APPENDIX

Published date01 December 2012
Date01 December 2012

Major Parliamentary, Statutory and Related Developments in Intellectual Property Law in Singapore, 1987–2012 **

1987

  1. • Copyright Act 1987 was passed and came into operation on 10 April 1987,1 repealing the Imperial Copyright Act 1911.2 The Copyright Act 1987 was modelled after the Australian Copyright Act 1968.3

1990

  1. • Singapore acceded to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”). The Convention came into effect in Singapore on 10 December 1990.

1994

  1. • Copyright (Amendment) Act 1994.4 The amendments were mainly concerned with liberalising the provisions on parallel imports and exhaustion of rights.5

• Patents Act 1994.6 This Act established a new law of patents for Singapore, repealing and replacing the former Registration of United Kingdom Patents Act.7 The substantive provisions of the new Act were based on those in the UK Patents Act 1977, with modifications.8

1995

  1. • Singapore became a member of the World Trade Organization on 1 January 1995 and is bound by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS Agreement”).

  1. • Singapore signed the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883, the Patent Cooperation Treaty 1978 and the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms, all with effect from 23 February 1995.

  2. • Regulation of Imports and Exports Act 1995.9 A key international issue in the enforcement of intellectual property (“IP”) rights concerns international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. Prior to 1995, the main statute had been the Control of Imports and Exports Act,10 which was repealed and replaced by the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act 1995. The Regulation of Imports and Exports Act 1995 was amended11 in 2003 to enable Singapore to implement the US–Singapore Free Trade Agreement (“USSFTA”).

  3. • Patents (Amendment) Act 1995.12 The purpose of this was to amend the Patents Act 1994, which was passed in the previous year, to ensure that the provisions met Singapore's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. These included changes to exclusions from patentability and a tightening up of provisions on compulsory licences and Government use.

1998

  1. • Copyright (Amendment) Act 1998.13 The Explanatory Statement to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 199814 states:

    [The amendments were] primarily to enable Singapore to meet its obligations in regard to copyright under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). TRIPS is an integral part of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), of which Singapore is a signatory. The Bill also [sought] to amend the Copyright Act in relation to other matters such as the defences to an action for infringement of copyright, offences and related matters, and remedies and presumptions in a civil action for infringement of copyright.

    Important amendments were made to the fair dealing defence for private study or research, the introduction of a commercial right of rental for computer programs, amendment to the provisions on border enforcement measures as well as the creation of a new scheme to protect performers' rights over live performances in a new Part XII of the Copyright Act.15 At the Second Reading for the

    Copyright (Amendment) Bill 1998, the then Minister for Law explained the Government's policy on IP rights:16

    The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, will become increasingly important as the Singapore economy matures. … Intellectual capital, not merely physical assets or financial capital, will be the key factor. As Singapore responds to this, developing a strong and effective system for protecting intellectual property rights becomes more important. … To ensure that Singapore stays ahead of the competition for high-value, knowledge-intensive industries, a good system of protection for intellectual property rights is not only desirable but in fact necessary. Knowledge-based industries will be attracted to invest in Singapore if they are confident that their intellectual property will be given sufficient protection here. A good [intellectual property rights] infrastructure is also important to the success of our home-grown knowledge-based industries. We have to bear in mind that increasingly it will be our inventors who will want patent protection and our artists, writers [and so on] who will want copyright protection.

  2. • Singapore acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (“Berne Convention”) (1971 Act) in September 1998. The Berne Convention came into effect in Singapore on 21 December 1998.

  1. • Trade Marks Act 1998.17 This Act repealed and replaced the former Trade Marks Act, which dated back to 1938.18 The Explanatory Statement in the Trade Marks Bill19 states that the goal was to replace it with new trade marks legislation in order to:

    (a) … simplify and modernise trade mark law;

    (b) … enable Singapore to meet its obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention); and

    (c) … enable Singapore to accede to other international agreements relating to trade marks, [for example,] the Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol).

    Whilst there were differences, many of the new provisions were similar to those set out in the UK Trade Marks Act 1994.20

  2. • Geographical Indications Act 1998.21 This Act provides statutory protection for producers and traders of goods identified by geographical indications in accordance with Singapore's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.

1999

  1. • Copyright (Amendment) Act 1999.22 The Explanatory Statement to the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 199923 explains that the Bill was intended:

    (a) to address various issues arising from the use of copyright material in a digital environment;

    (b) to give greater rights to performers in relation to performances under the Act;

    (c) to make further amendments to the Act to give full effect to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1994).24

  1. • The Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act 1999.25 This Act created rights over independently created, original layout-designs of integrated circuits for a ten—or 15-year term without any need for registration. The Act also amended the Copyright Act by excluding layout-designs of integrated circuits from the definition of “artistic work” so as to avoid dual protection. The Explanatory Statement to the Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Bill 199926 states:27“[The] Bill seeks to provide statutory protection for owners of layout-designs of integrated circuits. The Bill meets the standards set out in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).”

  2. • Singapore became a member of the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (revised at Geneva 1977).

2000

  1. • Registered Designs Act 2000.28 This Act repealed and replaced the United Kingdom Designs (Protection) Act 193929 and marked the beginning of a national design registration in Singapore. The Registered Designs Act 2000 also made important changes to certain provisions in the Copyright Act on the designs copyright interface,

    in particular, the ability to assert artistic copyright to protect the design of a useful article was severely cut back.30

2001

  1. • The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) was established to take over the administration of the patent, trade mark, registered designs and plant varieties registration systems, and to formulate and review IP policies and legislation.31

2002

  1. • The IP Academy was set up in 2002.32 The IP Academy set up the Graduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law Programme in Singapore and also conducts an MSc programme in IP management as well as other short courses or programmes on various aspects of IP.

2003

  1. • The USSFTA, concluded in 2003, contains detailed provisions in Chapter 16 on the protection of IP rights. The Agreement came into force on 1 January 2004. The chapter on IP required compliance with the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme

    Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite 1974; the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (revised 1991); the WIPO Copyright Treaty (“WCT”) 1996; the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (“WPPT”) 1996; and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (modified 1984). Each party was also given effect to: Articles 1 through 6 of the WIPO Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Well-Known Marks 1999, adopted by the Assembly of the Paris Union for the Protection of Industrial Property and the General Assembly of WIPO; the Trademark Law Treaty 1994; make the best efforts to ratify or accede to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs 1999; and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks 1989. In addition, the USSFTA sets out significant TRIPS-Plus obligations such as to increase the copyright term for works to life and 70 years.33
  2. • Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment) Act 2003.34 The Explanatory Statement to the Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment) Bill 200335 states: “[The] Bill seeks to amend the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act (Cap 272A) to enable Singapore to implement the United States–Singapore Free Trade Agreement.”

  3. • This was a bumper year for statutory IP law in Singapore. Four Bills concerned with IP were presented to Parliament for their Second

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