Singapore has a highly developed market-based economy, which has historically revolved around extended entrepôt trade. Along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, especially in manufacturing. Manufacturing constituted 26% of Singapore's GDP in 2005. The manufacturing industry is well-diversified with significant electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering and biomedical sciences manufacturing sectors. In 2006, Singapore produced about 10% of the world's foundry wafer output. Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world and is the world's fourth largest foreign exchange trading centre after London, New York City and Tokyo. Singapore has been rated as the most business-friendly economy in the world, with thousands of foreign expatriates working in multi-national corporations. Singapore is also considered to be one of the top centres of finance in the world. In addition to this, the city-state also employs tens of thousands of foreign blue-collared workers from around the world.
Who May Apply?
Any person who has applied for protection for a trademark in the United Kingdom or any country with which Her Majesty has made reciprocal arrangements and that country is a country in respect of which a proclamation has been made for this purpose by the President of Singapore or his legal representative or assignee, is entitled to registration of his trademark in Singapore in priority to other applicants, and the registration will have the same date as the date of the application in that country, provided that the application is made within six months from the application for protection in the United Kingdom or that country. A person other than the proprietor of a trademark may be registered as a registered user.
What Can Be Registered?
Trademarks (other than certification marks) must contain or consist of at least one of the following essential particulars:
(a) The name of a company, individual, or firm represented in a special or particular manner;
(b) The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business;
(c) An invented word or invented words;
(d) A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods and not being according to its ordinary signification
geographical, or a surname; and
(e) Any other distinctive mark, but a name, signature, or word or words other than those that fall within the descriptions in the foregoing
paragraphs (a) through (d) and is not registrable except upon evidence of its distinctiveness.
"Distinctive" means adapted to distinguish the goods of the proprietor of the trademark from other goods.
Any mark which has been used in good faith in Singapore upon or in connection with any goods (whether for sale or exportation abroad) for the purpose of indicating that they are goods of the proprietor of the mark by virtue of manufacture, selection, certification, dealing with, or offering for sale may be registered by the person claiming to be the proprietor in respect of those goods.
Registrations in respect of textiles, threads, and yarns are now permitted. Service marks are also registrable.
What Cannot Be Registered?
Except in the case of honest concurrent user, no trademark will be registered in respect of any goods or description of goods that is identical with a trademark belonging to a different proprietor and already on the register in respect of the same goods or description of goods, or that so nearly resembles such a trademark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.
The Registrar may refuse to accept any application upon which the following appear: the word "Patent," "Patented," "Registered," "Registered Design," Copyright," "Entered at Stationers' Hall," "To counterfeit this is a Forgery," or words to like effect; representations of Her Majesty or of any member of the Royal Family, or any colorable imitations thereof; the words "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross," and representations of the Geneva and other crosses in red, or of the
Swiss Federal cross in white on a red ground or silver on a red ground, or these representations in a similar color or colors. Representations of the Royal or Imperial Arms, crests, armorial bearings or insignias, or devices so nearly resembling them as to be likely to lead to mistake, or of British Royal or Imperial crowns, or of Royal, Imperial or national flags, or the words "Royal" or "Imperial" or any other words, letters, or de vices likely to lead persons to think that the applicant
has Royal patronage or authorization, may not appear on trademarks the registration of which is applied for.
No word which is the commonly used and accepted name of any single chemical element or single chemical compound, as distinguished from a mixture, will be registered as a trademark in respect of a chemical substance or preparation, except words used to denote only a brand or make of the element or compound as made by the proprietor or a registered user of the trademark as distinguished from the element or compound as made by others, and in association with a suitable
name or description open to the public use.
Any matter the use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion or otherwise be disentitled to protection in a court of justice or would be contrary to law or morality, or any scandalous design, may not be registered.
