There are three options for trademark registration in Singapore depending on the origin of the products and/or services, the location of regional offices/branches of the company, and the designated territories or nations where the products and/or services are sold.
To better understand how to protect your brand in Singapore and overseas, let’s break down the three different trademark registration processes.
Registering a Trademark in Singapore
Before your company in Singapore can apply to register trademark or list your company name on IPOS, it must satisfy the following conditions: the trademark should be represented graphically; the trademark must be distinct or unique; the trademark should be able to distinguish your goods and/or services from others;and the trademark must not be confused with or look similar to another existing or registered mark to acquire proper brand protection.
Trademark registration applications are submitted at the Intellectual property Office of Singapore (IPOS). For the mark to be covered by intellectual property rights it must be registered as early as possible to avoid objections by similar marks. The owner should also try to search for similar marks before applying to register trademark. Finally, the owner should study the classification of trademarks based on the goods and/or services that will be covered. Look for the guidelines in the Nice Classification, because you will need this when filing the documents.
First, the applicant must provide the following details: name and address of the trademark owner; graphical representation of the trademark; complete list of the goods and/or services covered by the trademark registration; declaration of the intent to use the trademark; and the application fee. The fees are per class of goods and/or services. The fees will vary depending on where the application was submitted (online or manual filing).
Next, the trademark is examined to determine if it can be registered. In case there are amendments to your trademark registration application, you will have to complete the following: amendments form, pay the amendment fee, and pay the bureau charges of the application was filed manually.
Once approved, the trademark is published in the Trade Marks Journal to allow the public to examine it for two months and file an objection. If there are oppositions, a hearing may be necessary, and the application process suspended.
Finally, if there are no objections, the owner will be issued the Registration Certificate. The intellectual property laws are applicable for the next ten years and is renewable.
The trademark application process in Singaporetakes up to 9 months before the certificate is granted.
Registering Trademark Outside Singapore
If the applicant has filed a trademark registration outside of Singapore within the last 6 months, he/she may apply for priority claim when submitting the documents at IPOS before proceeding to submit chinese product name as a protected mark. It is important for your brand to trademark chinese words in order to avoid objections by other existing marks if there are logos or designs that looks similar, especially from applicants who have not yet completed their registration yet. As an owner, you may also ask assistance from professionals on how to register chinese brands, seek for a similar registered mark, and to study the Nice Classification of the goods and/or services that will be covered by the trademark application.
When applying for trademark registration outside Singapore, the applicants should submit the documents either at IPOS or in the respective countries. Filing is done via the Madrid Protocol or Madrid System.
Those who wish to register trademark at IPOS will need to submit the following: Form MM2(E), administrative fee, WIPO fees. IPOS will then review the application before submitting it to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The owner will be notified and provided a deadline in case there are missing documents.
The IPOS will then certify the application and send it to IB or International Bureau for examination. If approved, the trademark is published in the WIPO Gazette and recorded in the International Register. The owner is given a corresponding IR number.
Finally, the IB will send the trademark registration to the countries designated in your application for further examination before you can receive the protection of your trademark.
Designating Singapore (Madrid Protocol)
Businesses outside Singapore that wish to protect their trademark in the country can apply for trademark registration using the same process detailed above. Singapore should be a designated country in your application either as a subsequent designation or an international designation. The same process will take 9 months as well once IPOS receives the certification from WIPO.
Only trademarks that have been registered in the origin country can designate Singapore. This means that you will need to file in the home Intellectual Property office, the same agency that will forward your application to WIPO.
WIPO will then examine the trademark registration application, record the trademark in the International Register, and publish it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks. This will allow the public to file objections if there are similar marks. If there are no objections, WIPO will send the owner a certificate for international trademark registration.
Once IPOS receives the notification from IB/WIPO, examination of the trademark will begin. This will give time for other applicants and existing registered mark owners to file objections. If there is an objection, the applicant will be given Provisional Refusal of Protection for four months. The owner must respond, or the application will be withdrawn.
If there are no objections, the trademark will be published in the Trade Marks Journal for public examination. Objections will be entertained for the next two months.
If there are no objections within two months of publication, the IPOS will give the owner the Statement of Grant of Protection.