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Amendments To Intellectual Property Bill And Patents Bill Seen To Improve Singapore’s Position

Singapore’s Ministry of Law and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have passed a joint proposal on changing the policies included in its Patents Bill and Intellectual Property Bill to make it easier for entities to seek patent approval for their subjects.

Provisions of one of the chief amendments aim to shift the approval process of patents from a “self-assessment” to a “positive grant” system which has been in practice for years in advanced countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, and India.

The positive grant system lifts the burden of ensuring that certain criteria for the patent applications have been met off the shoulders of the patent applicant. The system then transfers the assessment obligations to the Registrar of Patents, which is mandated to investigate whether the application has been filed properly and if the criteria of patentability have been met.

The move is seen to improve the country’s position as an emerging IP industry in Southeast Asia, pushing it closer to its goal of becoming a global IP hub.

The government recently brought together an IP Steering Committee that will be tasked to enhance Singapore’s IP resources and facilitate a thriving IP environment last April. This is in line with the government’s plan this year to establish itself as a foremost IP destination in Asia and the world.

Another amendment proposed by the parliament was to allow foreign patent agents to operate in Singapore for “offshore patent agency work.” This is seen to generate more jobs in the patent cluster and would also allow local businesses to apply for patents in new jurisdictions.

As the quality of patents improves in Singapore, more local and foreign companies in the manufacturing, research and development, and biotechnology field will be enticed to set up their operations in Singapore. And with competitive tax rates and favorable tax treaties, the patent amendments will help improve the business atmosphere and economy in Singapore.