As the Singapore government seeks to reduce physical movement and interactions in the country, both the courts and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have announced measures that will impact proceedings related to IP rights. Effective April 7, most courts in Singapore will only be hearing essential and urgent matters over the next four weeks and IPOS has announced the extension of many deadlines to May 8th.
Here we outline the specific details of these measures in relation to all three courts in Singapore and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
We now have clarity that over the next four weeks, the Supreme Court, the State Courts, and the Family Justice Courts in Singapore will only hear essential and urgent matters. In addition, the hearings will move to being conducted through electronic means of communication.
The IPOS remains operational and, prior to this date, had already implemented its enhanced Business Continuity Plan, with staff working from home and staying connected via video-conference facilities. The physical office may be closed, but IPOS continues to support via its various platforms and with key updates noted as follows:
- Filing deadlines for e-filing services are extended to 8 May 2020 for those required to respond between 7 April 2020 and 7 May 2020, inclusive.
- The period of priority for manual filings will be extended to 8 May 2020, where the final day of the priority claim period falls within 7 April 2020 to 7 May 2020.
- Cases under its Hearings and Meditation Department will also have deadlines extended to 8 May 2020.
- The deadlines highlighted have been automatically extended and customers need not file any deadline extension requests.
- Customers are encouraged to use the online portal, IP2SG, at www.ip2.sg, or the mobile app IPOS Go, for IP searches, submissions and transactions.
- All e-appointments will be conducted via telephone calls and/or email and all business and legal clinics will be conducted via tele-conferencing.
With these measures in place, it can be seen that the Singapore government is providing a good amount of certainty in these uncertain times, and IP rights owners can feel assured that local IP jurisprudence remains fair and efficient.
If you have any questions as to how these changes impact your IP portfolio in Singapore, please get in touch with your Gowling WLG contact within our global IP team. For other COVID-19 related resources and to download the latest copy of our guide to managing the risks and challenges of COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 resource hub. We are keeping this hub continuously updated with new content and insight to help you and your business during this unprecedented time.
You can also discuss any questions with our Singapore-based IP expert, Daniel Lee, who prepared this update. Daniel is a Senior Patent Attorney working in the offices of JurisAsia LLC. Gowling WLG has an exclusive association with JurisAsia LLC, a Singapore firm specialising in IP and corporate law.