Monday, October 19, 2009
With respect to any international applications filed on or after 24 December 2009, Thailand will be automatically designated and will be elected in any demand for international preliminary examinations. Nationals and residents of Thailand will also be able to file PCT applications from 24 December 2009.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So here they are, the 2 most recent changes to the Patents Rules, which will take effect later this month :
1. The Hungarian Patent Office joins the Austrian, Australian and Danish Patent Offices on the panel of search and examination authorities appointed by IPOS.
2. The fees for post-grant search and examination will be revised to range from between S$2,600 and S$3,800, up from the current S$2,340 to S$2,515. The revised fees for the Austrian Patent Office will only take effect some time next year.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Citation : ASM Assembly Automation Ltd v Aurigin Technology Pte Ltd and Others  SGHC 206
Thursday, October 8, 2009
1. "The Artist and Copyright" at Art Singapore 2009 on Sunday, 11 October; and
2. "Intellectual Property Enforcement - An Overview of Trademark and Patent Cases" organised by the Law Society of Singapore on Thursday, 5 November.
We will also be attending FLAsia 2009 from 15 to 17 October and APAA 2009 from 18 to 22 November - do say hello if you are there as well.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
CCS had on, 16 June 2009, issued a Proposed Infringement Decision (“PID”) against the Express Bus Agencies Association (EBAA) and 16 companies for colluding to fix the prices of express bus tickets from Singapore to various destinations in Malaysia from 2006 to 2008.
The PID is a written notice setting out the facts and the grounds on which the CCS had reached its proposed decision so as to give the parties involved an opportunity to make representations or arguments against the findings of the CCS.
It is understood that the bus companies could collectively face fines of up to $1.75 million with one of the companies facing a fine of about $520,000.
Some of the express bus operators together with the EBAA have submitted their representations to the CCS within the 6 week deadline from the date of the issuance of the PID.
The CCS is now considering the representations and will issue a final decision in due course. The CCS will not release further details of the case at this stage.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, visits Singapore.
Besides, meeting Singapore dignitaries, Dr. Gurry will give a keynote speech at Trading Ideas 2009 together with Mr. Hisamitsu Arai, President & CEO of the Tokyo Small and Medium Business Investment & Consultation Co. Ltd. From the Trading Ideas website, it appears that Dr. Gurry’s speech will be on the topical subject of how the financial crisis is affecting the intellectual property sector and is entitled The Current Financial Crisis – Opportunity for the IP Landscape.
Dr. Gurry’s presence in Singapore also coincides with the establishment of the Singapore Office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, tomorrow, 28 July 2009. The Arbitration and Mediation Center is part of the WIPO - Singapore Office which was established in 2005 with the aim of establishing a stronger presence in Singapore from which to reach out to the region.
The opening of Arbitration and Mediation Center is part of WIPO’s plans to expand the Singapore Office’s scope to serve as a regional service centre for a range of IP international services currently provided by the WIPO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, including multi-jurisdictional IP registrations and patent information services besides alternate dispute resolution for IP matters.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
The Singapore High Court found that there was no infringement and held the following:
1. Mitac stylised mio was not identical to the Singtel mark notwithstanding that phonetically the marks are identical. In this regard, the court placed great weight on the fact that the Mitac mark was "highly stylised and distinctive." In the circumstances, it might be wise for proprietors of trademarks to register the block version of the mark rather than the mark as used otherwise they will face the same issues as Mitac did in this case. The problem, however, is where the block letter version cannot obtain registration for some reason or other.
2. If the court finds that the marks are identical, then there is no need to show a likelihood of confusion. However, where the court as in this case holds that the marks are not identical, then Mitac was weighed with the burden to show that there was a likelihood of confusion. In this regard and on the authority of the Polo case  2 SLR 690, an inquiry into the marketplace is relevant.
3. The court felt that there was no likelihood of confusion agreeing with the several reasons put forward by Singtel. The court went on to say that: "The marketing expenditure of and number of events [Mitac] participated in paled in comparison to [Singtel's], leading to the conclusion that it was unlikely that an average customer would think of [Mitac] at all when confronted with [Singtel's] trade marks."
