Singapore Treaty to enter into force


The Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks will become effective on March 16 2009 following its ratification by Australia on December 16 2008. 

The Singapore Treaty was adopted by World Intellectual Property Organization member states in Singapore on March 28 2006. The Singapore Treaty builds on the Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 by establishing additional standards for trademark registration procedures. In particular, it addresses new developments in the field of communication technology.

Australia’s ratification was the tenth ratification of the Singapore Treaty and allows it to enter into force.

The objective of the Singapore Treaty is to create an international framework for the harmonization of administrative trademark registration procedures. The key features of the Singapore Treaty are as follows:
  • The Singapore Treaty is applicable to all types of marks registrable under the law of each contracting party, including non-traditional marks (eg, holograms, three-dimensional marks, and colour, position and movement marks) and non-visible marks (eg, sound, olfactory, taste and feel marks). The regulations provide for the mode of representation of these marks in applications, which may include non-graphic or photographic reproductions.
  • The Singapore Treaty allows contracting parties the freedom to choose the form and means of communication. Contracting parties may also decide whether to accept communications on paper or in electronic form, or any other form of communication. The Singapore Treaty maintains a very important provision of the Trademark Law Treaty - namely, that the authentication, certification or attestation of any signature on paper communications cannot be required. However, contracting parties are free to determine whether and how they wish to implement a system of authentication of electronic communications.
  • As a new feature, the Singapore Treaty provides for 'relief measures' when an applicant or a holder has missed a time limit in an action for a procedure before a national trademark office. Contracting parties must now make available, at their choice, at least one of the following relief measures if the failure to meet the time limit was unintentional or occurred in spite of due care required in the circumstances:
    • extension of the time limit;
    • continued processing; and
    • reinstatement of rights.
  • The Singapore Treaty includes provisions dealing with the recordal of trademark licences and establishes maximum requirements for the recordal, amendment or cancellation of the recordal of a licence.
  • The creation of an Assembly of the Contracting Parties introduces a degree of flexibility for the definition of details concerning administrative procedures to be implemented by national trademark offices where it is anticipated that future developments in trademark registration procedures and practice will warrant the amendment of those details.
Other provisions of the Singapore Treaty (eg, the requirements to provide for multi-class applications and registrations, and the use of the Nice Classification) closely follow the Trademark Law Treaty.
Julian Gyngell, Julian Gyngell, Wahroonga

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