Trademarks play an essential role in distinguishing products or services produced or sold by every enterprise, enhancing the image of products, increasing the viscosity of consumers, and avoiding price wars. Registering Trademarks abroad and selling it domestically can greatly enhance the branding and values of the products.
Therefore, registering the international Trademarks to shape the international images have become an excellent choice. Here is a comprehensive introduction of Singapore Trademarks-related matters.
1. Where should you apply?
The examination body for Trademarks applications in Singapore is the Trademarks Registry under the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) which is the sole application department for Trademarks Registration in Singapore and is part of Ministry of Law.
In Singapore, an applicant must apply through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) in order to register a Trademarks with legal protection.
In the event that the applicant noticed his or her registered Trademarks has been used by others without his or her permission, he or she may exercise his or her right under the Trade Marks Act to protect the Trademarks.
Singapore is a member of the Paris Convention and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement, and its Trademarks law is based on the Trademarks Regulations 1998 (the Trademarks Act, which entered into force in 1998 and was amended in 2005 and 2019, respectively).
2. Who can apply?
Trademarks application in Singapore regardless any nationality, whether local or foreign, as long as the company’ s goods or services are necessary being protected by the individual or Company.
During the application, the applicants must provide a Singapore registered address to make sure it is contactable. Trademark registration is also one of the ways if you are intent to apply ENTREEPASS in Singapore. You may register the Trademarks before the application to enhance chance of pass approval.
3. What types of Trademarks you can apply for?
Singapore classifies goods or services to be registered under the [Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services] for the Trademarks registration, which classifies into:
Goods – 34 broad categories
Services – 11 broad categories
Goods Trademarks, service marks, series marks, joint marks, certification marks and defensive marks can be registered in Singapore. An applicant may apply for a Trademark registration in respect of a particular class of goods or classes of goods, depending on the business of the company and the type of Trademark/service that he or she wishes to protect.
Trademarks can be in the form of letters, words, names, signatures, labels, devices, tickets, shapes and colour, or any combination of these elements.
4. What kind of Trademarks cannot be applied for?
The Trademark to be registered must be distinguishable from similar goods or services of other businesses. Trademarks that belong to the following conditions cannot be registered under the Trademark laws in Singapore:
- A Trademark that is easily confused with those of others that have been registered or a well-known Trademarks.
- A Trademark with the risk of misunderstanding or misidentification of the quality of the goods or the nature of the service.
- A Trademark that cannot be distinguished between the Trademark/service of oneself and others.
5. What kind of supporting documents you need to provide?
Trademark applications are not mandated. Once you decided to proceed to apply Trademarks in Singapore, strict compliance with the relevant provisions of IPOS must be followed. In Singapore, Trademark applications are required to provide the following information:
- A statement for the Trademark registration;
- Applicant’s name and local address;
- A clear logo (in .jpg). For 3D drawing, the outline map should clearly show all dimensions;
- A list of all the goods and services relating to the Trademark;
- A statement of intended use of the Trademark.
- Singapore adopts the “First come, first served” principle in Trademark’s protection.
- A Trademarks is valid for 10 years from the registration date and can be renewed for 10 years before the expiry date.
- If you are not resident in Singapore, you must entrust an agent with the Trademark application.
- The official language of Singapore is English, and applications should be submitted in English.
6. Singapore Trademark application process?
Search and Enquiry:
It is advisable to conduct a search of the existing trade marks in the database maintained by the Registry of Trade Marks. This is to ensure that there is no prior trade mark that is identical or similar to the one you intend to file for registration, particularly in the area of your business.
The application form information (TM4 form) can be submitted through online application and paper application:
- Submit application information and pay the application fee through the IPOS website or Applications;
- Fill in the relevant application form, collate the relevant information and send the completed form to the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore by post.
Issuance of Trademark application number:
If the information is incomplete, IPOS will send a correction notice to the applicant; if the information is complete, IPOS will issue the Trademark application number within 15 days after submission.
