Guide to Filing a Registered Design in Singapore

Does your Design meet the registration criteria?

Before applying to register your design, you should check if your design meets the registration criteria. Here are some quick questions to guide you on determining the registrability of your design:

1. Is your design new?

Your design must not have been registered in Singapore or elsewhere, or published anywhere in the world before the date of application of the first filing.

You should be careful not to show, sell or advertise your design to a third party or to the public before applying for registration of your design. If someone has seen your design before you file an application, your design may not qualify for legal protection because the design is no longer considered new and original.

It is a good idea to run a search on existing design public databases to see if it already exists. You can also avoid scenarios where there might be possible infringement of other registered deigns. You can conduct this search on the IPOS digital hub database or World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) database or databases of other countries, that are generally found on the respective national IP offices’ websites.

2. Is your design registrable?

Under the Singapore Registered Designs Act, the following cannot be registered:

  1. Designs that are contrary to the public order or morality.
  2. Computer programs or layout-designs of integrated circuits.
  3. Designs applied to certain articles: Works of sculpture (other than casts used or intended for use as models or patterns to be multiplied by any industrial process); wall plaques, medals and medallions; and printed matter primarily of a literary or artistic character (including book jackets, calendars, certificates, coupons, dress-making patterns, greeting cards, labels, leaflets, maps, plans, playing cards, postcards, stamps, trade advertisements, trade forms and cards, transfers and similar articles)
  4. Any method or principle of construction.
  5. Designs that are solely functional.
  6. Designs that are dependent upon the appearance of another article or non-physical product of which it is intended by the designer to form an integral part;
  7. Designs that enable the article or non-physical product to be connected to, or placed in, around or against, another article or non-physical product so that either article or non-physical may perform its function.
>> Some of the above can or may be protected by other IP rights. For example, a method of construction may be protected by a patent and a computer program may have protection under copyright law.

Filing a Singapore RD Application

To apply for registered design application in Singapore, a complete application for filing a design in Singapore shall have the following:

(i) Representation of the design

Representation of the design (for example, perspective, top, bottom, right and left side views, etc.) clearly showing the appearance of the design features that you want to protect.

Designs can be in lined drawings or photographs. They should be of a quality that is suitable for reproduction (i.e. at least 300 dpi resolution).

Registration of 2 or more designs are acceptable in a single application. Each design must fall in the same class, or all of the same classes (see below), under the registrable classification, to which each of the other designs is intended to be applied.

(ii) Classification and product name

The design should be classified in a single class and sub-class under the Locarno Classification, which is established by the Locarno Agreement (1968) and is an international classification of goods used for the purposes of registration of industrial designs in member countries.

(iii) Statement of Novelty

This statement describes the features of the design which you consider to be new, and which you wish to claim rights to. For example, “Novelty resides in the _____ as shown in the representation.”

A disclaimer should be used to disclaim any generic elements such as numerals, letters, trade marks or other features used in the design.

If a major part of the article or non-physical product to which your design applies contain words, letters, trademark or numerals, the statement of novelty should also include:

“No claim is made to any right to the exclusive use of the *word, *letters, *trade mark or *numerals (*delete as appropriate) appearing in the design.”

Priority Claim

Singapore, like many countries, allows priority claims to be made in a design application.

If you have a design application filed earlier in a Paris Convention country or a World Trade Organization (WTO) member country (other than Singapore), you may claim this earlier filed application as priority in your subsequent corresponding Singapore design application, provided that the Singapore application is made within 6 months from the Date of Filing of the earlier filed application.

Similarly, an application which is first filed in Singapore can be used to claim priority in a corresponding application filed in a Paris Convention country or a World Trade Organization member country, provided that the corresponding application is filed within 6 months from the date of the first-filed Singapore application.

For a list of parties to the Paris Convention and members of the WTO, please refer to this link.

Design Application Process in Singapore

After you file a design application, IPOS examines your application and within a few weeks to make sure it meets the formalities requirements.

If IPOS raises any formalities objections, IPOS will issue an objection and the Applicant will have a few months to reply.

Once the objections have been overcome, and the application is acceptable, IPOS registers your design and issues a Certificate of Registration. Your design will then be advertised in the IPOS Designs Journal and your design drawings will be made publicly available on the IPOS design database.