Trademark Registration

IPR for Start-ups in Singapore – A Complete Analysis

IPR for Start-ups in Singapore - A Complete Analysis
Karan Singh
| Updated: Oct 13, 2021 | Category: Intellectual Property

Every country’s around the world wants to be at the front position of innovations and the latest technologies because it will help in economic growth and progress. Singapore, one of the world’s top start-up centres, gives an interesting and stable business climate for both international & national businesses. At present, Singapore has one of the strongest IP protection systems in the globe. This shows that start-ups and Intellectual Property (IP) are vital to uphold such development since one helps the other, pushing it up the success stair. In this blog, we are going to discuss about the IPR for start-ups in Singapore.

IPR for Start-ups in Singapore – Overview

Following are some essential IPR for Start-ups in Singapore:

  • Trademarks: This is one of the best IPR for start-ups in Singapore. A Trademark is a word, logo, or name that may be visually represented and used by an individual in the business course to recognise their products or services from the goods/services of another individual. Taste & smells are not recognised, but 3-d designs or shapes and noises can be registered as Trademarks. Legal protection for registered Trademarks can bear indefinitely if renewed every 10 years.
  • Trade Secrets: Singaporean Law tells Trade Secrets as private business knowledge that allows a company to gain an economic benefit over its competitors, like a secret manufacturing method, a secret recipe, client information, etc. Start-ups should also be able to show that a secrecy duty was explicitly specified when interactions with other parties, like by signing NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) or comprising a secrecy clause in their agreements with other parties.
  • Copyright: It is also one of the important IPR for start-ups in Singapore. It gives exclusive rights that are issued to authors, artists, and other creators of their original or unique works. In Singapore Law, Copyright doesn’t exist in facts, ideas, and principles; rather, it exists in the expression of such facts, principles, and ideas, which cannot be copied. For musical, artistic, literary works, and sound recordings, performances, and films 70 years from the end year where the author or creator died or end year of recording under the Singapore Copyright Act. Along with primary infringement, it also has a provision for secondary infringement or violation.
  • Patents: This is given to the owner of an invention or innovation to prohibit others from using, manufacturing, selling, or importing the invention without their approval or permission. Singapore has the sole official type of Patent; however, integrated circuit layout designs, registered designs, and plant varieties can be registered or incorporated separately and are granted particular protection under Singapore Law.

There are two different ways of Patent Registration in Singapore:

  1. National Patent Application: Candidates wanting to apply for Patent Registration in Singapore.
  2. International Patent Application: Candidates who want to apply for Patent Registration in more than one country then they can go through the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), with Singapore’s Registry of Patents acting as the receiving office. Patents are valid for 20 years, and integrated circuit layout designs are safeguarded for 10 years. New plant varieties can be safeguarded for 25 years, as long as the owner renews the Patent for the entire duration.
  • Geographical Indication: It is a differentiating mark used to recognise a product as coming from the area of a certain nation or locale when its reputation, quality, other elements are connected to its geographical origin. Recently, the Geographical Indications Bill (Bill No. 13/2014) was passed by the Parliament of Singapore, paving the way for the Geographical Indication register. Due to the lack of execution of the Geographical Indication register, an owner or holder of Geographical Indication may look for Trademark Protection.
  • Registered Design: To protect pattern, shape, configuration added to an object by an industrial process, Design Registration is required. It is possible to claim the filing date of a previous application for protection of the similar design submitted in a nation that is a member of WTO (World Trade Organisation) or the Paris Convention in the Singapore application is lodged within 6 months after the earlier application. As an outcome, start-ups should make definite that their design is not exposed to strangers before an application is submitted. Where the design has been registered & Copyright exists in the respective design, only the Singaporean Registered Design Act will provide safety.

Singapore Promotes the IP Development and Registration – IPR for Start-ups in Singapore

The administrative structure and IP legislation of Singapore comply entirely with TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). Singapore is a party to the different international treaties regulating IP like the Madrid Agreement, the NICE Agreement, the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, and the WIPO Copyright Treaty[1].

  1. Intellectual Property Office of Singapore: This is previously known as the Registry of Trademarks and Patents. It is an official board with the Ministry of Law. It was established in 2001 to implement the Intellectual Property Policy of the country. Intellectual Property Office of Singapore helps entrepreneurs, inventors, and enterprises in protecting, using, and developing their inventions. So to help you in protecting your IP, it refers you to IP service providers like consultants, attorneys and also conduct free seminars.
  2. IP Hub Master Plan: The Government of Singapore introduced this plan in 2013 and made it the leading location for registering and protecting Intellectual Property. The Government of Singapore proposes the implementation of an IP-Box tax regime identical to those in Ireland & the Netherlands. With the important financial incentives & a favourable tax structure, the Government of Singapore supports IP registration and development. Singapore also has extensive tax treaties with other countries for revenue generated by IP, and it offers tax credits for income from nations that don’t have a tax treaty with Singapore like the US.
  3. Startup SG: It was introduced in 2017 to show a flourishing start-up environment in Singapore both nationally & internationally. This makes it easier for entrepreneurs to determine and access capable channels for assistance. Start-up SG Network was founded in the year 2018 to bring a tech start-up environment to Singapore.

These schemes have introduced an enabling environment, giving extra movement to protection and development. Such actions show Singapore’s long-term promise to promote a friendly environment while also recognising the significance of IPR for start-ups in Singapore.

How Does Singapore Protect Intellectual Property Rights?

To encourage the registration and production of IP in Singapore, the Government actively protects Intellectual Property. IPR are territorial, which implies that if Intellectual Property is registered in Singapore, then it will be protected. Following are the ways to protect IPR in Singapore:

  • Civil Litigation;
  • WIPO Arbitration & Mediation Centre;
  • Criminal Litigation;
  • Blocking Counterfeit.


After discussing the different IPR for Start-ups in Singapore, it is concluded that Singapore has benefited from a robust IP regime, and it constantly creates a reputable environment that is recognised not only nationally but internationally. UKIPO and INPI established regional Intellectual Property Offices in Singapore in 2013. Singapore was placed 2nd in the world and 1st in the report by WEFGC (Word Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report) in 2019 for their IP protection structure.

Read our article:What are the Different Ways to Track International IPR Laws?

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Karan Singh

A legal writing enthusiast, a wanderer, and a zealous reader. After gaining a lot of knowledge about the diverse legal topics and developing research skills, Karan joined the league of legal content writers to deliver quality-rich blogs.

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