Category Archives: Singapore

Singapore Becomes An IP Hub For Innovative Russian Enterprises

Background of Singapore Economy

After getting independence from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore had small domestic market, and high levels of unemployment and poverty. 70% of households were living in badly overcrowded conditions, and one- third of its people lived in slums. GDP per capita was US$516, and half of the population was illiterate.

In response, Singapore government established Economic Development Board to start an investment drive, to make Singapore an attractive destination for foreign investment and lure big companies to invest capital. As a result, FDI inflows increased greatly over the decades, Meanwhile, savings and investment rates in Singapore rose amongst the highest levels in the world.

As a result of this investment drive, Singapore’s capital stock increased 33 times by 1992, and achieved a tenfold increase in the capital-labour ratio which improved living standard of the people.

Singaporean Lookout for Trade Partners

With the Singapore economy struggling for new trade partners and bad relations with China, Singapore has been constantly looking around for other regional trade partners.

An continuous increase in bilateral trade and investment between Russia and Singapore which rose to about S$5 billion, in the meanwhile tourist visitors from Russia to Singapore also went up 10 percent, to about 70,000 arrivals in 2017.

The Singapore government analyzed Russia as a key country for Singaporean investment potential, and has been actively encouraging both Singaporean government funds and the private sector to invest in the country. Singapore is also fast tracking a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, a free trade area sitting between China and the EU that includes Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Belarus. That deal is expected to be signed off this year and will significantly enhance Singaporean trade with Russia. It will also assist Russian trade with the ASEAN nations.

Signage of Memorandum Between Singapore And Russia

Singapore’s Senior Minister for Trade & industry, Dr. Koh Poh Koon and Russian Deputy Prime minister, Maxim Akimov witnesses the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance trade between the countries and announced Singapore to become “IP hub” for innovative enterprises of Russia. MOU was signed by IPOS International (IPOS-I), the international division of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), and Russian venture capital fund and accelerator Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF). The MOU will enhance greater gains and growth opportunities between the countries.

Russian innovators will also be able to take advantage of established platforms such as ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC) for expedited patent application examination and connect with over 70 markets through Singapore’s IP network and trade agreements. Russian enterprises can take benefit from Singapore’s IP management consultancy services, patent search and analytics, customised training programmes and workshops.

MOU aims to bridge the innovation ecosystems of both countries and support innovative enterprises from Russia to use Singapore as a base to access Asian growth markets.

Linking Russia and Singapore Innovation Ecosystem

Russia already has an established research culture with strong tech and science capabilities, IP filings are also growing every year in Russian jurisdiction. Singapore sees abundant opportunities to collaborate Russian businesses / enterprises for creation of innovative products and services, post which same technology can be brought to Asian market, which is now a hive for innovation activities. Notably, the number of IP applications by foreign enterprises into Russia has grown 18% since 2010, indicating a growing confidence in the market.

Singapore is a part of global trade and innovation ecosystems, with right IP connections and networks to service the flow of ideas and innovation into the region. Ultimately, Singapore will serve as an important base for Russian enterprises to bring their ideas and IP into ASEAN, Together they poised to be the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030. Asia innovation ecosystem, is growing and spending huge amounts on Research, which is S$4 out of S$10 are spent in research and development and 6 out of 10 IP applications are filed. Russian innovators can take advantage of established platforms for expedited IP applications and connect with over 70 markets through Singapore’s IP network and trade agreements.

The two Deputy Prime ministers (DPM) agreed to further push commercial partnerships in information and communications technology sector and digital economy which plays vital role for healthy relationship and development of both nations. They are open to welcome expanding of innovation, transport and logistics technologies. They also reaffirmed Singapore and Russia’s strong support for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which will deepen economic ties between the two countries as well as with other EAEU member-states. Both DPM’s agreed to cooperate with each other and identify new areas to broaden and deepen the relationship.

The DPMs noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Singapore. Russia was Singapore’s 24th largest trading partner last year, and bilateral trade stood at $7.38 billion.

