Call for feedback on IP (Dispute Resolution) Bill

The Ministry of Law is seeking public feedback on a draft Bill that will centralise the hearing of most civil Intellectual Property (IP) disputes in the High Court.

Currently, IP disputes are heard in multiple forums such as the High Court, State Courts or Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos), depending on the nature of the IP right, the type of proceeding or the value of the claim.

The Bill will amend several IP Acts, as well as the State Courts Act, to grant the High Court exclusive jurisdiction over most civil IP disputes. In addition, it also makes several other improvements to the IP dispute resolution system in Singapore. These include ensuring and making it easier for only deserving inventions to enjoy patent protection, thus enhancing Singapore's patent regime by increasing the quality of patents and making it more user-friendly, said the ministry.

The Bill will formalise the third-party observation process for patent applications. Under the process, when a patent application has been published and before an examination report is issued, the Registrar can consider observations submitted by third parties on the patentability of the invention contained in the application.

The Bill will also introduce a post-grant patent re-examination process, where a person may request for a patent to be re-examined, supported by accompanying reasons and documents. In addition, it clarifies that IP disputes can be arbitrated in Singapore and the arbitral award has an effect only on the parties to the arbitration, and not on the world at large.

This aims to facilitate the use of arbitration in IP disputes, and strengthen Singapore's position as a choice venue for the arbitration of international IP disputes, MinLaw said in a press statement.

The draft Bill is rooted in the Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution Committee appointed by the Law Ministry in 2015 tasked to review and make recommendations on the IP dispute resolution system in Singapore.

Based on both the committee's recommendations and the broader Civil Justice Reforms' recommendations, reforms to the IP dispute resolution system were proposed, and a public consultation held last October.

The present IP (Dispute Resolution) Bill was drafted taking into account the feedback received, and is now presented to the public for feedback, said MinLaw.

Members of the public can view the public consultation paper details at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/news/public-consultations.html

Feedback titled "IP (Dispute Resolution) Bill Public Consultation Comments" should be submitted by April 5 this year via post or e-mail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'Call for feedback on IP (Dispute Resolution) Bill'. Print Edition | Subscribe