for Grant for the applicant to pay the grant fee.
The discussion above applies only to patent applications filed under the current Singapore Patent Act and Rules, i.e., Singapore patent applications filed on or after 14 February 2014, and PCT patent applications (International Patent Applications) entering the Singapore national phase on or after 14 February 2014.
The rules applying to the grant procedure of “old act” cases (i.e., Singapore patent applications treated under the Singapore Patents Act and Rules as they stood on 13 February 2014) are substantially different. Please contact us if you would like more information on this.
The discussion above applies both to Singapore national phase applications (i.e., a PCT or International application that has entered the Singapore national phase) as well as “domestic” or convention applications, filed directly at IPOS.
The discussion above does not apply to International Patent Applications designating Singapore filed at the Singapore Patent Office (IPOS) as Receiving Office. Although these are treated under the Singapore patent act as Singapore patent applications, the PCT Rules apply to such applications during the International Phase.