Singapore Launches Fast Track Patent Program
- On May 4, 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched the SG Patent Fast track Program, which aims to approve patent applications in as quickly as six months.
- The program will run for two years from the launch date and can only process five applications per month on a first-come, first-serve basis, and 10 applications per year per entity.
- Investors should seek the help of legal advisors to help with the drafting of patent specifications and assistance with the application process.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched the SG Patent Fast track Program on May 4, 2020, which aims to expedite the application-to-grant process of patents in all technology fields to six months, compared to the typical duration of two years.
This is a two-year program, which began on May 4, 2020, and is expected to end April 29, 2022. It replaces the FinTech Fast Track and Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence programs.
There is no additional fee required to participate in the program; however, it is currently only available to process five applications per month on a first-come, first-serve basis with IPOS also imposing a limit of 10 requests per year for each entity, whether they are corporates or individuals.The program will benefit innovators who develop products or solutions with short lead times to market or short product lifecycles. Furthermore, the positive examination results issued by IPOS can be used to leverage their application to international patent examinations, such as to the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC).
Investors should seek the help of legal advisors to help with the drafting of patent specifications and assistance with the application process.
How do you qualify for the program?
There are several criteria applicants need to fulfil in order to qualify for the program:
- The application must be filed in Singapore and must not have priority claim;
- The application must contain at least 20 or fewer claims; and
- The request is within the cap number of requests of five per month and 10 per year per entity.
The monthly cap is reset on the first day of the new month with any unutilized requests rolled over to the next month, subject to a maximum of 10 per month.
How do you file a patent?
In addition to Patents Forms 1 and 11, the applicant must attach another document tagged as FastTrack. The FastTrack document should contain a cover letter stating the reason(s) for requesting the acceleration of the patent as well as the technology field that the invention belongs to. Some examples for requesting the acceleration process include the invention having a short product lifecycle or a technology that has an environmental or health cause.Once the application has been submitted to and reviewed by IPOS, the organization will issue a Formalities Examination Report (FER). IPOS will inform the applicant if they have been successful in accelerating their grant process.
The applicant must report within two weeks upon receiving the FER and within two months upon receipt of the written opinion from IPOS.
What if the cap on the SG Fast Track is reached for the month?
If the cap for the month for the SG Fast Track has been filled, the applicant will be automatically be moved to the 12-Month File-to-Grant program. Through this program, applicants can obtain a Singapore patent grant within 12 months from the filing of the application.
Alternatively, applicants can decide not to join the 12-month program and choose to re-apply through the SG Fast Track system in the following month.
An important stepping stone to apply for international patents
Due to Singapore’s robust intellectual property (IP) system and IPOS’ global reputation, an IPOS patent report can support innovators in their quest to process their patents internationally, such as in Japan, the USA, China, and Europe.
Innovators can also benefit from IPOS’ Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program, whereby the examination process of a patent application to one IP office can be accelerated by referencing the results from another IP office.
Furthermore, Singapore is part of the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC), a regional patent-sharing program among ASEAN members. Similar to the PPH, the program aims to expedite the patent application process by sharing search and examination results between participating offices.