Author: Ms. Deepika Sharma, Sr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at  deepika@iiprd.com.

References:

[1]https://www.spruson.com/singapore-becomes-an-ip-hub-for-innovative-russian-enterprises/

[2]https://www.russia-briefing.com/news/russia-singapore-trade-joint-investment-2018.html/

[3]https://www.straitstimes.com/business/spore-russian-start-ups-to-benefit-from-two-mous

Advertisements

Voyage Innovations Is Granted First Accelerated Fintech Patent Through IPOS In Singapore

Brief on IPOS

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. IPOS advises on and administers intellectual property laws, promotes IP awareness and provides the infrastructure to facilitate the development of IP in Singapore. It has been appointed an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) for patent applications filed in accordance with the Patent Co-operation Treaty since 9 October 2015. It acts as a legal regime and business ecosystem to support an innovation-driven economy, build IP skills and expertise and administer innovation and creativity for Singapore’s future growth.

Brief on FinTech Fast Track Initiative

In April 2018, Intellectual Property of Singapore (IPOS) had launched an initiative scheme to develop Singapore into a “Smart Nation” by shortening grant of patent applications in the field of financial technology (FinTech) to as fast as 6 months. The Fast Track initiative was designed to speed up the process of securing patents in the FinTech sector which is a fast growing sector in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Fintech is one of those fast-paced industries. As per IPOS there are more than 1200 FinTech businesses in Singapore.

IPOS Fintech fast track was created to gain a spirited frame in fast-paced industries such as FinTech. It is crucial for enterprises so that they can get clarity about their patent strength within months, instead of years. This will definitely help companies to bring their ideas to the market in a much shorter time.

This FinTech Fast Track (FTFT) initiative does not require additional official fees.  However, certain criteria apply, such as:

  1. The application must be first filed in Singapore, with immediate request for search and examination and a supporting “Fast Track document”.
  2. Application should contain less than 20 claims.
  3. An issued adverse substantive examination report should be responded within two months, instead of the full allocation of five months.

About Voyager Innovations

Voyager is a Philippines based technology company that is involved in the development and delivery of digital services.

Voyager has led change in emerging markets, introducing tools that have allowed millions more to participate in the new digital economy and society. Voyager was launched into the digital expanse on a mission of transformation.

Their top competitors in the market are BillDesk, Fino PayTech and TechProcess Payment Services, Yondu etc.

First Accelerated FinTech Patent Granted To Voyager Innovations

On 6th Dec 2018, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) announced that they have granted first patent under the FinTech Fast Track initiative.This patent was granted to Philippines-based tech company Voyager Innovations for an invention which “allows audiences at an onsite or offsite live event to participate in real-time activities such as surveys or prize draws through an app.” The capabilities of this digital marketing technology is made possible by combining event-specific location data, event-defined behaviors, as well as secondary sensing data such as the participants’ movement and position of their mobile devices.

Being a fast track patent, proceedings (from application to grant) took only seven months, post which Patent was granted to Voyager whereas Patent grant proceedings usually takes at least two to four years (or may be longer) for grant of Patents.

Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, said, “Singapore already has all the ingredients for a vibrant innovation ecosystem.”

“Our broad IP network reaches out to over 70 countries which account for more than 90 per cent of global GDP. Complemented with a world-class financial services infrastructure and business-friendly regulatory policies, Singapore is well placed for FinTech enterprises to commercialize their IP into the fast-growing ASEAN region.”

“Beyond the FinTech Fast Track initiative, we will continue to explore and introduce more initiatives to help innovation-driven enterprises use Singapore as a base for taking their ideas and IP to the market.”

Author: Ms. Deepika Sharma, Sr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at  deepika@iiprd.com.

