Here is some practical advice that you should not neglect when applying for design protection in Singapore.
1. Design search
Availability searches are essential before filing, to decide on the best strategy to adopt. A design search helps to:
– Detect whether any prior conflicting identical or similar designs have been filed and/or are registered
– Save time and money by avoiding objections from the registry issued on the grounds of similarity to prior rights, so you can adapt your strategy in due time if necessary
– Reduce exposure to legal proceedings which may be initiated by third parties in case you are using a design that is identical or confusingly similar to theirs
2. Design representation
The applicant is encouraged to represent the design in the most accurate way possible to increase the chances of success of design registration without complications. It is therefore recommended to prepare and submit as many views of the design as possible such as front view, back view, right view, left view, bottom view, top view and perspective view together with the application. Photographs are also accepted under some conditions.
A single application can include up to fifty designs as long as such designs relate to the same or associated class(es).
3. Design disclosure
The applicant must not disclose the design to any third party before the application date. It is necessary to file the design application before the first disclosure to avoid refusals or cancellations of the design by third parties.
4. Design claims
Priority: If priority is to be claimed, the applicant must indicate the claim at the point of filing the application.
Generic elements: If the design contains generic elements such as numerals or letters, the applicant is encouraged to disclaim said generic parts in the statement of novelty at the time of filing the application so as to avoid delays and unnecessary expenses related to possible objections.
The applicant must identify the products to which the design is applied by locating the corresponding class(es) and sub-class(es) in the Locarno Classification.
6. Protection in Singapore and beyond
Design protection, like trademark protection, is by nature territorial. This means that the protection shall be secured in all the relevant markets. Therefore, the applicant should select the list of jurisdictions carefully and apply for protection in those countries either through national applications or an international application via the Hague System.
7. Cumulative protection
If the design is also capable of distinguishing the source of origin of a trader’s goods, it is recommended that the applicant combines design protection with trademark protection in order to enjoy the maximum level of protection. While the period of protection of a design is limited, the protection of a trademark can indeed last indefinitely if renewed in a timely manner. Find out how to register a trademark in Singapore.
8. Maintain your design protection
The term of protection of industrial designs in Singapore is 15 years from the date of filing the application for registration and is subject to the payment of annuity. Such fees must be paid at the time of filing of the application, and every 5 years to maintain the registration active.
IPHub has vast experience in design protection in Singapore and the rest of Asia, and we would be happy to assist you! Contact us or visit our website to learn about the trademark and IP services we offer.