In conjunction with the World Intellectual Property Day 2020 celebrations themed “Innovate for a Green Future”, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will offer a pilot programme to accelerate grants of patent applications in all technology fields to just six months, starting from 4 May 2020. The programme – the SG Patent Fast Track – is the world’s fastest application-to-grant process of its kind.
The technology-neutral programme reflects the important role IP offices play in supporting innovators and their solutions to address global developments in sustainable development, and particularly in current times, that of public healthcare. Examples of technologies that the programme will benefit include:
- Technologies with a social impact (e.g. GreenTech relating to sustainable food production, climate change, waste, water and energy management),
- Technologies with healthcare impacts (e.g. digital health solutions, tracing apps, ventilators, diagnostics kits) among others, and
- Emerging technologies with a short product lifecycle (e.g. FinTech, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence).
Under the programme, innovators can expect their qualifying patent applications to be granted in as quickly as six months, compared to a typical period of two years or more. The pilot is planned to end on 29 April 2022. Circular No. 2/2020 details the eligibility criteria and application process.
Ms. Sharmaine Wu, Director of Patents, Designs & Plant Varieties of IPOS, said: “In these unprecedented times, IP Offices need to step up efforts to support solutions that deal with the global challenges. A week ago, IPOS International, a wholly-owned subsidiary under IPOS, announced a free online training course on IP essentials for businesses. We now offer this SG Patent Fast Track programme because we understand the needs of innovators. Through this, IPOS is staying ahead of the curve, and is committed to supporting innovators and enterprises across technology sectors to bring their products and services faster to investors and global markets. The move also strongly complements Singapore’s drive towards becoming a global research and development hub.”
The new scheme will replace IPOS’s two other successful initiatives, the FinTech Fast Track (FTFT) and Accelerated Initiatives for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) launched in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Till date, there have been 86 eligible applications under both schemes, 70% of which were filed by Singapore entities. Local companies that have obtained accelerated patent grants include Qrypted Technology and Skyrus Network.
The SG Patent Fast Track programme comes as global IP filing activities continue to grow at a rapid pace with patent filings around the world alone, exceeding 3.3 million, representing a 5.2% growth between 2017 and 2018. According to WIPO’s latest report, Asia is the hub for global patent filings, receiving over two-thirds (66.8%) of all applications filed worldwide in 2018. Singapore’s robust IP ecosystem has also seen a growth in patent applications filed through Singapore, with a 46% increase, from 9,685 to 14,136 between 2012 and 2019. Innovators are increasingly building their international IP and IA portfolios through Singapore, by relying on IPOS’s patent reports to support their request for patent processing internationally. In 2019, there was a 234% increase (year-on-year) in the use of IPOS reports to accelerate patent grants in other jurisdictions – including major economies like the US, Japan, China and Europe – via IPOS’s Patent Prosecution Highway network.