References:

[1]https://www.worldipreview.com/news/ipos-grants-first-fintech-patent-under-expedited-scheme-17105

[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_Property_Office_of_Singapore

[3]https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2018/singapore/ipos-launch-of-fintech-fast-track-initiative

[4]http://fintechnews.sg/26886/fintech/singapore-grants-first-accelerlated-fintech-patent-fasttrack/

[5]https://www.voyagerinnovation.com/about-us

[6]Singapore grants first accelerated fintech patent through ipos’ fintech fast track initiative

Amendments in Patent Application Process in Singapore

The process of applying for patents in Singapore will become much easier and more efficient after Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), in its continued efforts to ease patent application process, has introduced few changes in Patent forms 1 and 12B. According to a circular released on November 21, 2017 on IPOS website [1], these changes will be effective from 10 December 2017 [1] and will be available to Patent Applicants from that date. IPOS claims that after these changes the patent application process will be enhanced for general Applicants.

Amendments to ‘Patents form 1’ [2]

a. Patents forms 1 & 8 will be merged

This change will allow Applicants to enter details of inventors for which the patent has been applied in part 7 of the newly merged form i.e. merged ‘form 1’ & 8. There will be no need to file a separate form 8. It is a welcome move for the Applicants as they will not have to fill multiple forms. In addition to this, the Applicants will now be able to derive rights from the Inventor. Applicants can do this by filling in part 8 of the newly merged form. However, these amendments will not change the process of correcting the details of the inventors i.e. Patents Form 13 will not be applicable for such amendment or correction. Applicants will also be able to submit the details of the inventor separately by filling Patent Form 8 which will still be available for submissions.

b. A separate attachment for sequence listing

A new document will also be available for “sequence listing” for attachment at the time of filing of patent applications. A “sequence listing” is a list of biological sequences in the format prescribed by WIPO Standard ST.25 (Presentation of nucleotide and amino acid sequence listings) using controlled vocabulary (i.e. defined terms for certain features). This document will be available to patent applicants in case they do not want to include sequence listing as a part of description or claims. Also, the applicants will be able to paginate this document and will be able to indicate the page count of sequence listing document in a separate field.

In addition to this, if Applicants want to submit sequence listing as a separate reference document, not forming part of the description or claims, such document can be submitted using the mentioned “sequence listing” document type with a cover letter attached to indicate that it will serve as a reference document only.

c. A new feature of auto-population during divisional filings

Yet another efficient and productive move by the IPOS is the introduction of auto-population feature when a divisional application is being filed. This means that when an Applicant files a divisional application, relevant information from the parent application will be auto-populated for the convenience of the Applicants. Having said that, the Applicants will still be able to amend the auto-populated fields if they choose to do the same.

 Amendments to Patents ‘Form 12B’ [3]

Similar to the changes in Patents form 1, for the ease of Applicants, Patents Form 13 will also be merged with Patents Form 12B. Applicants don’t need to fill Form 13 in case they wish to make amendments to the specification when requesting for an examination review report using Patents Form 12B, and can do so by selecting the option “Written submissions and proposed amendments are filed” in Patents form B. With this selection, the Applicant will be required to submit both a clean and a marked up copy of the amendment of the specification.

Conclusion

Such amendments in the Patent Application process as mentioned above will be available from December 10, 2017. Further, these changes will ease the application process and will allow Applicants some flexibility in sequence listing, and amending details of inventors as well as amending the specification.

Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at shilpi@iiprd.com.

 References:

[1] https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/resources-library/patents/circulars/(2017)-circular-no-8—enhancements-to-patent-application-process.pdf

[2] https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/resources-library/patents/patent-forms-and-fees/form-pf1—otc.pdf

[3] https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/resources-library/patents/patent-forms-and-fees/form-pf12b—otc477c1877c2d0635fa1cdff0000abd271.pdf

Intellectual Property of Singapore: Patents legislative amendments

In continuation of IPOS’s efforts to strengthen the patent regime and make Singapore’s Intellectual Property one of the best in the world also supporting inventive individual and businesses [1], Patents (Amendments) Act, 2017 and Patents (Amendment no.2 ) shall come into force on October 30, 2017 [2].

