After amassing experience in the field of intellectual property for 6 years, it has become more and more apparent to us how important a trademark is to a business. It represents the company and its image is reflected in its products, rendered services and commercial activities.
The essence of establishing a trademark is to ascertain that the reputation of your business is well protected in all aspects from foreign competition. Other companies are unable to use an identical or similar sign without the exclusive consent of the registered trademark owner. At present, more and more companies are beginning to pay attention to their own trademark protection.
Singapore stands out as one of the best companies in the world to establish a business in due to political stability and a conducive business environment that is internationally acknowledged. It is an ideal country for many Chinese companies to settle down in; subsequently applying for trademark registration.
This brings us to the next point: applicants must apply through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to achieve trademark registration and obtain legal protection.
Singapore does not have any requirements regarding the nationality of the person submitting a trademark application. As long as the company's goods or services require it, an application can be made. However, bear in mind the following two points:
1. The application is non-mandatory and is wholly up to the business owner’s discretion.
2. The applicant must provide a stable Singapore address during the application period for contact and the applicant must also possess a SingPass or CorpPass account to apply on IPOS. If these conditions are not met, the applying party can alternatively seek professional help to get it done.
Types of trademarks
Singapore classifies trademark registration according to the International Nice Agreement, which includes 34 categories of goods and 11 categories of services. The specific categories can be viewed on the IPOS official website here.
Applicants can apply for a certain category of goods or several categories together according to the company's range of activities and the corresponding trademark/service category that they want to protect. For example, assuming a company's business covers business management and medical services, it needs to register for both categories at the same time.
The trademark must, however, be distinguishable from similar goods or services of other businesses.
The following forms can be registered as trademarks:
10. Combinations of the above elements
Filed applications must be strictly in accordance with the relevant IPOS regulations. In Singapore, trademark applications need to provide the following information:
1. Declaration of request for trademark registration
2. The name and address of the person involved in the application
3. Clear logo of the trademark
4. List all goods and services related to registered trademarks
5. A statement regarding the intended use of the trademark.
This section briefly outlines the application process from submission to approval. Before submission however, applicants should search the Singapore Trademark Registry in advance and check whether their trademark conflicts with any other existing trademarks. Do bear in mind that if a conflict is found, Singapore IPOS will not refund the trademark registration application fee.
1. Trademark application
After the required information is supplied, the application will enter the review stage. The applicant will receive a confirmation letter and the office will issue a trademark number to the application. If there are any amendments to the application, the Registrar will notify the applicant immediately through a defect letter. The amendment must then be completed within two months. If this amendment is not fulfilled within the stipulated time, the application will be invalidated by IPOS and considered to never have been filed.
2. Application review
IPOS will review the application to ensure that the trademark can be registered. The examiner may sometimes raise objections or suggest amendments to the application. In this case, the applicant will receive a detailed inspection report. The applicant must then make relevant amendments or submit information through the TM27 form and pay the related fees. IPOS provides four months to respond to such objections. If the applicant fails to respond within this time, IPOS will consider the application to have been withdrawn.
3. Published in "Trademark Magazine"
Once the application passes the examining stage, IPOS will publish it in the "Trademark Journal". This journal will be subject to public review for two months. If any party finds a problem with the trademark and lodges a formal dispute, the applicant will receive a copy of the notice of opposition. The applicant will have to follow up with a defence of his or her own trademark, after which IPOS will come up with a final verdict to close the case.
4. Trademark registration
Assuming all the conflicts are resolved and the case is ruled in the applicant’s favour, the trademark will then be finalized. The certificate of registration will be awarded to the applicant and this will be valid for ten years in Singapore. It is hence necessary to renew the trademark every 10 years.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Most trademark applications proceed smoothly without any oppositions.
Generally speaking, the time required to apply for a trademark in Singapore is generally 4 to 6 months, depending on how the applicant handles it. Alternatively, to speed the entire process up, you can opt to contract an external firm to help you handle it.
Wemedia Consulting has been committed to helping overseas brands settle in Singapore for many years. With up to 5 years of industry consulting and management experience, we provide clients with trademark search & application at the most affordable of prices. If you have any queries regarding our services, please feel free to chat with us privately.
Here are our rates below: