Singapore lets firms apply for trademarks via mobile app

Businesses can file for trademark protection with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore via a new mobile app, which aims to speed up the application process to 10 minutes from the current 60 minutes.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Businesses and startups now can apply for trademark protection via a new mobile app, which aims to slash the process from the current average time of up to 60 minutes to under 10 minutes. The app is managed by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), which reveals that trademark applications in the country have climbed by 30% over the last five years. 

Called IPOS Go, the app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Trademark applicants also will be able to track their registration status, receive notification about important updates, and submit trademark renewals via the app, said IPOS, a government agency that operates under Singapore's Ministry of Law. 

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According to the IP office, the mobile app is integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) technology so it can identify similar trademarks on the IPOS register and prevent applicants from filing for trademarks that are too similar to existing ones. 

It noted that this was critical as more than 40% of trademarks filed worldwide contained images, citing figures from CompuMark. IPOS added that the AI capability would aid businesses in better managing their products as trademark filings around the world continued to increase. 

Its director of trademarks registry Isabelle Tan said: "Trademarks are the meat and potatoes of the IP world. They communicate the emotional and reputational attributes of every enterprise, creating a differentiating identity in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Everyone deals with trademarks daily, and the trademark system is crucial in the protection and monetisation of that distinctive identity. 

"Given the widespread use of smartphones for transactions today, the IPOS Go mobile app is just a fingertip away for businesses and entrepreneurs to protect their trademarks, build consumer loyalty, and ultimately generate and increase revenue for the company," Tan said. 

According to the latest available figures from IPOS, there were 50,035 trademark applications in 2017, of which 10,570 were from local businesses. That year saw 37,030 trademark registrations, of which 8,595 went to local businesses. There were 440,149 trademarks in force as of 2017, up from 430,690 the year before. 

The top 10 local trademark filers in Singapore in 2017 included food and beverage chain TWG Tea Company, Grab, and Razer, while the top 10 international filers included Amazon Technologies, Apple, and Kobayashi Pharmaceutical. 


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