If the Patents (Amendment) Bill is passed by Parliament, patent applicants would be faced with a more stringent examination procedure from 1 January 2020 as the supplementary examination route would be discontinued.
Patent applicants would then have to choose from one of the two remaining routes of search and examination:
(a) Conduct both the search and examination in Singapore.
(b) Conduct the examination in Singapore based on the search report from one of the prescribed foreign patent offices.
The discontinuance of the supplementary examination route (ie where both the search and examination results from one of the prescribed foreign patent offices are reviewed by Singapore in a “supplementary examination”) would enhance our patent regime by increasing the quality of patents and cause stakeholders and the general public to have greater confidence in our patent system.
The Patents (Amendment) Bill also proposes to allow inventors to disclose their inventions publicly within a grace period of 12 months prior to their patent applications. This change, if passed by Parliament, would allow inventors to attract investors or publish scientific papers prior to a patent application being filed. This better caters to current business needs and practices.