4. If it is true that market power can affect the statutory rights afforded under the Trade Marks Act, then we are backing into the tort of passing off. In this case, the pervasiveness of Singtel in Singapore trumped Mitac's prior registration and weak marketing. One wonders what rights would be given to a mark which has not been used at all.
3. whether renewal reminders should be sent to patent owners before the renewal deadline;
4. whether second or subsequent new medical use claims should be allowable.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
2008 was a tough year for brands; valuations plunged as a result of the financial crisis. Intangible assets declined by USD$203 billion in the year with the worst hit being companies in the banking and real estate sectors.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It is yet unknown as to how many PPH cases there are under the 2-month old IPOS-USPTO PPH pilot programme; let's see if I can find out when I make a trip down to IPOS
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
As of today, www.facebook.com/singapore is still untaken. In Facebook-land, the great country of America, however, belongs to one Tegan Snyder of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Friday, June 12, 2009
1 "When you think of the following (product/service category), which is the best brand that comes to your mind? By best, we mean the one that you trust the most or the one that has the best reputation in the (product/service category)."
2 "Apart from the brand that you have just mentioned, which brand do you consider to be the second-best brand in the (product/service category)?"
HP was the top US brand in 6th place and Coca-Cola was 10th.
a. Company name
c. Email address
d. Trade mark
e. Trade mark registration number (in any jurisdiction)
Once registered, the personalised URLs will be non-transferable. We encourage trade mark owners to take preventive action now rather than to enforce trade mark rights later
Having said that, how will Facebook verify the identity of the person submitting the form, if at all? Mr. X could very well obtain a trade mark number of a well-known mark off any of the online databases then tick the little box that says he is authorised by the trade mark owner. Hmm, and what if someone tries "facebook.com/louisevuitton" or "facebook.com/kelvinkline"? What then? I can't help but wonder ...
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (“ICANN”) continuing efforts to infinitely expand the number of Generic Top Level Domains (“gTLDs”) beyond the current 21 which include .com, .net. and .org, have received mixed reviews. While cities and big brands are expected to be among the first applicants (think .newyork, .tokyo, .apple and .sony), it is without any doubt that cybersquatters will also be near, if not at, the head of the line.
Version 2 of the New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook was just released on 31 May 2009. In it contains the public's comments on various issues surrounding the new gTLDs, including trade marks, geographical names and Internationalised Domain Names ("IDNs").
One particular name in the Guidebook - James Seng - caught my eye. Seng, a Singaporean, has been lobbying for IDNs, particularly "CJK" (Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters) in an Anglo-centric Internet for the last 10 years. His dream of a truly international Internet echoes the Internet Society's slogan of yore : The Internet is for Everyone.
Sadly, as Seng laments, not much progress has been made. The latest Guidebook imposes a 3-character minimum for IDNs, which is perfectly sensible for English words (.boy, .car) [Edit : not for famous 2-letter brands like .ge, .lv and .ax though], but simply does not fit the nature of CJK where meaningful words may be formed by less than 3 characters. In his blog, Seng reminds ICANN that in 2008, Asia contributed to the largest growth of domain names (excluding .com). He ends the entry with an earnest plea : If ICANN is sincere about making gTLD successful, I beg you, please do not fumble in Asia.
Version 3 of the Guidebook is set to be released in end of June 2009 for yet another round of public comment. The fate of IDNs remains to be seen.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Police assistance is therefore invaluable in these circumstances. On Monday, 4 May 2009, after months of investigations which revealed a syndicate’s involvement in these night bazaars, the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of the Singapore Police Force successfully conducted a 16-hour islandwide raid, in various suburbs of Singapore. More than 10,000 pieces of counterfeit sports and luxury goods were seized from make-shift stalls. The street value of the goods amounted to more than S$360,000.
Three women and a man between the ages of 27 and 51 were arrested for selling the counterfeit goods.
David Ng was formerly the general manager and acting chief operations officer of The Shichida Method. After being dismissed in June 2007 for allegedly misappropriating a sum of S$160,000 in fees, Ng set up his own education centre. It is alleged that he proceeded to poach trainers and students from his former employer, and also tried to persuade the Japanese franchisor to appoint his company as the Singapore franchisee.
