2019 has seen some significant changes in Intellectual Property in Singapore, specially in relation to trademarks, designs, and Geographical Indications. We have summarized some of these changes below:
1. Artificial intelligence (AI) in the trademark practice
Digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, are currently used in various sectors such as health, transportation, banking, etc. Intellectual property is one of the sectors that has recently digitized its practice by utilizing AI. For example, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) integrated AI as a technology to prevent the filing of trademarks that are too close or similar to prior trademark registrations.
2. Insurance program for IP rights owners
In the second half of 2019, IPOS, in cooperation with Lloyd’s Asia and Antares Underwriting Asia, has launched insurance services for IP rights holders called the Intellectual Property Insurance Initiative for Innovators (IPIII). Through this program, Intellectual Property rights holders in Singapore, including trademark owners, can enrol for an insurance policy to cover their legal costs involved in enforcing their IP rights or defending themselves in IP infringement cases worldwide.
3. Nice Classification
The Nice Classification for trademark applications is constantly being updated. In fact, more changes have been made to the 11th edition of the Nice Classification which will be enforced in Singapore from 1st January 2020. This latest version will bring some amendments to the 2019 version of the Nice Classification. But worry not, we will guide you through the process to make sure that your trademark applications are filed according to the most recent version of the Nice Classification. Reach out to one of our specialists for any questions you may have.
4. Geographical Indications
Singapore’s Geographical Indications Rules 2019 was enforced on 1st April 2019 as an implementation of the Geographical Indications Act of 2014. With such implementation, Geographical Indications are now registrable in Singapore with an initial protection period of ten years from the registration date, renewable without limit for a ten-year period each time. Find out how to register Geographical Indications in Singapore.
5. Heightened checks for declaration of novelty in design applications
As per the old practice, design applications were not subject to substantive examination and there was no examination as to the declaration of novelty. However, starting this year, the Intellectual Property of Singapore has changed its practice and has now heightened the checks on the declaration of novelty in design applications. The registrar can indeed refuse an application for a design that is not new based on Section 17(2) of the Registered Designs Act, and will conduct searches in this connection. If they reveal that the design was not new at the time of filing the application, the duty officer will include the results of the searches he conducted in the notice of objection and the applicant will be granted the opportunity to challenge the officer’s report.
Contact us at IPHub Asia to learn more about the trends and changes in the intellectual property practice in Singapore and other countries in Asia.
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