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Singapore Trademark Registration Made Easy

Jun 3, 2008
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), being a statutory board under the Ministry of Law, is in charge of trademark registration in Singapore. Any applicant may either deal directly with the Registrar or hire a lawyer or any trademark agent as a go-between acting on his or her behalf.

Unlike in other countries, the Singapore trademarks regime does not require the filing of evidence of use before a trade mark registration is granted. However, the trade mark has to be capable of being represented graphically like any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, shape, colour, aspect of packaging or a combination of these.

Your main concern when filing any trade mark design is that no one else had already registered a sign that is identical or similar to yours. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to the nature of your business activities. You should perform a thorough search of trade mark signs that are already filed with the Singapore Registry of Trade Marks and available for public scrutiny at the IPOS office or via the eTradeMarks website online.

Once you are satisfied that your trade mark does not conflict with anyone else's, you can submit your application. Manual submissions, which cost S$340, can be made either by hand or sent via registered post to the Singapore Registry of Trade Marks. You can also apply online using the IPOS eTradeMarks system at a cost of S$310.

Once the IPOS has received the trademark application, the office will conduct an administrative review to verify that the application is complete and compliant with the provisions of the Trademarks Act, as well as all necessary fees having been already paid. When these conditions are met, a trademark application number will be provided, along with the date for filing.

During the review process, the Registry may object to your trade mark sign for whatever reason and ask you to make corrections within a certain period of time. You should fulfill the Registry's request, or respond accordingly, before the deadline otherwise your application is deemed to have been withdrawn.

The next step is for the Registry Office to mount an extensive search for similar or conflicting trademarks. They will also review geographical names and ensure your sign conforms to the international classification of goods and services. If your sign represents pharmaceutical products, the Registry would make further investigations. They would check if your mark breaches the World Health Organisation's INN (International Non-Proprietary Name) list, which provides common names for pharmaceutical products.

Upon completion of this process of trademark conflict discovery, a further examination of the application will be made to ensure that the trade mark may be registered in accordance with Singapore Trademark Laws. If the trademark lacks a distinctive character, for example, it falls under areas not allowable by Singapore law-the examiner will make sure that this is not the case. Again, any problems in this stage will result in the applicant being informed of the nature of the objections and given a specific timeframe to resolve these issues.

Once your sign fulfills Singapore Trade Mark Laws, you move on to the final stage, which is to publish your mark for public consumption. You will be notified that your mark is accepted for registration before it is published in the Trade Marks Journal. This gives members of the public a chance to object if they believe your design is identical or similar to a mark that is already registered or pending. Any member of the public has the right to object within two months of publication.

The trademark will be registered and a registration certificate will be issued to the applicant if there are no further objections or all objections were resolved in favor of the applicant.
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