IPOS’ Patents legislative amendments

In IPOS’ efforts of delivering a well-equipped and a well-suited legal framework as well as a policy framework to individual patent applicants and corporate business houses, the Patents (Amendment) Act 2017 and the Patents (Amendment No.2) Rules 2017 will enter into force on 30 Oct 2017 [2]. The October version of the revised examination guidelines for Patent Applications at IPOS will also get published on the same date on the online website of IPOS (https://www.ipos.gov.sg/). Below are the key highlights of these amendments as released in the Patents Circular No.7/2017 [3] on IPOS website.

 Broadening of Grace Period

As effective from 30th October 2017, under the broadened grace period all the applicants will now be able to apply for patent protection for their invention notwithstanding that their invention has been disclosed prior to the filing of the patent application. In instances where the inventors have publicly disclosed their inventions prior to filing a patent application for the same, the broadened grace period will act as a safety cover for the entity in obtaining the Singapore patent rights. However, an important thing to note for the applicants is that not all jurisdictions have a provision for similarly broadened grace period, therefore, all the applicants are strongly encouraged to avoid or exercise prudence and caution before disclosing their inventions to third parties before applying for a patent.

Further as per the new provision, the applicants who require or ‘wish for’ their invention disclosure to be graced may inform the registrar when making:

  1. a request for search and examination;
  2. a request for examination;
  3. a response to written opinion; and
  4. a request for a review of an examination report or of a search and examination report.

The above requests must be accompanied by written evidence in the form of a statutory declaration or affidavit that complies with the requirements of the new Rule 8 of the Patents Rules.

 Changes to Supplementary Examination

As per the rules, supplementary examination route will become unavailable for patent applications filed on or after Jan 1, 2020 [3] i.e.

–  for Singapore national applications having a date of filing on or after Jan 1, 2020,

– for International applications entering national phase having a date of filing on or after 1 Jan 2020, and

– for Divisional applications having an initiation date on or after Jan 1, 2020.

However, patent applications filed before 1 January 2020 will continue to use the supplementary examination route. This means that with the unavailability of the supplementary examination route, all patent applications filed on or after 1 January 2020 will undergo full examination by IPOS examiners.  Given that, the entire process of examination is going to be carried out in Singapore, the quality and consistency of patents granted in Singapore is expected to improve. This will also align Singapore’s patent system with that of major jurisdictions, such as those of the US, Japan, and Europe, that perform a full examination of the patent applications that they receive. A period of 3 (three) years has been granted as grace period for the community to adjust as the change shall be effective from 30th October 2017 but shall come into operation from January 2020

Further,  as per the amendment,  the scope of supplementary examination has expanded by allowing an examiner to raise an objection relating to patentable subject matter to ensure consistency in the assessment of patentable subject matter across all the routes of examination.

Amendments to the Guidelines on Isolated Products from Nature

The Guidelines have been revised to clarify the distinction between inventions and discoveries as applicable to the issue of isolated products from nature. As per the new guidelines, a material or microorganism already existing in nature represents a discovery and therefore an isolated or purified material or microorganism from nature is not an invention. However, if a new use of the isolated or purified material or microorganism is found, then the new use can be claimed. The revised Guidelines will take effect on 30 October 2017.

The overall objective of this amendment is to facilitate innovation by allowing others to develop applications relating to the discovery and to monetize or earn rewards for translational research and development.

Author: Shilpi Saxena, Jr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana Advocates and IP Attorneys can be reached at shilpi@iiprd.com.

Citing Sources

[1] https://www.ipos.gov.sg/about-ipos/singapore-ip-ranking

[2]https://www.ipos.gov.sg/media-events/happenings/ViewDetails/patents-and-designs-legislative-amendments-to-enter-into-force-on-30-oct-2017/

[3]https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/resources-library/patents/circulars/(2017)-circular-no-7—amendment-to-patents-act-and-rules-to-enter-into-force-on-30-october-2017.pdf