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MinLaw seeking public's views on proposed IP (Dispute Resolution) Bill

THE Ministry of Law (MinLaw) is seeking public feedback on a draft Intellectual Property (IP) (Dispute Resolution) Bill, consultations of which will conclude on April 5, 2019.

The Bill looks to improve the IP dispute resolution system in Singapore by consolidating most civil IP disputes in the High Court, making it easier to ensure only deserving inventions enjoy patent protection, and providing clarity that IP disputes can be arbitrated in Singapore.

Consolidating most civil IP disputes in the High Court looks to simplify the current system. Currently, cases are also heard in the State Courts or Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), in addition to the High Court, depending on the nature of the IP right, the type of proceeding or the value of the claim. The new Bill will amend several IP Acts, as well as the State Courts Act, to grant the High Court exclusive jurisdiction over most civil IP disputes – for example infringement of all forms of IP and passing off, said MinLaw.

Next, the Bill will formalise third-party observations on patent applications, allowing the Registrar to consider them when a patent application has been published, and before an examination report is issued. Meanwhile, the introduction of post-grant patent re-examination would allow a person to request that a patent be re-examined, with accompanying reasons and documents. The patent may be revoked if the Registrar finds that an alleged ground is made out and not resolved by the proprietor of the patent.

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Lastly, the Bill will provide greater clarity and certainty that IP disputes can be arbitrated in Singapore, and that the arbitration has an effect only on the parties to the arbitration and not on the world at large. Through the move, the Bill aims to facilitate the use of arbitration in IP disputes, and strengthen Singapore’s position as a choice venue for the arbitration of international IP disputes.

The proposed Bill comes after the ministry appointed a committee in 2015 to review and make recommendations on the IP dispute resolution system in Singapore. A public consultation was held in October 2018 on reforms to the IP dispute resolution system.