IP protection in Singapore

You can register intellectual property (IP) rights in Singapore for trade marks, patents and designs. 

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is the government body responsible for registering trade marks, patents and designs, all of which can be applied for electronically through the IPOS website. The site also provides searchable trade mark, patent and design databases.

In general terms, IP registration and protection in Singapore is similar to Australia. Filing and renewal fees are somewhat cheaper than the comparative Australian fees.

Trade marks

  • Singapore employs a first-to-use rule for obtaining trade mark rights, meaning that the first person to use a mark in Singapore will generally have superior rights to a person who files a trade mark application at a later date.
  • Unregistered trade marks may in some cases be protected under common law in Singapore. However, a registered trade mark confers statutory protection that provides significant advantages in trade mark disputes.
  • Certain types of trade mark infringement may be considered criminal offences in Singapore and infringers can be prosecuted by the police. If a trade mark is not registered, infringement does not attract criminal sanctions.
  • Protection is available for non-traditional marks such as three-dimensional shapes, colours and sounds.
  • Trade mark registrations may be removed if they are not used over a period of five or more consecutive years after registration.
  • Singapore Customs provide cross-border measures for the protection of trade marks and copyright.  

Patents

  • Only one type of patent is available in Singapore.
  • Certain types of subject matter are not patentable in Singapore.

Designs

  • Registered design protection is available in Singapore for a five-year period and can be renewed for a further 10 years.

Plant varieties

  • Plant varieties can be protected in Singapore for a period of up to 25 years.

Professional advice

If you are considering exporting to Singapore, it is recommended that you contact an IP professional experienced in Singaporean IP law and trade to advise on local IP, customs and other laws regulating imports and trade in Singapore. Australian IP professionals can facilitate such contact.

This information has been developed in conjunction with Griffith Hack Lawyers and Rajah & Tann LLP (Singapore).

Last updated: 
22 March 2016