What Are The Types Of Intellectual Property Rights In Singapore?

Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in General | 0 comments

What Are The Types Of Intellectual Property Rights In Singapore?

Different Intellectual Property Rights



A trade mark is a recognisable word, slogan, design or combination thereof, used by to distinguish the goods and services of one business from those of their competitors. The sign must fulfil certain conditions in order to be protected as a trade mark or other type of mark. It must be distinctive, and must not mislead or deceive customers. It must also not violate public order or morality. Further, the sign that is to be registered as a trade mark must not be identical or similar to that of existing trade marks.

In this regard, a trade mark can be used as a marketing tool as customers will relate it to a badge of origin for goods and services offered. Using a trade mark is essential in the aspect of building goodwill and reputation, and it conveys to customers a certain assurance to the nature of the products and services they purchase. Trade mark protection ensures that the owners of marks have the exclusive right to use them to identify goods or services, or to authorize others to use them in return for consideration.

Period of protection: indefinite.
Renewal due: every 10 years from date of application.
Some examples of famous trade marks are Starbucks, Macdonalds, MTV, and Volkswagen.


A patent essentially protects how a product works, what the product does, how a process is done, or what a product is made of. For an invention to be patentable it must satisfy the following criteria, the invention must be novel and not known publicly, the invention must have an inventive step over an existing product or process and lastly, the invention must be capable of industrial application.

A patent grants the owner of an invention the exclusive right to prevent others from unauthorised manufacturing, using, importing or selling of their invention. Patent owners may give permission to, or license, other parties to use their inventions on mutually agreed terms. Owners may also sell their invention rights to someone else, who then becomes the new owner of the patent.

Period of protection: Up a maximum of 20 years.
First annuity due: for the 5th year of the patent, and must be paid prior to the expiry of the fourth year from the date of filing of the patent.
Annuities due: annually from the 5th year of the patent. Thereafter, renewal fees are payable within the 3 months before the anniversary of the date of filing the patent.

Note: However where a patent is granted after 45 months from the date of filing of the patent, any renewal fees which have become due are payable within 3 months from the date on which the patent is granted.

Some examples of patents:

1. A process that gives a technical solution to a problem;
2. New method of doing things;
3. The composition of a product;
4. A technical improvement on how certain products work.


Industrial design refers to the shape, configuration, colours, pattern, ornament, texture of a product. An industrial design right protects the overall or part of the visual appearance of a product and protection can be said to be given to the way the product looks. To qualify for registration, a design must be new and non-functional and must not be registered or published in the public domain.

Period of protection: maximum of 15 years.
Renewal due: every 5 years.

Some examples of a design:

You can register a three-dimensional product, such as the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, or design of a jewellery set. You can also register a two-dimensional ornament, for example the stylised pattern intended for display on a product for example the famous check pattern of Burberry


A plant variety is defined as a plant group within a single botanical taxon of the lowest rank. A plant breeders’ rights as a form of intellectual property are intended to protect new plant varieties. With a granted protection, the breeder is able to prevent others from producing, selling propagating material of the plant variety, or using your plant variety without the breeder’s permission.

To qualify for protection, the new plant variety must meet the following criteria: novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity and stability. It must also be given a suitable denomination.

Period of protection: up to a maximum of 25 years.
Annuities due: annually



Copyrights protect the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. A copyright applies to any mediums. Copyright owners have the exclusive right to exploit his work.

Period of protection: Life of author and a further 70 years from the author’s death.

Some examples of copyrights are:

Literary works, novels, poems, instruction manuals, song lyrics, newspaper articles, some type of databases;
Dramatic works, mines, plays, and dances;
Artistic works, painting, sculptures, collages, technical drawings, and photographs;
Musical works, sheet music, songs;
Layouts or typographical arrangements;
Sound recordings;
Televisions and radio broadcasts.


A Geographical Indication (GI) are signs that can be used to on products that have a specific geographical indication, and possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to the place of origin. A GI can be used by manufacturers and producers to inform consumers that their products come from a particular place.

Some examples of Geographical Indications are:

1. Basmati rice;
2. Darjeeling tea;
3. Bordeaux red wine.

Note: Geographical indications may soon become registrable in Singapore.


Confidential information covers information that is confidential and unknown to the public, and may include trade secrets of a business. By its very nature, confidential information cannot be protected by registration.

To protect such confidential information, consider limiting the number of people (be it employees or vendors) who has access to such confidential information. It is also important to ensure that these people are bound by a Non-disclosure Agreement.

Some examples of trade secrets:



A layout-design of an integrated circuit refers essentially to the three-dimensional character of the elements and interconnections of an integrated circuit. Under the Layout-Design of Integrated circuits Act, the owner of the design has the right to prevent others from commercially exploiting an original design. A design is considered original if the design of the circuit is based on the owner’s ideas or studies, and is not similar to the designs of others.

Period of protection: In Singapore, any integrated circuit that has been created after 15 February 1999 will be protected for 10 years if it is first used commercially within five years of creation. In other cases, it will be protected for 15 years from the date of its creation.


The protection of intellectual property and confidential information is vital for many businesses, as such protection can be used to prevent competitors or anyone else from using your ideas for their own profit without your consent. This helps to protect genuine business assets that may be integral to the core services of the business and overall long-term viability.

Contact us for trademark registration service.

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