Singapore cuts fees for searching for and filing patents, trademarks

Businesses and entrepreneurs will soon enjoy lower fees when they file for patent and trademark protection with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos).

Ipos said it reviews its fees regularly to keep them competitive with other countries, and encourage local innovation.

From April 1, fees will be reduced for anyone requesting patent search and examination reports.

In addition, brand owners applying for trademarks using a pre-approved list of goods and services will receive a 30 per cent discount.

To discourage IP hoarding, which can stifle innovation, fees for renewing patents and trademarks will see an upward adjustment - the first in about a decade for trademarks, said Ipos in a statement yesterday.

But patent owners who are willing to offer their patents for licensing will continue to enjoy a 50 per cent discount in patent renewal fees. This will encourage IP owners to actively use their patents, or consider releasing them to the public domain, so as to fuel further innovations, said Ipos. IP owners who release their patents will enjoy a waiver of the administrative costs for doing so.

Overall, the fee adjustments will result in a net cost reduction for businesses and brand owners, when the various stages in the life cycle of protecting an invention or a trademark are considered, Ipos said.

It added that with the fee adjustments, Singapore remains as one of the most attractive countries for IP filing, with competitive rates compared to other major jurisdictions such as Korea, Japan, China, the United States and Australia.

"Given the current uncertain economic and political outlook, the fee review is timely," said Mr Desmond Tan, patent attorney with Davies Collison Cave.

"My clients, who want to build a competitive edge through IP in today's highly globalised innovation economy, will be encouraged to know that Ipos has taken steps to address their cost concerns and help them in the midst of a challenging business environment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore cuts fees for searching for and filing patents, trademarks'. Print Edition | Subscribe