Singapore has modernized its intellectual property legislation in 1998 when the new Trademark Act was enabled. The new law meets all the requirements of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property. This is not the only international agreement on intellectual property rightsSingapore has signed as the city-state wants to provide the best conditions for companies wanting to register trademarks here.
The Singapore Trademark Act allows both local and foreign companies operating here to register trademarks. However, the provisions of the Trademark Law only applies in Singapore. Companies wanting to use their rights in other countries are required to apply for trademark registration in those respective countries. The petition can be submitted remotely through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
Types of trademarks available for registration in Singapore
There are several types of trademarks available under the Singapore Intellectual Property Law:
- the simple trademark;
- the collective trademark;
- the certification trademark.
The simple trademark is the most employed as it can be registered by natural persons and companies and it is used for protecting goods and services.
The collective mark is usually used by associations and companies seeking to protect goods and services and is usually employed by the members of the respective companies or associations.
The certification trademark is registered when the owner wants to obtain protection for a specific characteristic of a good or service. This is usually the case of indications of origin, manufacturing and production ways, materials goods are made of.
If you want to open a company in Singapore and want to have the goods or services it provides registered as trademarks, our representatives can advise you and can represent you throughout the procedure.
Trademark registration criteria in Singapore
According to the law, a sign or any other graphic representation that will be used as a trademark must meet several requirements that need to be checked before registration. The applicant must make sure that the chosen representation:
can be represented graphically and is not offensive if it contains words;
can be used to distinguish goods or services from other trademarks’ holders;
is distinctive, meaning that it has unique traits and will not be mistaken for another trademark;
is not similar in a confusing way to another trademark registered in Singapore.
Once these aspects are checked, the applicant can start the trademark registration procedure. No matter if you want to register a trademark for your company or any other reason, our Singapore company formation advisors can handle the entire process on your behalf. We will only need a power of attorney to represent you.
Singapore trademark verification before registration
There are several steps that need to be completed before registering a trademark in Singapore. Even if not all of them are mandatory, it is good to know that their completion will help with obtaining the trademark certificate in the timeframe provided by the Trade Marks Registry.
As read above, a trademark must meet certain criteria before registration and one of the most important is for it to be distinctive compared to trademarks that are already in use. Also, the uniqueness of the trademark will be verified by the agents of the Registrar, however, this aspect can be checked by the applicant before filing the registration file.
The verification can be completed online with the Trade Marks Register and can be handled by our company registration agents in Singapore. We can check all relevant aspects related to the characteristics of the trademark you want to register and make sure the application file is complete.
You can read about the trademark registration procedure in Singapore in the infographic below:
How to register a trademark in Singapore?
The trademark is a graphical sign designed to represent a company’s activities or services. The trademark must be unique. Before starting the trademark registration procedure, the applicant is advised to verify if the desired sign has not been used by another person or company. The applicant must also check the class the trademark will be registered under. IPOS has 45 classes of goods and services. Our specialists in company registration in Singapore can provide you with more information about the classification of trademarks.
The trademark application procedure is quite simple and direct in Singapore and can be completed online. An applicant is allowed to register several classes of trademarks. Once all the requirements are fulfilled, the Registry or Trade Marks within the IPOS will verify the trademark and decide on its registration. The applicant will be notified within six months if their trademark was accepted for registration.
Classes of goods and services in trademark registration in Singapore
When registering a trademark in Singapore, the applicant is required to select one or more classes for the sign he or she will use. The International Classification of Goods and Services is used to classify trademarks and it based on the Nice Classification which is made of 34 categories for goods and 11 for services.
When filing the trademark application file, the user must know exactly the class his or her trademark falls under in order to not have the application rejected. Also, applicants can use more than one class, no matter if they want to register the trademark for representation of a product or a service.
The Nice Classification is used both at national and international level, which is why it is very useful when seeking multi-level protection for a trademark. Also, international recognition will be easier under the Nice Classification even if a country is a signatory member of the agreement.
If you want to register a trademark in Singapore and need guidance in choosing one or more classes for the mark you want to use, our local consultants can help you. It should be noted that the registration fee depends on the number of classes requested.
Documents needed for trademark registration - listed by our specialists in who can help you open a company in Singapore
Singapore companies or residents wanting to register a trademark with theIPOS must submit the following documents:
- a declaration for trademark registration;
- the name and the address;
- a representation of the trademark;
- a list with the goods and services the trademark will represent;
- a declaration on how the trademark will be used;
- evidence of paying the registration fees.
Our local agents can help you prepare the documents required for trademark registration in Singapore.
Steps of the trademark registration procedure in Singapore
The registration of a trademark in Singapore is a lengthy process, however, this is not uncommon. Compared to other countries around the where the procedure can take more than one year to complete, in Singapore the registration certificate can be obtained in around 9 months.
The steps to complete upon trademark registration in Singapore are:
the application filing procedure;
the examination of the application file;
the publication of the trademark;
the registration of the trademark.
During the application procedure, all documents mentioned above must be prepared and filed with IPOS and the registration fee must be paid. The fee depends on the number of classes of goods or services the trademark will represent. As a tip, the lowest fee is available for online applications.
During the examination procedure, the trademark application file will be verified by IPOS agents in order to make sure it can be registered. Once again, it is not unusual for the applicant to be requested to bring certain amendments in order to complete the file. In this case, an amendment form and fee must be paid. However, this can lead to the delay of the registration of the trademark, this is why it is recommended to use specialized services, especially in the case of foreign citizens or company representatives.
Our company registration specialists in Singapore can verify the application file before submission with IPOS and make the necessary changes for a smooth procedure.
If the trademark is accepted for publication, the applicant will be notified about its publication in the Trade Marks Journal.