The suit was commenced in the High Court and is premised upon breach of confidential information. The evidence against Ng includes camera footage of Ng removing documents from his former employer’s office shorter after his dismissal, and of his trainers offering the former employer’s curriculum to his students’ parents.
In Ng’s defence, Senior Counsel Hri Kumar has argued that the suit is anti-competitive; an ex-employee should be allowed to use the skills and knowledge that he had acquired in the course of employment. He has further argued that Ng had not signed an employment contract and was therefore not subject to any obligation of confidentiality.
The Shichida Method’s former trainers have also been sued for breaching the secrecy clause in their contracts. Mr. Kumar has argued for the unenforceability of the clause as it does not stipulate what information is considered a trade secret.
This suit, which was heard on 4 May 2009, reminds employers that employees should be made to sign confidentiality agreements or have appropriate clauses included in their employment agreements. Confidential documents such as training manuals and customer lists should also be marked “confidential”. Security measures (e.g. password protection) should also be put in place to ensure that access to such information is restricted.
[Update (11/06/2009) : A source informs me that the matter has since been settled out of court.]
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Stay tuned for photographs!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
However, there is much room for improvement. Singapore is bested by countries in the Asia-Pacific region such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan which have software piracy rates of 26, 22 and 21 per cent respectively. Still, the staggering dollar losses continue to rise; from US$159 million in 2007 to US$163 million in 2008 (Singapore) and from US$14 billion in 2007 to US$15 billion in 2008 (Asia Pacific).
Globally, piracy has risen from 38 per cent to 41 per cent, despite decreases in 57 of the 110 countries surveyed.
Please note that the above references to software piracy pertain to personal computer software. I wonder what the figures would be like taking into account all other platforms such as Playstation and Xbox. If anyone out there has these statistics, please send them our way.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Some countries are upset by the rankings and feel misunderstood. South Korea is 33rd and they are not happy. They have formed a Presidential Council on Nation Branding and the goal is to move up to 15th place by 2013. An advisor has commiserated with S.Korea saying "One unfortunate thing is that South Korea shares its name with a rogue state."
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
One of the few Singapore brands with a global presence that comes readily to mind is ‘Singapore Airlines’. The other is ‘SingTel’ (telecommunications). Both ranked 246 and 318 respectively in the BrandFinance Global 500 report of April 2009, the Annual Report on the World’s Most Valuable Brands.
‘Singapore Airlines’ was ranked 280 in 2008 while ‘SingTel’ was unranked. The ranking in 2009 illustrates the positive progress these Singapore brands are making, globally.
‘Get Singapore Brands’ Launched
There are some home grown brands which enjoy recognition outside Singapore but lack the same recognition at home.
In addressing this, ‘Get Singapore Brands’, a non-profit organization was launched in March 2009. SPRING Singapore is funding the initiative. According to a recent Straits Times report there are currently 37 participating companies who pay subscription fees. The target is to get 100 companies.
The objective of ‘Get Singapore Brands’ is to market goods of the participating brands in Singapore and abroad and to create a greater awareness that Singapore produces well designed goods.
Another objective is to promote Singapore as a place known for good design and innovative retail ideas, and help participating companies exchange ideas and expertise.
The publicity extended to the participating brands is reported to include showcasing products in shopping malls, advertising campaigns and promotional materials extended to tourist. Moving forward, the publicity is expected to be extended abroad next year at international trade fairs and overseas missions.
This initiative is laudable and it is hoped that more companies will participate and take Singapore brands to the greater recognition and success that they rightly deserve.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For the uninitiated, "cordyceps" as defined by Wikipedia, is a genus of ascomycete fungi. What basically happens is this fungi (the most famous species out of about 400 others is called cordyceps sinensis) parasitizes ghost moth larvae in the winter. By summer, these larvae are completely killed and take on the appearance of dried herbs. Cordyceps have long been considered a precious ingredient in Chinese traditional medicines. It is believed that the benefits of consumption (usually boiled in soup) include improved lung and respiratory function. The Chinese name for the product is 冬 虫 夏 草 which literally means “winter worm summer grass”.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
- MYCHEW is not visually similar to HI-CHEW. The presence of the hyphen in HI-CHEW, the different beginnings in both marks (MY and HI-), the slant in MYCHEW all contributed to the "sea of visual differences" that virtually drowned out the common ending (CHEW) in the marks.
