Singapore launches new initiative to fast-track FinTech patents


The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has launched a new FinTech Fast Track (FTFT) initiative designed to expedite the patent application-to-grant process for FinTech inventions.

The objective of the FTFT is to support the growth of FinTech innovations in Singapore, as well as enable businesses to market and commercialise their products and services more rapidly in view of the shorter lifecycle of a FinTech product or service. Under this initiative, an applicant can expect to get a patent granted as quickly as 6 months; as compared to at least two years for standard patent applications. The FTFT initiative is effective from 26 April 2018 for a period of 12 months and no additional fee is required to participate in this FTFT initiative.

How to qualify for FTFT

In order to qualify for FTFT, an application has to be related to FinTech,first filed in Singapore and contain 20 or fewer claims. A request for the grant of patent form and a request for search and examination report form must be filed on the same day. To avoid any possible delays in the prosecution, the applicant must also  respond within two weeks from the date of receipt of any formalities examination adverse report and within two months from the date of receipt of a written opinion,. A supporting document tagged as “Fast Track” document stating that the application is related to FinTech also has to be completed when submitting the request for search and examination report form.

FinTech related inventions

FinTech refers to technology applied in financial-related services or used to help companies manage the financial aspects of their businesses. According to an announcement from IPOS, some examples of FinTech-related inventions include:

  1. electronic payment: patent applications relating to transaction methods on technology realised for transaction of goods and services over a network are considered to be FinTech. Other examples of electronic payment include mobile payment, streamlined payment, integrated billing and mobile money;
  2. investment platforms: an investment platform which adopts data analytics to improve the efficiency of viability assessment of funding opportunities for companies is an example of an investment platform that could be classified as FinTech;
  3. insurance technology: the use of matching systems, utilising network technology, for consumers to interact directly with insurance providers, as well as platforms implemented using machine learning to provide automated advice and wealth management are examples of FinTech inventions;
  4. blockchain and banking: the incorporation of blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of clearing and settlement across borders for transaction and payment is deemed as a FinTech invention; and
  5. security, fraud and authentication: the utilization of machine learning and big data analytics to prevent fraudulent payment transactions is considered a FinTech invention. Other applicable examples include the use of artificial intelligence solutions to provide digital identification and verification.

FinTech inventions could also involve alternative due diligence, virtual exchanges and smart contracts, as well as market information platforms. FinTech inventions typically utilize enabling technologies, such as data analytics, Internet-of-Things (IOT), mobile platforms, cloud computing, artificial intelligence/machine learning and cryptocurrency, in order to improve the provision of financial services.

FinTech companies that are looking to patent their inventions should consider utilising this new FTFT initiative for an expedited application-to-grant route in order to help market and commercialise their products and services more rapidly. If you have any questions regarding this new FTFT initiative, please feel free to contact us.

Authors: Serene Ong, Principal and Cheryl Chow, Patent Engineer

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