Patent laws in the region vary in their effectiveness. Regulations across jurisdictions to crack down on infringers are in a constant state of renewal and revision in order to stay ahead of those who steal intellectual property. Keeping the trolls at bay depends on staying abreast of regional developments in patent law
The Singapore Patents Act is modelled after the UK statute and, as such, the general approach is similar to the English approach. Below are options available to patentees looking to enforce their patents, as well as to parties on the other side of the fence that are faced with a patent infringement claim or potential claim.
What are the options for challenging the validity of a Singapore patent? A Singapore patent can be challenged on the usual grounds, namely, lack of novelty or inventive step, insufficiency, added matter, and double-patenting. The fact that the patent was obtained fraudulently or on a misrepresentation is also a ground for revocation, although this ground is not commonly raised. Unlike some other jurisdictions, lack of clarity of the patent claims is not a ground for revocation.
An application for patent revocation must be filed in the registry, unless there are proceedings in the High Court, for example for infringement, groundless threats or a declaration of non-infringement, in which event the validity of the patent may be put into issue before the High Court as part of these proceedings.
The typical timeframe for a revocation action before the registry is around 18 months to three years. The parties will be given an opportunity to file and exchange their respective cases and evidence, and the proceedings will culminate in a hearing. The registry’s decision can be appealed to the High Court.
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