- MYCHEW is marginally similar to HI-CHEW aurally. The Registrar veered away from the oft-cited “first syllable” principle, and instead considered where the natural stress falls in both marks. She also found that the vowel sounds and vowel order in the marks (AI-EW) were strikingly similar.
- MYCHEW is not conceptually similar to HI-CHEW. The Registrar first identified the distinctive portion of the marks. Given that “chewing candy” was claimed by both marks, the Registrar found that the word “CHEW” was not likely to be taken as a distinctive feature. It was therefore the words “MY” and “HI” that consumers would pay attention to. As these simple English words had different meanings discernable to the general Singapore public, different conceptual impressions would be formed between MYCHEW and HI-CHEW.
Crown Confectionery Co Ltd v Morinaga & Co Ltd  SGIPOS 12
The opposition and invalidation succeeded.
An additional ground on which Panasonic Corporation prevailed in the opposition of the PENSONIC mark in class 9 was based on a then untested provision of the law, introduced on 1 July 2004, section 8(4)(a)(b)(i) of the Trade Marks Act which is applicable to well known marks. The Registrar held that since PANASONIC is a well-known mark to the relevant sector of the public and that a connection would be made between PENSONIC goods and PANASONIC goods, there would be a likelihood of damage to occur if PENSONIC was allowed to proceed to registration.
(i) Pensonic Corporation Sdn Bhd v Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd  SGIPOS 9 (Opposition)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ravi, Sugu and Vicki appeared and successfully defended the registration of an important Chinese trademark in the Singapore Court of Appeal; the mark was first used in the fifties and spanned China’s transition from a centralised, government-controlled economy to the modern, market-driven economy of today. The mark is reproduced below and was registered in Singapore for cordyceps, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
In a 137-page judgment (which may be viewed here), the court of three judges made the following important rulings:
1. The contention that a registered mark does not actually function as a trade mark should not be considered in a revocation based on non-use as it is not relevant to the question of whether or not a mark has been used but pertains instead to the effect of the use of mark.
2. The mere fact that a mark is popular or even the only one in the market does not ipso facto render the mark generic and undeserving of protection.
3. In assessing whether a mark possesses the requisite capacity to distinguish so as to constitute a trade mark, one should look only at the inherent features of the mark, and not the use of it. In this connection, the Court of Appeal expressly adopted the Philips approach  RPC 809 as opposed to the Bach approach  RPC 513 which the lower court had followed.
4. The court adopted the modified Ajit Weekly  RPL 25 combined test for bad faith i.e. not only must the actions of the registered proprietor fall short of the normally accepted standards of commercial behaviour, but the said proprietor knew of facts which would cause an ordinary, honest person to realise that such standards were being breached.
5. Fraud and/or misrepresentation in the registration of an assignment does not invalidate the original registration of the trade mark.
6. Once the grounds of invalidation or revocation are made out, the court does not have any residual discretion not to so invalidate or revoke.
7. A civil court should not exercise its discretion to grant a declaration of non-infringement where criminal proceedings for an offence under the Copyright Act have already been initiated.
The Court of Appeal also took the opportunity to comment on the fact that while the criminal prosecution of offences under the Trade Marks Act takes place in the Subordinate Courts, an attack on the registration by the accused person could only be initiated in separate proceedings in the High Court. This state of affairs under our laws is unsatisfactory as it resulted in a duplicity of proceedings. The court stated that in future such proceedings i.e. the criminal prosecution and the attack on the registration should be consolidated so that both matters could be heard expeditiously by the same judge.
Citation : Wing Joo Loong Ginseng Hong (Singapore) Co Pte Ltd v Qinghai Xinyuan Foreign Trade Co Ltd and Another and Another Appeal  SGCA 9