Examine if the mark is registrable in accordance to the Trademarks Act. The processing time is about 4-6 months. Trademark review is divided into two processes:
- Formal Review: IPOS reviews submitted application materials and determine if they need to be amended or corrected.
- Substantive examination: after the formal review, the IPOS shall send an examiner to examine whether the Trademark is the same or similar to the Trademarks previously applied for according to law. There is also a review to see if there is a violation of the prohibition in Singapore’s Trademarks Act.
If there is no objection to the Trademark application, the applicant will be informed of the acceptance of the application by IPOS. The application will be published for public inspection in the Trademarks Journal. During the publication period, any interested party may oppose the registration of a Trademark.
If there is no opposition to the registration of a Trademark, or has resolved in favour of the applicant, the Trademark will be registered and a registration certificate will be issued.
IPOS will accept Trademarks applications by mail/courier/fax/on-site before 15 June 2020. Subsequent applications can only be submitted electronically. If a Trademark is registrable, it will be published in a Trademarks Journal and the parties concerned may oppose the Trademark registration within 2 months. If the Trademark is not acceptable, the reasons for rejection will be stated in the review report and the applicant must appeal within 4 months.
7. How long does the Trademarks registration process take to?
The processing time required from submission to registration is approximately 12 months in the event of no defects or any objections in the application.
8. How to renew a Trademark once registration completed?
The validity period of a registered trademark in Singapore is 10 years from the date of filing. If it is necessary to continue to use it after the expiration of the validity period of a registered trademark, an application for renewal shall be applied for within 6 months before the expiration date.
According to IPOS, the registration of a Trademark may be revoked and invalid on any of the following circumstance:
- Without valid reasons, the owner of the registered mark has not commenced use of the mark within a period of five years after the completion of the registration procedure;
- Without valid reasons, the use of the mark was suspended for an uninterrupted period of five years;
- Due to the owner’s act or inactivity, the mark has become a common name in the trade for the goods or services which it is registered; and/or
- The manner in which the mark was used would mislead the public, particularly as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services applied for.
- The registration is in breach of the basic requirements of a trade mark registration as specified in the Trade Marks Act (e.g., it is a non-distinctive mark);
- The trade mark is in conflict with an earlier mark;
- There is fraud in the registration; and/or
- There is a misrepresentation in the course of the trademark application
If the proprietor would like to change the name or address, the proprietor may file an application for registration change in the Trademarks Register with the Trademarks authority in the form of a letter, the registration number of the relevant Trademarks and the content of the application for change of registration shall be indicated in the application.
The application for registration change shall state:
- the name and address of the proprietor;
- if the holder has an agent, the name and address of the agent;
- (3 If the proprietor has a delivery address, the delivery address.
If the proprietor needs to change the registered ownership, the proprietor or the newly acquired owner (hereinafter referred to as the “new owner”) may file an application for change of registration in the Trademarks register with the Trademarks authority in writing, the registration number of the relevant Trademarks and the content of the application for change of registration shall be indicated in the application.
This shall be stated in the change request and accompanied by one of the following documents:
- a copy of the contract may be required to provide a certificate issued by a notary public or any other government authority in order to confirm its authenticity;
- an extract of a contract showing a change of ownership, in order to confirm its authenticity, may be certified by a notary public or any other government authority;
- an unproven transfer certificate shall be formulated in accordance with the letter and contents stipulated in the Regulations of this Treaty and signed jointly by the registered holder and the new owner;
- unverified transfer documents shall be formulated in accordance with the letter and content stipulated in the Regulations of this Treaty and shall be signed jointly by the registered holder and the new owner.
Before registering Trademarks, please do not hesitate to inquiry TASSURE ASIA teams. We together with our lawyer provides integrated assessment of your Trademarks and professional guidance to improve the success rate of Trademarks registration and avoid the minefield of Trademarks registration and application.