The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) announced last month that the fees for patent search and examination reports and for trade mark applications will be reduced effective April 1 2017.
Requests for patent search and examination reports where the International Search Report or International Preliminary Examination Report has been established by IPOS under the Patents Cooperation Treaty (PCT) will see the largest decrease of 37%. IPOS has been acting as International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the PCT since September 1 2015.
Patent applications where IPOS has not acted as ISA or IPEA will also see a fee decrease of 25% for requests for patent search and examination reports.
IPOS states that the announced fee decrease is part of the Office's efforts to support Singapore's innovators and make IP protection more affordable, in keeping with its vision to help drive innovation in Singapore.
While announcing the reduction in patent filing fees, IPOS also announced the introduction of an excess claim fee of S$40 ($28) per claim in excess of 20 claims from April 2017. The excess claim fee will apply when filing a request for examination and during payment of the grant fee.
According to IPOS, the implementation of the excess claim fee will help reduce the current burden on patent examiners. IPOS also observed that the average patent application has around 18 claims and thus they do not expect the excess claim fee to apply to most applicants.
Voluntary amendments can be made in Singapore any time before a request for examination has been made. In addition, it is important to note that Singapore accepts multiple dependent claims and, unlike other jurisdictions, it is permissible in Singapore for multiple dependent claims to refer to other multiple dependent claims. Accordingly, one should take advantage of such claim dependencies to cover important combinations of features or secondary inventive embodiments.
Despite the excess claim fee being paid at the time of requesting examination, IPOS would still require payment on excess claims when the patent application becomes granted. However, the excess claim fee payment at grant only applies to claims over and above those paid for during examination stage.
In addition to revision of patent fees, IPOS will reduce fees for applying for trade marks using a pre-approved list of goods and services by 30%.
IPOS Chief Executive Daren Tang said: "Singapore's innovation scene is becoming more vibrant, with more companies and start-ups seeking to create business value through IP. The fee revisions make it easier and cheaper for them to protect their brands and technology. We hope that more of our creative enterprises and inventors will be encouraged by these changes to have a strong foundation for taking their ideas to the world."
With the fees adjustment on April 1 2017, Singapore remains one of the most attractive countries for IP filing, with competitive rates compared to other major jurisdictions.
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