The proprietor or a registered user of a registered trademark cannot interfere with or restrain the use by any person of a trademark identical with or nearly resembling it in relation to goods in relation to which that person or a predecessor in title of his has continuously used that trademark from a date anterior to the use of the firstmentioned trademark on the goods by the proprietor or his predecessor in title, or to the registration of the first-mentioned trademark in respect of those goods in the name of the proprietor or his predecessor in title, whichever is the earlier, nor object to that person's being put on the register for that identical or nearly resembling trademark in respect of those goods in case of honest concurrent use, etc.
No registration of a trademark can interfere with any bona fide use by a person (or his predecessors) of his own name or of the name of his place of business, or the use by any person of any bona fide description of the character or quality of his goods, not being a description that would be likely, in a case in which the use is use upon the goods or in physical relation thereto or in an advertising circular or other advertisement issued to the public, to be taken as importing a
reference to some person having the right either as proprietor or as registered user to use the trademark or to goods with which such a person as aforesaid is connected in the course of trade, or to some person having the right either as proprietor or by his authorization under the relevant regulations to use a certification trademark or to goods certified by the proprietor.
Applicant's name, address, state, country of incorporation and constitution.
2. Specimen of the mark; five copies for marks in color.
3. Specification of the goods andlor services.
4. Particulars of priority claim (if any).
5. If the mark consists of a word(s), the applicant must provide the derivation of the word(s) and state whether it is invented.
6. If the mark consists of a non-English word(s) andlor foreign characters, the applicant will need to confirm the language of the word(s) and provide the meaning and transliteration of the word/ character (where applicable).
7. Confirmation that the mark is used in relation to the goods services in the course of trade in Singapore, or that there is a bona fide intention that it will be so used.
Evaluation & Review
A person proposing to apply for registration may obtain preliminary advice as to whether the trademark appears to the Registrar prima facie to be inherently adapted to distinguish or capable of distinguishing, as the case may be (and/or have an official search made).
Each application is examined and a search made to ascertain whether the trademark is registrable and whether it is identical with a pending application or with a trademark already on theregister in respect of the same goods, or so nearly resembles the latter trademark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.
Trademarks are registered for a period of 10 years counting from the date of application, with privilege of renewal for periods of 10 years. Renewal may be applied for not more than three months before the date of expiration.
Document for renewal: Authorization of agent, simply signed.
Within one month of the Registrar's advertisement of nonpayment of renewal fee in the Government Gazette, the late filing of renewals together with penalty in the form of additional fees are permissible.
After the one-month period, late renewals together with a restoration feel penalty and statutory declaration of bona fide trade use must be filed, together with supporting documents such as invoices, etc. The Registrar may restore and renew the mark "if satisfied that it is just so to do and upon such conditions as he may think fit to impose."
A registered trademark may be taken off the register in respect of any goods for which it is registered on application by any person aggrieved to the court on the ground either that the mark was registered without bona fide intention by the applicant that it be used by him in relation to those goods and that there has in fact been no bona fide use of the mark by any proprietor for up to one month before date of the application, or that up to one month before date of the application,
a continuous period of five years or longer has elapsed during which the mark was a registered trademark and during which there was no bona fide use in relation to those goods by any proprietor, unless in either case, non-use is shown to have been due to special circumstances in the trade and not due to any intention not to use or to abandon the trademark in relation to the goods to which the application relates. The "permitted use" by a registered user of a registered trademark
is deemed to be use by the proprietor. No application for registration of a trademark in respect of any goods will be refused nor will permission for registration be withheld on the ground that it appears that applicant does not use or propose to use the mark:
(a) if the Registrar is satisfied that a body corporate is about to be constituted and that applicant intends to assign the trademark to the corporation with a view to the use thereof in relation to those goods by the corporation; or
(b) if the application is accompanied by an application for registration of a person as a registered user of the trademark, and the Registrar is satisfied that the proprietor intends it to be used by that person in relation to those goods, and also that person will be registered as a registered user immediately after registration of the mark.
The application of a trademark to goods to be exported from Singapore, and any other act done in Singapore in relation to goods to be so exported which, if done in relation to goods to be sold or otherwise traded in within Singapore, would constitute use of a trademark there, will be deemed use of the trademark in relation to those goods for any purpose for which the use is material under the Trade Marks Act or at common law.