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Singapore: Singapore design registrants to benefit from WIPO Design Treaty

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Interior designer making hand drawing pencil sketch of a bathroom

Singapore design registrants are able to enjoy greater benefits from March 19 2020 as the city-state has become the 58th member to join the Locarno Agreement, an international agreement on classification of industrial designs.

The Locarno Agreement, also known as the Locarno Classification, is a multilateral treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It includes a list of classes and subclasses and an alphabetical list of goods which constitute industrial designs, with an indication of the classes and subclasses into which the goods fall. Contracting states must indicate, in official documents and in any publications they issue regarding the deposit or registration of industrial designs, the classes and subclasses of the classification of the designs incorporated in the goods. This simplifies the search process across different industrial design databases and enables applicants to refer to a universal system when they file for industrial design protection.

With the accession to the Locarno Agreement, Singapore joins other industrial design powerhouses such as Japan, Germany and Italy, and will be represented at WIPO forums to influence the development of the Locarno Agreement with a view to address the interests of the Singapore design community. The Locarno Agreement becomes the 15th WIPO treaty to which Singapore is a signatory, underscoring the nation’s significant progress and continued efforts in building a strong IP infrastructure that is well plugged into international IP networks.

According to the WIPO Indicators 2019 report, global industrial design applications doubled between 2007 and 2018 to reach 1.02 million. In 2019 alone, Singapore saw a 16% year-on-year increase in applications for international design registrations. With the upward filing trend, the accession to the Locarno Agreement is a welcomed move for product designers and manufacturers who will be assured of conformity to international standards and practices when protecting their designs in Singapore.

Mr Daren Tang, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), noted: “IP is an increasingly important input for growth which then positively impacts jobs, growth and social vibrancy. At IPOS, we are committed to ensuring that our IP laws are progressive, and our processes are aligned to international standards and practices to help our designers better access markets in the region and beyond. As the first in the ASEAN bloc to join the Locarno Agreement, we hope to work closely with our ASEAN and global counterparts to build stronger linkages, so that businesses will find it easier and cheaper to file and gain industrial design protection for their work across countries.”   

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