The publication of the trademark
One of the important steps in trademark registration in Singapore is publication. Its importance relies in the fact that the trademark will remain published for 2 months in order to make sure there will be no public opposition. If no one opposes the registration, the procedure will continue, however, if any opposition is filed, the process will be suspended until the situation is clarified.
Our local consultants can advise those who need assistance in trademark oppositions in Singapore.
Once all the steps are completed, and any opposition situation is resolved (if the case requires it), the trademark is registered and the Certificate of Registration with a validity of 10 years is issued.
Common causes for trademark registration rejection in Singapore
There are various grounds for which a trademark application can be rejected and in most of the situations this happens when the file is not complete. Also, not having the trademark verified prior to registration can also lead to the rejection of the file. If the first error can be corrected rather easy, in the second case, oppositions can be filed against the trademark which is an aspect our specialists can help with.
When publishing the trademark in the Official Gazette, the sign will be made available to the general public so that if any conflict arises, the Registrar can reject the inaccurate objection. There are also cases in which the rejection can be followed by a legal conflict, which is when the assistance of a lawyer is recommended.
It is important to note that having the application file rejected will lead to significant delays in the registration of the trademark.
If you need advice on how to correctly file the trademark registration application, do not hesitate to ask for our dedicated services.
Trademark opposition procedures in Singapore
Trademark oppositions can be filed during the publication phase. Objections need to be filed with IPOS which will investigate the case. A trademark will usually remain published for two months and any opposition must be filed within this timeframe. If after the objection is filed the applicant wants to continue the registration, he or she must submit a counter statement which must provide for the reasons supporting the request. In other words, the applicant must prove the registration procedure should continue. In most cases, the parties are invited to solve the conflict through arbitration or mediation and after two weeks of the remediation of the dispute, the parties must notify IPOS on the result.
How to ensure the creation of a unique trademark in Singapore
In most cases, companies and even natural persons seeking to register trademarks in Singapore choose to work with specialized companies that provide logo and branding solutions. Even if the company will do most of the work, it is the client’s job to inform them about the services or goods the trademark will represent. This is why it is good to avoid trademarks that describe the quality, the purpose, the quantity or even a specific production year of the goods or services. Also, common names and geographical locations should be avoided in order to not engage in conflicts with previously registered trademarks.
What applicants should focus on, in exchange, are the distinctive features of the goods or services of the desired trademark.
An important aspect that needs to be taken into account upon the creation of a trademark is for it to respect the International Classification of Goods and Services provided under the Nice Agreement, as Singapore is a member of this convention. For goods, the applicants can choose between 34 classes, while for services, 11 classes are available. The class must be written in the application form.
If you want to open a company in Singapore and want to register its name as a trademark, our local advisors can help you. It is actually quite common for business owners to register company names as trademarks in Singapore.
International trademark registration in Singapore
Many companies from Singapore or abroad seek to sell their goods or services at international levels and in order to ensure the recognition of their brands they want to have their trademarks registered at international level. This is possible in the case of Singapore business owners who can apply for registration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
There are a few requirements that need to be met in order to ensure a successful international trademark registration for Singapore companies or individuals and these are:
- the trademark must have been registered with IPOS first;
- the applicant must be a Singapore resident citizen or company;
- the application can be filed directly with IPOS;
- the trademark will be automatically recognized in countries that have signed the Madrid Protocol.
Singapore is a signatory member of various international agreements on intellectual property rights protection which gives those who register trademarks or other IP rights here various benefits. Just like in the case of Singapore trademark protection, international protection is also ensured for 10 years.
If you want to file an application for international trademark protection, our Singapore company formation officers can help you.
IP incentives in Singapore
Singapore is one of the states in which intellectual property, including trademark registration, can attract important incentives offered by the government. The Singapore Economic Development Board has enabled the IP Development Incentive under which companies can benefit from reduced corporate tax rates of 5% or 10% for qualifying intellectual property-related income. Among these are royalties, patents and copyrights.
Why register a trademark in Singapore?
Singapore is one of the most important financial and commercial centers in Southeastern Asia, as many goods and products are manufactured here and reach clients all over the world. Those who want to protect their goods and services know how important a trademark is as it offers the following advantages:
- exclusivity on the usage of the respective trademark;
- the right to sell the rights to the trademark to third parties and protection against those who use it abusively;
- an increased value of the goods and services represented by the trademark;
- the confidence of clients and customers who know they use genuine products.
From a financial point of view, it is useful to know that the SingaporeGovernment offers up to 400% tax rebates on the costs related to the registration of trademarks under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme.
According to IPOS, the number of trademark registration applications has been constant between 2016 and 2018, as it follows:
- in 2016, the total number of trademark registration applications was 53,000;
- out of these, 10,432 applications were from local applicants, while 42,568 came from foreign ones;
- in 2017, the number of applications reached 50,035;
- in 2018, the number of trademark application filings was over 70,000.
The main steps for registering a trademark in Singapore can also be watched in the video below created by our experts in company formation matters in Singapore:
FAQ on trademark registration in Singapore
How long does it take to register a trademark in Singapore?
According to IPOS, the usual timeframe for trademark registration is 8 to 12 months.
Is multi-class trademark registration available in Singapore?
Yes, starting with 2007, multi-class trademark registration is possible in the city-state.
What is the main reason a trademark is rejected for registration?
In most cases, similarities with other trademarks can cause the rejection of registration of a new mark.
What do I do if I have been using a trademark for a longer time without registering it?
You can still file for trademark registration, however, you must make sure the trademark has not been registered by another person of company. Also, proof with the timeframe the trademark was used must be filed with IPOS.
Can I renew the trademark after expiry?
The trademark renewal application must be filed before expiry.