Intellectual property (IP) registration and acquisition are becoming an increasingly essential aspect of conducting business in Singapore and participating in the global knowledge-based economy.
The primary aim of registering intellectual property is to ensure that you, as the owner, have the only right to use, licence, or sell it. It also protects you legally, preventing others from exploiting your idea/product without your permission or pay, and allowing you to benefit from them.
With the establishment of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the adoption of the IP Hub Master Plan (which intends to establish Singapore as the centre for IP in Asia), registering IP in Singapore has become easier.
In Singapore, many forms of intellectual property are recognised and can be registered. Patents, registered designs, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets are examples of these. Continue reading to learn about the distinctions between them and which could be significant to your company.
Patents are used to protect intellectual property that has a technical component. New medications, devices, appliances, and even freshly created materials are examples of this. It is crucial to note, however, that patents are more concerned with the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ of an end product.
If a patent application is successful in Singapore, the patentee is given a 20-year restricted monopoly. This, however, necessitates the applicant submitting patent specifications/blueprints that will be publicised and accessible to the general public.
Rather than design patents, Singapore utilises ‘registered designs’ to protect a product’s external look, regardless of use or mechanism. If a business were to introduce a new phone, for example, it would need a patent to protect any new technology, such as new types of sensors, as well as a registered design to protect the phone’s look from being copied.
Registered designs provide protection following the first ‘industrial application’ of the design, meaning that more than 50 copies are intended to be produced for sale.
Copyrights are used to safeguard works of art, whether they be literary, musical, visual, or performing. This type of protection is also available in Singapore for ‘useful’ items that cannot be covered by a patent or registered design.
All copyright protection will be applied for a certain length of time. Depending on the sort of copyright work, this varies. It may be 70 years from the year of the author’s death for literary, theatrical, musical, and artistic works, and 50 years from the year of the program’s creation for broadcast and cable shows.
Trade secrets, including confidential information and technological know-how, are protected in Singapore, largely via reputation and goodwill, as well as common law.
However, there are no registration procedures or legal requirements in place for this type of intellectual property. NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) are suggested, as well as basic best practises, such as limiting the number of persons who have access to sensitive information.
Brand names, logos, and phrases used in marketing and storytelling are protected by trademarks. For example, a trademark can protect a brand name like “Microsoft” from being used by other businesses, but it can also protect a character name like “Spider-Man” or an image like the Nike emblem.
The rights to a trademark in Singapore are permanent if the firm or individual continues to use it in connection with their business.
Unregistered trademarks can be acquired in Singapore if a firm has traded under that name for a long time and the association has become strong. Of course, there are restrictions on what may be used as a trademark, and the Consumer Protection Act safeguards consumers from the abuse of trademarks and trade names.
As you can see, intellectual property is a significant asset for your business that may help you stand out from the competition. This provides you the confidence to work with other firms, which opens up new prospects in Singapore and elsewhere.
Protect your identity and register a trademark in Singapore. Reach out to us and let our intellectual property consultants walk you through the process.