TRADEMARKS FILING AND PROSECUTION IN SINGAPORE
A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to help consumers indentify that its products or services with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to help distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
Trademark in Singapore may be designated by the following symbols:
- ® (for a registered trademark)
- ™ (for an unregistered trademark)
A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standards categories, such as those based on colour, smell, or sound.
A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services.
The owner of the registered trademark may initiate legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark, and can license it to the third parties, sell it in return of sum, use it raise equity for business undertakings.
|Relevant office||Intellectual property office of Singapore (IPOS)|
|Multi class system||Yes|
|Documents required for filing a trade mark application||Name and address of the applicant, clear geographical representation of the trademark, list of goods and/or services, declaration of use or intention to use the mark|
|Prosecution process||Filing publication of the mark in the trade mark journal opposition(within 2 months after the publication date) registration renewal|
|Registration term||10 years from the date of filing|
|Renewal term||10 years|
Trademark searches in Singapore
It is advisable to conduct a trademark search prior to filing a trademark application to ascertain the availability of trademarks, existence of prior identical/similar marks on the register etc., so as to avoid any objection and opposition with respect to the mark.
A trademark search in Singapore can be conducted for word marks, device marks, numeral and labels. An official search can be conducted at the records of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. The official website encourage you to conduct a similar mark search on IP2SG , this is an e-service portal of IP office of Singapore to ensure that there is no similar trademark existing on the register which is identical or similar to applicant’s trademark. 
Trademark word search edition of Singapore follows the Nice Classification and trademark applications can be filed for goods in classes 1-34 and services in classes 35-45.
It is advisable to conduct comprehensive trademark clearance search in Singapore to ascertain availability of the proposed mark and also to overcome any objection and opposition with respect to mark later on.
Along with trademark search, it is also advisable to do a comprehensive company search and domain search of the proposed trademark in Singapore. It is advisable to conduct a comprehensive search for a figuration trademark. The device marks include individual marks such as stylized letters, numerals, shapes, plants, celestial bodies, living creatures etc. or combination of marks containing device marks. A device mark search in Singapore can be conducted amongst the marks filed and registered as per the Vienna code classification.
Filing trademark applications in Singapore
A person may file multi-class or single class trademark application in Singapore.
Trademark application can be filed in the following categories:
- Ordinary Applications
- Convention application (claiming priority from a convention country)
Ordinary application in Singapore
Ordinary trademark applications filed in Singapore are applications without claiming any priority. Ordinary trademark applications are required to be filed online by the Intellectual property office of Singapore. The official website provides its user with the pre-filing checklist to check that the trademark application fulfills the registration criteria. Form TM4 should be submitted for an application for the registration of trademark in Singapore. There are two modes available for filing TM4 form i.e. through IPOS Go mobile application and through e-service portal, IP2SG. Multi class trademark applications may also be filed in Singapore. However, the trademarks act also lays down provisions regarding the filing of priority applications, wherein priority of the mark can be claimed in the said mark filed in a convention country.
Priority trademark applications in Singapore/Convention trademark applications Singapore:
A priority trademark application may be filed in Singapore. A priority trademark application should be filed in Singapore within 6 months after the date on which the application was made in the convention country.
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris, France, on March 20, 1883, established a Union for the protection of industrial property. It offers national treatment to the applicant residing in the member country of the union, in other words. National treatment is a very important concept and is essential for successfully achieving the fundamental aim of the Paris Convention. The idea is to provide equal treatment to applications from member countries, in a given member country and not to differentiate between the nationals of member countries for the purpose of grant, and protection of industrial property. Priority application can be filed in Singapore within six months of after the date on which the application was made in the Convention Countries.
Trademark classes for goods and services
Singapore follows the nice classification of classes. Intellectual property office of Singapore uses the nice classification of classes that groups together similar goods or services into 45 different classes. Classes 1 to 34 are assigned for the goods and classes 35 to 45 are assigned for the services. Each class contains well defines list of terms and cover all the goods and services.
The intellectual property office of Singapore provides table of nice classification for quick overview about the certain goods and services classified in the respective classes. The applicant is required to provide the exact no. of classes with proper description of the goods and/or services according to the nice classification.
Further details regarding filing of trademark applications can be accessed on the Trademark registry’s website, Singapore at the following link: www.ipos.gov.sg 
Trademark Examination in Singapore
Once the application for the registration is submitted it goes through the examination process. In this stage the application is examined to check that if it fulfills all the registration requirements. If all the registration requirements are met the mark will proceed to the publication.
In case all the registration requirements are not met, the examination report is issued to the applicant. The examination report will state the grounds of refusal of the application and applicant is given 4 months time to provide necessary information or amend the application as needed.
In case applicant fails to respond within prescribed time period. The application will be considered as withdrawn. 
Trademark opposition in Singapore
If the application for the registration successfully passes the examination period, it is accepted and published in the trade mark journal. The interested party shall within 2 months after the date of publication can file a notice of opposition in form TM11, request for extension of time to file notice of opposition can also be filed.
Once the notice of opposition is served to the applicant, the applicant is given two months time to file a counter statement. It must include all the grounds on which applicant relies and must address all the facts alleged in the notice of opposition. Request for extension of time to file counter statement can also be filed.
Once the counter statement is filed by the applicant, the opposition proceedings are suspended and the parties are encouraged to negotiate amicably among themselves. The parties can set aside 30, 60 or 90 days for mediation to settle dispute amicably. This period can further be extended upon request by the parties. It is also provided that the parties can also request for the mediation at any time before the final decision on the matter.
The parties are required to inform in writing about the outcome of the mediation within 2 weeks after the end of the mediation. If there are any issues remaining in the dispute, the registrar will organize a case management conference.
If the dispute is not resolved amicably the proceedings will be resumed and the opponent will be asked to file statutory declaration with evidence in support of the notice of opposition. After receipt of the statutory declaration, the applicant must file a statutory declaration with evidence in support the application. Upon receipt of the applicant statutory declaration, the opponent may file a statutory declaration in reply to the applicant’s statutory declaration.
Once the evidence stage is over the parties will be given notification regarding pre-hearing review for the possibility of settling the dispute amicably.
Then the parties will be notified regarding the hearing of disputes where parties are required to file their written submissions and bundle of authorities. After the hearing, the parties will be informed about the grounds of decision.
The parties can appeal before the high court within 28 days after the date of the decision.
Trademark registration in Singapore
The application shall proceed to registration where there is no opposition or where the opposition was filed and was decided in favor of the applicant. The mark is registered for a period of 10 years from date of filing of the application and the registration certificate is issued.