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24th March, 2017

Applicants who wish to file an international application under the Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) as the receiving office, may wish to be advised of the following.

Prior to 1 January 2017, applicants were only permitted to file applications in the English language. As of 1 January 2017, any applicant who wishes to file such an application may do so in the Chinese language. This includes both Mandarin and Cantonese. The result of this is that an international application filed in the Chinese language will subsequently have its final report issued in the Chinese language by default. If a report in the English language is preferred, the applicant must provide a cover letter to this effect which is to be attached to the application.

This change recognises the importance of linguistic differences. Additionally, it benefits applicants who have initially prepared patent specifications in the Chinese language to defer any Chinese to English translation fees.

The IPOS has put forward a new initiative in order to encourage innovation and creativity in the Singapore IP sphere. These changes will take effect from 1 April 2017.

Firstly, applicants who wish to file a trademark application using a pre-approved list of goods and services will enjoy a substantial 30% discount.

Secondly, the IPOS will be introducing a series of fee revisions. Unfortunately, fees for renewing patents and trademarks will now be increased for the first time in a decade.