IPOS Initiates Public Consultation on Review of Registered Designs Regime in Singapore


On 16 May 2014, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched a public consultation of a review of the registered designs regime in Singapore. The review relates to the legislation of registered designs, with the objective being to adapt the Singapore design legislation due to recent trends in business and technology. The closing date for submissions to IPOS will be 6th June 2014.

The main issues that IPOS is seeking feedback from stakeholders and the public include:

1. Definition of “design” in the Registered Designs Act: IPOS is considering amending the definition to include other types of designs such as Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs), interior layouts, computer generated graphics, etc.
2. Partial designs: IPOS is considering whether design protection should be extended to include “partial designs”, where only a part of an article, instead of the whole article, is protected.
3. Unregistered design right: IPOS is considering whether an unregistered design regime should be created to provide automatic, free design protection for designs without requiring the designs to be registered. This is similar to the UK unregistered design right.
4. Substantive examination for designs: IPOS is studying whether to carry out substantive examination for all or some design applications.
5. Grace period: IPOS is proposing to provide a grace period to allow the design owner to register his or her design even after he or she has publicly disclosed his or her design to others. This is similar to provisions in the EU and the UK.
6. Multi-design applications: IPOS is proposing to simplify the filing and prosecution of multi-design applications.
7. Design-Copyright interface: IPOS is proposing to re-examine the interface between design protection and copyright protection with respect to original artistic works in which copyright exists.
8. 3-D printing: IPOS is seeking feedback on the impact of the emerging 3-D printing technology on intellectual property protection in Singapore.
9. Spare parts: IPOS is seeking feedback on the “must match” and “must fit” exclusions with regards to spare parts; more particularly, whether these exclusions should be modified or refined.
10. Novelty of design: IPOS is considering adopting the UK position on prior publication; that is, limiting its scope to only those publications which would make the potentially novelty-destroying disclosure reasonably available to the relevant industries in the normal course of business.

The public consultation is timely, as it provides an opportunity to address issues that have arisen during the implementation of the Registered Design Act, as well as to bring the registered designs regime in Singapore more in-line with practices that have been developed elsewhere. The proposed changes, if implemented, may potentially provide a boost to designs-related industries such as media, fashion, and consumer products.

If you would like our firm to make submissions on your behalf before IPOS as part of the review process, please get in contact with the authors of this article.

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