Singapore is first to ratify new Trademark Law Treaty
on March 26 2007 Singapore became the first member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to deposit its instrument of ratification for the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (STLT).
The STLT was introduced during a successful diplomatic conference held by WIPO in Singapore in March 2006. To date, more than 50 states have signed the STLT, signalling their intention to ratify and be bound by it. The STLT will enter into force three months after 10 WIPO members have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.
Following ratification, the Singapore Trademarks Act was amended to give effect to the STLT. The amendments, which have yet to come into operation as at the date of writing, were introduced to allow Singapore to be fully compliant with the STLT. Some of the key amendments are set out below:
- Provision for multiple class registration: Registration for trademarks is presently based on single classes; applicants that wish to file for trademarks in more than one class have to submit a separate application for each class. The amendments will allow for a multi-class registration. This would allow an applicant to make a single application in respect of goods or services belonging to two or more classes, leading to one registration. Upon registration, the multi-class registration may be renewed by a single renewal effective for all the classes of goods and services registered. Selected classes may also be renewed by paying for renewal of those classes alone.
- Division of an application for registration: An applicant may now request for a trademark application to be divided into two separate applications. This will allow an application for classes of goods or services that do not face opposition or objection to proceed to registration first. Division will therefore expedite trademark registration where appropriate.
- Relief measures for procedural oversight: Relief measures were introduced to alleviate procedural mistakes by trademark applicants, notably in relation to missed time limits. The relief measures provide an avenue for an applicant to maintain the rights in an application that has been filed, even when time limits have been missed.
- Registration of licences for pending trademark applications: Registration of licences relating to pending trademark applications is now permitted. Prior to the amendments, only licences relating to registered trademarks could be recorded on the register.
Pearleen Loh, Alban Tay Mahtani & De Silva, Singapore
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