[Singapore Update] What’s Up in IPOS? Fee Changes and Amendments are on the Patent Menu

By Shanthen Jegatheesan

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) introduced some interesting developments recently – here are some updates!

IPOS Digital Hub, Legislative Amendments and Fee Updates

IPOS announced the implementation of a new IP filing system called the IPOS Digital Hub, which is to be launched on 4 May 2022 and would replace the previous system, IP2SG. Certain amendments and changes to fees are also seen to take place.

While there are quite a number of changes, here are a few that caught our attention:

  • New process for minor amendments during substantive examination: Invitation to amend an application 
    • The change made here will speed up the substantive examination process.
    • To put things into perspective, previously if there were any minor amendments to be made to the specification of grant, e.g., to address wrong claim dependencies, the examiner will issue a first or a further written opinion.
    • However, under the new practice, the examiner, in view of the minor amendments, will issue an “invitation to amend” via Patents Form 13A, which if resolved may allow the application to be eligible for grant.
    • In the event the minor amendment does not resolve the mistakes identified with the application, the examiner may issue a first or a further written opinion according to existing practice
  • Restriction of examination to the first invention specified in the claims of the application. 
    • In the preparation of an examination report, if it appears that the application relates to two or more inventions which is not part of a single inventive concept, the examination would most likely be restricted to the first invention as specified in the claims of the application and subsequently the applicant will be notified.
    • This is seen to be in contrast with the previous practice whereby the applicant will be given a choice as to which invention it is to be restricted to.
  • Removal of Requirement for Singapore Address for Service to seek written authority under Section 34 
    • This allows people residing in Singapore to seek written authority to file or caused to be filed outside Singapore an application for a patent without the need for an IPOS Digital Hub account.
    • This differs from the earlier practice of needing a Singapore address for service to seek written authority.

With that, let us walk you through the update on the official fees which will take effect on 29 April 2022. A little fun fact: the last time IPOS raised its fees was over five years ago, in April 2017!

The revised fees this time around are seen to be rather significant where for patent filing, prosecution and grant the margin of increment is seen to be around 5% or so, whereas the increase for patent renewals is much higher, going up by 15% to 18%.

Below are some of the notable fee updates:

Form Description Current fee (SGD) New Fees (SGD)
PF1 Request for grant of patent $160 $170
PF10 Request for search report or  supplementary search report $1,650 $1,735
PF12 Request for examination report $1,350, plus $40 per excess claim, if applicable $1,420, plus $40 per excess claim, if applicable
PF14 Payment of fee for grant of patent for all applications other than applications where the application for a patent is lodged before 14 February 2014 and has a date of filing before 1 July 2004 $200, plus $40 per excess claim, if applicable $210, plus $40 per excess claim, if applicable
PF15 Payment of renewal fee
(a) for each year of renewal in respect of the 5th, 6th or 7th year of the  patent $140 $165
(b) for each year of renewal in respect of the 8th, 9th or 10th year of the patent $370 $430
(c) for each year of renewal in respect of the 11th, 12th or 13th year of the patent $520 $600
(d) for each year of renewal in respect of the 14th, 15th or 16th year of the patent $670 $775
(e) for each year of renewal in respect of the 17th, 18th or 19th year of the patent $820 $945

For more in-depth information on the amendments and fee updates, please visit https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/resources-library/patents/circulars/(2022)-circular-no-1.pdf

In a nutshell, while a rise in official fees might not be welcomed news, the changes in IPOS are ultimately aimed at improving user experience in addition to stepping up their existing systems and processes with better optimization to increase operational efficiency.

Stay tuned and watch this space for further updates!

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