The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a statutory board under the Ministry of Law handles trademark registration in the city state. An individual desiring to register his trade mark may either apply directly to the Registrar or authorize a trade mark agent to act on his behalf.

For a trademark to be registered in Singapore, it should be possible to represent it as a graphic. Such a sign could take the form of a letter, a word, a name, a signature, a numeral, a device, a brand, a heading, a label, a ticket, a shape, a color, an element of packaging, or any combination of these. Singapore trademark law does not require evidence of use to be filed as part of the application process before the trademark registration is granted.

Applicants are encouraged to conduct a research of existing trademarks to ensure that there is no prior similar or identical trade mark in the records of the Singapore Registry of Trade Marks. The search can be conducted at the IPOS office or online at eTradeMarks.

If his search for identical or similar trademarks proves negative, the applicant may then submit his completed application for trademark registration to the Singapore Registry of Trade Marks. He may file it personally, by registered post, or file it only through IPOS’s eTradeMarks system. For manual filing, the filing fee for a trade mark under each class is S$340 and for online filing, S$310.

The IPOS will then conduct an administrative review of the trademark application to ensure that it is complete, that it complies with the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, and that the necessary fees have been paid. Afterwards it will issue a trademark application number and date of filing to the applicant.

In case there are grounds for objection, the Registry will inform the applicant of the corrections that need to be done within a specified time frame. Failure to comply with these requirements in the allotted time will result in the application being classified as withdrawn.

The next step is for the Registry Office to mount an extensive search for similar or conflicting trademarks. They will also review geographical names and ensure your sign conforms to the international classification of goods and services. If your sign represents pharmaceutical products, the Registry would make further investigations. They would check if your mark breaches the World Health Organization’s INN (International Non-Proprietary Name) list, which provides common names for pharmaceutical products.

If your trade mark passes the conflict test, you must still clear a couple more obstacles before you are home free. Your sign will again by studied to judge whether or not it can be registered under Singapore Trade Mark Laws, which has categories whereby certain marks are disallowed. For instances, marks that lack any distinguishing characteristics may not be entertained. If the examiner finds any objections, you will be asked to make corrections within a certain period of time.

Once your sign fulfills Singapore Trade Mark Laws, you move on to the final stage, which is to publish your mark for public consumption. You will be notified that your mark is accepted for registration before it is published in the Trade Marks Journal. This gives members of the public a chance to object if they believe your design is identical or similar to a mark that is already registered or pending. Any member of the public has the right to object within two months of publication.

Should there be any objections, you can try to have the issue resolved. If the resolution works in your favor and the two months have passed with no further problems, you are free to register your trade mark. You will be issued with a registration certificate and you can use the trade mark freely in corporate paraphernalia.