The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) supports AI through a series of targeted measures. This is in line with Singapore’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which expressly recognises the crucial role of the intellectual property regime (see our blog here).
SG IP Fast Track (extended to 30 April 2024)
Under the SG IP Fast Track, patent applications across all technological sectors (including AI) first filed in Singapore can be granted in as few as six months. The initiative aims to support Singapore’s transformation to a digital economy and help innovative enterprises build up their IP portfolio and bring products to market more quickly.
The applicant must state the reason(s) for requesting acceleration and the technology field to which the invention relates. Reasons include that the patent application relates to: an emerging technology with a short product lifecycle; the environment; or public health.
Applicants can also seek accelerated prosecution of related trade mark and registered design applications. Straightforward trademark applications can be registered in as fast as three months. Other trademark applications can be registered in as fast as six months. Registered design applications can be registered in as fast as one month. With effect from 30 April 2022, the trademark and registered design applications must be filed within 12 months from the date on which the applicant is notified that a patent application has been successfully placed on SG IP FAST.
No fee is imposed (until further notice) and applications are accelerated for up to two office actions.
In addition, with effect from 30 April 2022, to give more applicants a competitive edge as global reopening progresses, the monthly cap for patent applications under SG IP FAST programme will be increased from 5 requests to 10 requests, with a cap of 2 requests per entity (individual or corporate). There is no cap on the number of requests for acceleration of trade mark and registered design applications under SG IP FAST.
Applicants may use Singapore patent applications to expedite protection in more than 30 other jurisdictions through IPOS’ network of work-sharing agreements:
The ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation (“ASPEC”) programme allows patent applications to be accelerated in eight other ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao PDR; Malaysia; the Philippines; Thailand; and Vietnam. AI inventions are eligible for the ASPEC Acceleration for Industry 4.0 Infrastructure and Manufacturing (“ASPEC AIM”) initiative, under which the patent offices in the other ASEAN countries relying on the Singapore search and examination report are committed to issue the first office action within six months.
Bilateral Patent Prosecution Highways (“PPH”) covers the European Patent Office and patent offices in China, Mexico, and Brazil. The bilateral agreement between two IP offices promotes work-sharing and enables applicants to request an accelerated examination by using the work products from the other office or vice versa. It eases the examination burden by efficiently reusing the Office of Earlier Examination’s search and examination history, thus achieving a generally accelerated patent examination.
The Global PPH (“GPPH”) network covers over 27 other jurisdictions, including the US, Japan, Korea and Germany. Under the GPPH program, a request for accelerated examination of a Singapore patent application can be made by relying on the search and examination results (national work products) or international search and/or examination results under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (PCT work products) established by any of the other GPPH participating offices.
Patent Cooperation with Cambodia and Laos allows a granted Singapore patent to be re-registered at Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), provided the patent was filed on or after 22 January 2003 (for Cambodia) and 17 January 2002 (for Laos) and meets the local requirements for patentability. Applicants can also re-register Singapore designs in Cambodia.
IPOS International Pte Ltd
IPOS has launched a new enterprise engagement arm, IPOS International Pte Ltd, to support the development and commercialisation of AI technologies.
IPOS International aim to help innovators including public sector, investors, private enterprises, not-for-profits, service providers and individuals to better understand the IP application process and their intangible assets, and develop effective IP strategies to support their business goals. Services they provide include patent search and analysis, education and training, and IP management strategy.
IPOS provides the resources illustrated below to help businesses understand and leverage IP:
Our IP team in Singapore would be delighted to give further information on pursuing IP rights in Singapore and the greater Asia-Pacific region.
About the author(s)
Vivian Wei Cheng is a Patent Attorney at JurisAsia LLC. Being a Singapore registered patent agent with a technical background in biological science and clinical medicine, Vivian manages multi-jurisdictional patent drafting and prosecution focusing on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, nano-materials, immunology, consumer care products, agriculture and food products and medical devices. She also provides business-focused strategic advice on intellectual property (IP) portfolio and risk management in various fields including Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as litigation support.