5 Tips For Australian Businesses Searching For Singaporean Trade Marks
Singapore is Australia’s biggest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its eighth-largest trading partner overall. Australia and Singapore have a free-trade agreement, meaning they take measures to prevent importing and exporting goods that infringe trade mark regulations in both countries and are committed to protecting each other’s intellectual property. As a global business hub with a close business relationship with Australia, many Australian businesses are trading in Singapore. If you plan on trading in Singapore, you must register your trade mark in Singapore properly, with a thorough trade mark search being the first step. This article will take you through five tips for Australian businesses searching for Singaporean trade marks.
1. Search in All of Singapore’s Languages
Singapore’s national languages are English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Any trade mark with a word element will need to be checked for availability in all the relevant characters and translations. Even if the trade mark does not sound the same when translated, if the idea behind the trade mark and translation is the same, it will be considered an infringement.
For example, if you want to trade mark the phrase ‘Happy Homes’, but the Tamil translation of that phrase has been trade marked, it will not be accepted.
2. Check Your Trade Mark Class
Once you file your application with the trade mark office, you cannot get a refund. Because of this, it is important to know what class of goods or services your trade mark comes under. Using a goods and services search tool is the best way to do this. Fortunately, in 2007 Singapore introduced a single trade mark application. This means that you can file for one trade mark to register two or more goods or services classes in a single application. While fees are still payable per class, this new system is a great time saver and simplifies the renewal process.
3. Do a ‘Fast Search’
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has a free search tool. Alongside the World Intellectual Property’s (WIPO) Global Brand Database, this is a great way to search for Singaporean trade marks. The Fast Search function searches the entire IPOS database. While this feature is a great start for your search, it is important to keep in mind that the results will be very broad and potentially produce results irrelevant to you.
4. Use the Simple Search Tool
The IPOS search tool’s Simple Search function allows you to be more specific in your trade mark search. This function will narrow your results by class of goods and services, as well as by trade mark name. Remember that your trade mark search aims not just to find identical or similar trade marks, but to check for identical or similar trade marks within the same or similar classification.
5. Use the Boolean Search Tool
The Boolean Search tool is the most flexible search mode offered on the IPOS search tool. Like the Simple Search, the Boolean Search will narrow results by trade mark and goods and services classification. This feature will also allow you to narrow your search even further by specifying the form of trade mark (for example, name, image, or logo). The Boolean Search tool is also how you can search in all of Singapore’s national languages. It has a translation, transliteration and Chinese character search function.
Your intellectual property is the most important asset of your business. If you plan on trading in Singapore, it is essential that you:
- know how to use the IPOS search tool effectively; and
- search in all applicable languages.
If you need assistance with conducting a trade mark search for Singaporean trade marks or making a trade mark application in Singapore, get in touch with our experienced trade mark lawyers on 1300 657 423 or fill out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you plan on trading in Singapore, protecting your trade mark in Singapore is a great way to protect your brand and prevent other businesses from making, using or selling your product. Registering your trade mark also helps prevent you from infringing on someone else’s trade mark.
You can register your trade mark in Singapore by applying directly to the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore or applying through the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) using the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty that lets you apply for several international trade marks in one application.
Singaporean trade mark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date. To continue being protected after this, you will have to renew your trade mark and pay the applicable fee.
The cost of registering your trade mark in Singapore will depend on which method you use to register your trade mark and the specifics of your application, such as how many classes of goods and services you are applying under. For more information on trade mark protection, consider seeking advice from our experienced intellectual property lawyers.