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How do I apply for copyright registration for our own brand character?

Dear Sir/Madam, we have been creating a fictional cartoon character for our own brand use purpose. Can we seek your expertise and advice that how we can apply copyright for that character? Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you.



There are different types of Intellectual Property (IP)s such as Trade Mark and Copyright.  An IP protection is territorial in nature.  


Copyright-Refers to protection of  literary works (for example: books, drawings, music, website):

Copyright protects literary works like novels, plays, drawings, paintings, sheet music, computer programme, websites. Generally, the author of a copyright work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate and adapt his work. These different exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call copyright.  An author automatically enjoys copyright protection as soon as he creates and expresses his original work in a tangible form, such as in a recording or writing. Originality simply means that there is a degree of independent effort in the creation of the work. 


Trademark – Refers to protection your logo or slogan or brand of your product or services:

A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other traders. A trademark must also be distinctive and capable of distinguishing the goods/services of the owner from similar goods/services of other traders. This sign can be any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, shape, colour, aspect of packaging or a combination of these. An individual, firm or company claiming to be owner of a trade mark can file for a trade mark registration so long as they are using, or have the intention to use, the mark in the course of their business.


As you have been creating a fictional cartoon character for your own brand use, you may want to consider to apply for a Trade mark.  Prior to file for trademark registration, you may wish to conduct trademark searches with the following details below.

a)  Search: You may wish to conduct a check in our online database prior to the trademark registration free of charge, to see if a mark similar to yours has already been registered with the following steps:

  1. On IPOS Digital Hub, click Search (top left button), click TM Similar Mark Search.

  2. On TM Similar Mark Search , Please fill in one of the fields.  You can either upload your trademark image (either in  JPEG, TIFF or Bitmap), or Key in Word(s) – in- mark and click Search. 

  3. Once the system has completed conducting the search, the search results will be shown at the bottom of the webpage. 


              b)  Trade Marks Classification of Goods or Services: To conduct a more detailed search on the descriptions/specifications of the goods and services, you may wish to carry out the following:


  1. On IPOS Digital Hub, click Search (top left button), click TM Goods / Services Search.

  2. On Goods / Services, - Key in the descriptions of your goods/services field for example and click Search.

Descriptions of products related to your keyword will be listed with the corresponding class numbers. Classes 1 to 34 are for goods and classes 35 to 45 are for services. You may wish to take a look at the list to see which descriptions fit your products/services the most.

Apply for a trademark registration


To apply for a trademark registration, you will have to file TM 4 online, together with the prescribed fee of  $280.00 for each trademark and for every class of goods or services in respect of which registration is sought. Foreign applicant is required to provide the Registry of  Trade Marks with an address for service in Singapore. For online registration, you will need to create an account prior to the application at this link either as Individual account or Business account (log in with SingPass).

Generally, it may takes about 12 months for a trade mark to be registered (if the application did not contain any deficiency or face any objection/opposition with the issuance of an eCertificate of Registration).  You will hear from us in writing via your IPOS Digital Hub (IDH) account. The trade mark protection is valid for 10 years. The protection can last indefinitely subject to the payment of renewal fees every 10 years. For more information about trademark, you can refer here

I hope I have been of some assistance addressing your concerns regarding Trade Mark application process.

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