Under the SG IP FAST, patent applications in all technology fields which are first filed in Singapore can be granted in as soon as six months. Applicants with a successful request for patent acceleration under the SG IP FAST can request acceleration of related TM and RD applications whereby straightforward TM applications can be registered in as soon as three months while non-straightforward TM applications can be registered in as soon as six months. RD applications can be registered in as soon as one month. Under the current practice, a standard RD application can be also be registered in as soon as one month. However, it may take about eight months for a standard straightforward trade mark to be registered.
The applications are deemed to be related if the TM and/or RD are to be used in relation to the invention contained in the patent application, or related products and services, example as follows:
Invention relates to energy-efficient air conditioning units.
Trade Mark Application:
Potential goods or services to which the trademark is to be applied:
Class 11: Air conditioning apparatus; Air-conditioning fans; Air-conditioning filters.
Class 35: Retail services relating to air conditioning apparatus; Wholesale services in relation to air conditioning apparatus.
Class 37: Installation and repair of air conditioning apparatus.
Registered Design Application:
Articles to which the registered design is to be applied: Air-conditioner.
The related TM and/or RD applications must be filed within one month of the applicant being notified that a patent application has been placed on SG IP FAST. A copy of the Patent Preliminary Examination Report indicating that a patent application is placed on SG IP FAST and the patent application number must be provided with the request to place the related TM and RD under the SG IP FAST. Presently, the request will not incur any official fee.
There is no cap on the number of requests for acceleration of TM and RD applications. However, the cap of five patent applications a month under SG IP FAST, which will be reset on the first day of every month, will remain. Unutilised capacity will be rolled over to the next month, subject to a maximum cap of ten applications a month. There is also a cap of ten patent applications per year per entity (individual or corporate).
The patent application must satisfy the following conditions in order to be placed or remain on acceleration:
1. Application must be first-filed in Singapore, i.e. no priority claim;
2. Application must contain 20 or fewer claims;
3. Application must not be a divisional application;
4. Application must be filed with a request for search and examination report on the same day;
5. Application must state the reason(s) for requesting acceleration and the technology field to which the invention relates;
6. Where the formalities examination report is not favourable, the Applicant must respond within two weeks from the date of receipt; and
7. Where a written opinion is issued, the Applicant must respond within two months from the date of receipt.
Regarding item 5, possible reasons for acceleration include the patent application being filed is for an emerging technology with a short product lifecycle (e.g.: FinTech, Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence) or a technology with an environment or public health cause (e.g.: food security, mitigating climate change, waste water and smart energy management, and therapeutic agents to combat COVID-19).
The TM applications must satisfy the following conditions in order to be placed or remain on acceleration:
1. The specification of goods and/or services in the application must be fully adopted from IPOS’ pre-approved classification database;
2. The application is not for a series mark;
3. The application is not for a non-conventional mark, such as 3D shape mark, colour as a trade mark, aspect of packaging, sound mark and other non-conventional mark;
4. The application is not for a certification or collective mark;
5. The objections raised by the Examiner in the first Examination Report are all resolved in the first submission within one month of the report;
6. The applicant responds as directed by the Registrar (such as filing the official form to formalise any amendments) in the second Examination Report within two weeks;
7. The application must not encounter opposition during the publication stage; and
8. The applicant cannot request for Extension of Time (“EOT”) during the course of examination.
The RD applications must satisfy the following conditions to be placed or remain on acceleration:
1. Deficiencies raised in the first Examination Report are all resolved in the first submission within two weeks; and
2. The applicant cannot request for EOT to respond to the Examination Report.
Through the SG IP FAST pilot programme, innovators and businesses will be able to better protect their creations, build a strong portfolio of intellectual property (“IP”) rights for strategic commercialisation, and to enjoy the maximum benefit of their IP protection. The SG IP FAST programme will end on 29 April 2022.