Can I file a provisional patent application in Singapore?
In Singapore, while the Patents legislation does not specifically refer to "provisional patent applications", it allows for a date of filing to be accorded to a patent application without any patent claim(s) being filed with it, notwithstanding the fact that the patent application is incomplete until one or more patent claim(s) is or are furnished. Such Applications WITHOUT Claim(s) (hereafter called "Aw/oC") can be seen as "provisional". This Aw/oC approach would be attractive to some applicants who are not yet ready to furnish any patent claims at the time of filing their application. Upon filing an Aw/oC, the applicant must furnish one or more patent claims with IPOS within the prescribed period of 12 months from the date of filing. When this occurs, the Aw/oC is "converted" into a complete patent application with claim(s), and it can then proceed further in the application process. The date of filing accorded to the Aw/oC is retained even after "conversion" as it is still the same application [albeit with claim(s) after "conversion"]. This is significant as the term of a patent begins from its date of filing. In the event that no patent claims are furnished within the period prescribed, the Aw/oC shall be treated as having been abandoned, and the 12 months timeline from the date of filing to file claims is non-extendable. If an Aw/oC is the first filing of the invention in question, the applicant may decide, within 12 months from the date of filing of that Aw/oC, to file an Application WITH CLAIM(s) (hereafter called "AWC") in a Paris Convention or WTO country for the same invention and claim priority based on the "Aw/oC". In such an application, the date of filing accorded to the AWC is not that of the Aw/oC, the applicant benefits from the priority claim based on the "Aw/oC" application and the patent term of 20 years starts from the date of filing of the "AWC", provided the legal requirements are met.
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