15 December 2020
IPOS issues Guide on Registered Designs for Non-Physical Products
In 2017, Singapore amended the Registered Designs Act (“RDA”) to, among other things, expand the scope of registrable designs to include virtual designs for non-physical products. With the rise of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as evolving business models, the scope of the registered design protection was expanded to ensure that the RDA stays relevant.
To assist applicants seeking protection for virtual designs applied to non-physical products, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has recently issued the Registered Designs Guidelines on Non-Physical Products (the “Guide”) in November 2020. The full Guide may be accessed here.
We have summarised below, the key considerations for an application to register virtual designs for non-physical products.
1. Requirements to apply for Registration of Virtual Designs for Non-Physical Products
Under the RDA, registrable virtual designs are designs that are applied to an eligible non-physical product. An eligible non-physical product must satisfy all of the following requirements:
It must not have a physical form;
It must be produced by the projection of a design on a surface or into a medium (including air); and
It must have an intrinsic utilitarian function (and does not merely portray the appearance of the thing or convey information).
The following examples provided by IPOS serve to illustrate the abovementioned requirements:
Other examples can also be found in the Guide.
2. Rights Conferred by Registration of Virtual Designs for Non-Physical Products
The owner of a registered virtual design for a non-physical product has exclusive rights to:
make, import into Singapore, sell, hire or offer to expose for sale or hire in Singapore any device for projecting a non-physical product; and
sell, hire or offer to expose for sale or hire in Singapore any non-physical product in respect of which the design is registered.
As it stands, the rights appear fairly wide and can serve as a valuable intellectual property asset for first-movers. If you would like to find out more about registering a design, whether applied to a non-physical product or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This update is intended to provide general information only and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive or comprehensive statement of law. Should you have any specific questions, please speak with your usual contact at Amica Law LLC, or you may direct your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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