Patent registration is essential to in protecting your intellectual property. A patent is a right that is granted for an invention. It can take the form of a new product, process or technical improvement to existing technology.
Upon patent registration for your invention, you hold the exclusive right to use the patent. This means that no other person can take advantage of that patent, unless your permission is sought.
When your patent portfolio is properly managed, it can present many economic opportunities – whether as a means to develop new and cutting-edge technologies, raise investment, or extract value from third parties through sale or licensing.
For an invention to be patentable, it must, in general, satisfy three key criteria:
The invention should not be publicly known in any way, anywhere in the world. Owners of inventions should be careful to keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be compromised.
Disclosing your invention may compromise the novelty and affect your patent application. If your invention needs to be disclosed to a third party before a patent application has been made, it is a good idea to draw up a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Disclosure to the invention can be made after a date of filing has been obtained for the application.
The invention must be an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available. The improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the field of the invention.
Before you apply for a patent, it is a good idea to run a search on existing patents to see if your invention already exists. You can also avoid scenarios where there might be possible infringement of other patents filed or granted.
The invention must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.
A method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body is not patentable.
An invention that is generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour will not be published or patentable.
Entitlement to patent registration
You are entitled to patent registration if you are any of the following:
- you are an employer and the invention was made by your employee in his normal course of duties;
- if you are a person who has entered into an agreement with the inventor before the making the invention, such that you are entitled to the invention; or
- the inventor.
Term of Protection
Once your patent is granted, it will be protected for 20 years from the Date of Filing. Thereafter, the patent is to be maintained yearly, starting from the 5th year.
Patent Registration with the Government
In Singapore, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, Registry of Patents is in charge of patent registration – managing national patent search and examination process, and payment.
Depending on the complexity of the invention, it may take about 2 to 4 years for a patent application to be granted. If there are no objections and you follow the specified time limits for actions, a patent can be granted within 12 months from the filing of the application.