Do you need to hire a lawyer to handle your Singapore trade mark registration?

trade mark lawyer singapore

So you’ve come to the conclusion that you should register your trade mark in Singapore. The question now becomes whether you should attempt to register the trade mark yourself or to hire a trade mark lawyer to do it for you.

In Singapore, it’s not a requirement that your trade mark application has to be filed through an agent. You can choose to file for registration of the trade mark for your company on its behalf. However, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) recommends that applicants seek legal advice to determine the scope of their rights.

As with many things in life, there are pros and cons to handling a trade mark registration on your own.

Advantages

1). Cheaper than hiring a lawyer.

This one’s a no-brainer. IPOS’s official registration fee for registering a trade mark per class of goods/services is S$341. Provided there aren’t deficiencies found during the examination or oppositions from third parties, you’re not going to be paying more than that to register your trade mark in one class

Depending on the lawyer/law firm you approach, fees can shoot up more than five times of the cost you’d pay if you handled everything yourself.

2). Learning the trade mark registration process.

The trade mark registration process in Singapore is a relatively complicated one and you never know when your company may eventually decide to apply for more trade marks. As companies grow larger, their suite of offerings grow. Large companies such as Coca-Cola have hundreds of trade marks and trade mark applications around the world.

By filing a trade mark once, you learn to navigate the trade mark registration process and this can serve you well in the future if you need to file for another trade mark in the future.

Disadvantages

1). You might mess up the trade mark application.

While filing a trade mark application is admittedly a lot easier than filing a patent application, there are still a fair number of intricacies involved in the process. An experienced trade mark lawyer will be able to help you conduct a comprehensive trade mark search, look out for potential trade mark conflicts, and choose the appropriate classes of goods/services for your trade mark.

If you’re not familiar with the myriad pitfalls that can occur in a trade mark application, your mark can end up with a higher chance of being rejected by IPOS’s trade mark examiner or opposed by a third party after IPOS publishes the mark in the Trade Marks Journal. This can end up being much more costly for your business than simply hiring a lawyer in the first place.

2). It’s not an efficient use of your time

As a founder of a startup, it’s highly likely you’re going to be severely pressed for time. Spending countless hours trying to get up to speed on the trade mark process probably isn’t the best use of your time (and trust me, if you want to make absolutely certain the registration runs smoothly, it’s going to take a lot of time).

In addition, there are multiple stages to a trade mark registration in Singapore, each of which can be quite time-consuming. The filing of the application is just the first stage. Subsequently, you have:

  • The examination of your application by the Registry’s trade mark examiner.
  • Subsequent office actions with preliminary non-final refusals that require an appropriate response.
  • Publication and an opposition period of two months where you may need to respond to any opposition by third parties.

Can you imagine the amount of time you’ll have to spend if you want to register your trade mark in other countries as well?

An experienced trade mark lawyer will be able to help you manage this process efficiently, without the inadvertent headaches an entrepreneur who’s “winging it” will have.


Conclusion

It’s not an absolute must to hire a lawyer to handle the trade mark registration for you. However, while it’s possible to do it yourself, you have to be prepared to put in the time to make sure everything goes smoothly, and it can be very difficult to do this without the requisite experience.

Keeping costs low is a priority for any startup and if your startup is really strapped for cash, the DIY method of registration can be an option. Another alternative would be to look for law firms that provide a more affordable service, and these would usually be the smaller law firms. The issue then, would be to find a law firm that is affordable and yet has the requisite knowledge to help you handle your trade mark registration.

To find out more about the trade mark registration process in Singapore, click here.

If you’d like to have an affordable, experienced trade mark lawyer assist you in registering your trade mark, get in touch with us here.