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Re: [ossig] Patent Covers at al



Here's something that came to me from a person fairly familiar
with the whole process of patent application and granting in
Singapore by IPOS.

"IPOS is being deliberately ambiguous because software/business
methods patents are not explicitly provided for by statute.

IF Singapore courts follow English precedent, software/business
methods patents would not be valid in Singapore.

On the other hand, software/business methods patents were
never explicitly endorsed in US patent law either. They were
slipped in via a court decision (kinda like how the US legalized
abortion via the Supreme Court rather than through Congress).

Singapore patents are literally worth only the paper that they are
printed on because Singapore does not have a patent examination
system. Unlike the US/UK and even Australia, the patent office does
not make a judgement as to the strength of a patent before issuing
it. Essentially, you pay the fees and so long as you keep going, you
will eventually get your patent. The first time that a patent will be
critically examined for its validity is when it goes to court.

Technically, there is an "examination" stage in the Singapore patent
process where patents are sent to various foreign patent offices to
be examined, but even if the examination report comes back saying
it is a piece of junk, IPOS will proceed to issue the patent if you pay
them the fees.

Theoretically, Singapore's courts could eventually rule that
software/business methods patents have no legal standing. Or they
could give in to expediency and follow the US model. Until that time,
IPOS has to cover its bets.

The kicker is this quote from IPOS's website:

http://www.ipos.gov.sg/main/aboutip/patents/appprocess.html#flowchart

"Grant of the Patent
Upon the receipt of a search and examination report, the applicant
would have to assess if it is worthwhile to proceed to obtain a grant
of a patent and maintain the patent. If the applicant chooses to do
so, he would then submit a request for grant. On grant, a certificate
of grant would be issued, and this fact and date of grant will be
published in the Patents Journal."

In other words, whatever the the examination report says, it is the
applicant who gets to decide whether the patent is granted."

Harish


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