Singapore’s new positive grant system


The recent introduction of the positive grant system for patent applications in Singapore brought along a sea of change that is welcomed by both Singapore patent practitioners and lawmakers.

The IP Office of Singapore brought the amended Patents Act in force on 14 February 2014.

Under the amended Patents Act, only patent applications with fully positive examination results can proceed to grant. In order to be “fully positive”, a patent applicant’s claimed subject matter must fulfill the 3 criteria of patentability: novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability. “Previously, in the self- assessment system, a patent can be granted to an inventor or applicant although there were objections found in the examination report.

The positive grant system has taken precedence over the self-assessment system unless patent applications have filing dates no later than 13 February 2014.” The IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) used to outsource search and examination works to patent offices in other countries, such as the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, the Austrian Patent Office and the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. This is in view of resources and expertise required to set up the patent search and examination capabilities during the early stages of Singapore’s IP regime.”

With the positive grant system, IPOS is establishing an in-house Patent Search & Examination Unit to carry out the search and examination of patent applications, and is shifting away from outsourcing in order to be in line with Singapore’s aim to build world-class search and examination capabilities in specific technology classes that are aligned with the country’s main R&D thrusts. Tony Yeo and Benjamin Gaw, Directors at Drew and Napier LLC wrote an article that set out the key changes made under the positive grant system and show how the newly introduced system allows Singapore to grow into an IP hub through the various benefits it brings.”