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Registered Design Act had originally been enacted in 2000 in Singapore. This act has gone through various amendments by formal and informal consolidations in 2001, 2005, 2012, and 2014. Major change has been brought in act in 2001 and 2005 in which this act has been revised. This article includes the proposed reforms that have been tabled in the Parliament of Singapore for the Second reading on 8th May, 2017. The proposed changes aims to support modern business practices while continuing to balance the interests of design creators/owners and users and provide business certainty.
Key features of the Registered Design (Amendment) Bill
- Widened scope of registrable Design
The definition of “Design” in the proposed bill has updated to give expand the scope in granting of design right, which clearly aims to incentivize creativity and innovation. It is expected to include an important aspect i.e. colour under the umbrella of important component of design. However, the scope will not extend to colour per se but only to limited colours monopolizing that result in impeding design innovation.
Second important inclusion is of virtual designs of non-physical products that can be projected onto a surface and have useful functions. Those design need to fulfil two requirements (a) be capable of being represented clearly and without subjectivity; and (b) retain the same (or substantially similar) design features irrespective of the surface or medium they are projected on.
- Ownership of Rights
Under the current section 4 of the RDA the commissioning party is considered to be owner of rights by default, not the creator/designer. However, this bill gives creator/designer the actual right of ownership. According to proposed change ownership rights shall be vested with commissioning party, subjected to any agreement or liberty of contract between the parties concerned.
- Extension of grace period for registration
If any designer had disclosed his/her design before registration and designer wish to register it that grace period of 6 month was granted for filing for registration. This grace period has been extended to 12 months as per the amendment under RDA.
- Allowance of multiple design of same classification under same application
Before, designer need to file one application for designs of same Locarno sub-classification. However, each design has its separate application number and treated as individual application with separate fees for registration. The amendment will allow registration of multiple designs under the same broad category and through a single application, which in turn may reduce the costs involved with subsequent designs within the same application.
About the Author: Mohini Sharma, Legal Intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Helika Jurgenson,”Upcoming Reform: Registered Designs Regime in Singapore”, available at http://www.youripinsider.eu/upcoming-reform-registered-designs-regime-singapore/
- IP newsletter, available at https://f.datasrvr.com/fr1/017/70864/2017Apr17_IP_Newsletter.pdf
- Ministry of Law, Singapore at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/news/press-releases/legislative-changes-introduced-to-update-singapores-registered-d.html