Monday, July 13, 2009

Proposed changes to patent system

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore has called for public feedback on several proposed changes to the existing patent system.

Most significant are the suggested modifications to the current self-assessment regime. At present, the burden of whether patent claims meet the patentability criteria lie on applicants, and not the patent office. Patent applications will not be refused even in the light of negative examination reports; it is up to the applicant to amend the claims to address the examiner's objections. IPOS proposes to move away from the self-assessment regime by several means, including :

a. providing for informal hearings with the examiner before the examination report is issued;
b. disallowing amendments to claims after the examination report is issued;
c. refusing applications with negative examination reports;
d. only allowing reliance on fully positive IPRPs;
e. mandatory examination of all post-grant amendments.

Other areas of the patent system that are under consideration are :

1. imposing limits to extensions of time;
2. whether the restoration period for lapsed patents should be shortened from 30 months to 20 months;
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.

The deadline for feedback is 14 August 2009.

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