As of 14 February 2014 there has been an update to the patent legislation of Singapore. The main changes are outlined below:
• The system has moved to a “positive grant” system, ie it will no longer be possible to obtain a patent for an invention which is not patentable.
• The “fast” and “slow” prosecution tracks have been removed, and there is now a deadline of 36 months from priority for requesting substantive examination.
• If modified examination is requested, then the deadline for presenting the papers necessary for allowance is 54 months from priority.
• If modified examination is requested, then it is necessary to request supplementary examination by 54 months from priority. Supplementary examination will be directed to criteria such as support, added matter, and double patenting, amongst other things.
• For some missed deadlines, extensions of time of up to 18 months will be available as of right. Importantly, the deadline for entering the national phase of a PCT application in Singapore may be extended by up to 18 months, ie up to 48 months from priority, upon payment of a fee of SGD 200 per month (plus surcharges).
• There will be new notices of allowance or refusal. The applicant will have two months from a notice of allowance to attend to formalities, including payment of a grant fee. Where any objections are not resolved, a Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application will be issued.
• Where a Notice of Intention to Refuse the Application has been issued, the applicant can request a review, which is essentially a written appeal procedure. The review will be carried out by a second examiner. If all objections are not overcome, then a notice of refusal will be issued, which takes effect two months after the date of issuance of the notice of refusal. It will be possible to file a divisional application in this two month period.