Frequently Asked Questions

About Trade Marks

What is a Trade Mark?

A Trade Mark is used to distinguish a business’ goods and services from those of other their competitors.

What can you Trade Mark?

A Trade Mark could be a business name, logo design, sound, smell, shape, an aspect of packaging.

Why register a Trade Mark?

Registering a Trade Mark gives the owner statutory rights to use the Trade Mark in the country of registration. This would protect the Trade Mark from imitation or infringement.

Is registration of a Trade Mark mandatory?

No, registration of a Trade Mark is not compulsory in Singapore. If you do not have a Trade Mark registration, the name or logo of your business will still be protected from infringement or imitation by the common law action of “passing off”.

However, the remedy of passing off would require you to prove your business has acquired goodwill through extensive usage of your Trade Mark. Therefore unless your business has been established for a substantial period of time, proving those requirements may be difficult.


Why do you need to perform a Trade Mark Search?

This ensures that there will be no conflict in your Trade Mark application. The Trade Mark you sought to register cannot be identical or similar to earlier Trade Marks in the registry for marks bearing the same class of goods and/or services. Any conflict found will result in the rejection of the Trade Mark application.

What are the requirements for registering a Trade Mark in Singapore?

  1. Include a statement that you request a registration
  2. Provide your name and address
  3. Give a clear graphical representation of your mark. For marks comprising of a three-dimensional shape of the goods or packaging, line drawings should clearly show all dimensions of the mark.
  4. Provide a list of goods and services that you are registering in relation to the mark (that are classified in accordance with the International Classification of Goods and Services)
  5. Include a declaration of your proposed use of the trade mark
  6. Make sure that all fees have been paid

Application Procedure

How long does the registration process take?

In most cases the registration process can take anywhere between 6-18 months.

Do I have to provide a translation if my Trade Mark is not English?

Yes, where the Trade Mark is not in English, a translation will have to be provided in the application.

Should I register my Trade Mark in all the classes?

Registration in all the classes is not necessary and may be costly. Classes are grouped depending on the function and material type of your goods or services that you offer. We recommend that you seek registration inyour primary classes first.

Should I file a single class or a multi class application?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to filing a single class or multi class application.

Single Class Multi Class
Advantages If you encounter objections or oppositions in one class, your other classes may still proceed to registration first. Filing a multiclass will result in substantial costs savings should you decide to file foreign trade mark applications through the Madrid Protocol.
The more classes and countries you choose to designate, the larger your costs savings per country per class.
Disadvantages When you file foreign trade mark applications through the Madrid Protocol, your unit costs per country per class is higher.
As each application will attract a separate base fee.
If you encounter objections or oppositions in one class, your other classes may not proceed to registration until all objections or oppositions have been successfully overcome.
Alternatively you have the option of dividing your applications.

To find out more about foreign applications please get in touch with our team.

How do I know which class to register my Trade Mark in?

Trade Marks should be registered in the relevant class, depending on the function and material type of your business or business product. Classes 1 to 34 related to goods, and Classes 35 to 45 relate to services. You can refer to the 10th Edition of the Nice Classification for clarification.

If your goods and services does not appear to fall in these classes, please get in touch with our helpful team to find out more!

Should I file my Trade Mark in colour or in grey scale?

It depends. If you file your mark in colour, then colours form a feature of your mark. A coloured representation is not required unless the marks is to be limited to colours or where the mark consists of only colours per se.

Should I Trade Mark my Brand Name or Logo Design?

We recommend that your trade mark both your brand name and logo design to enjoy a wider scope of protection.

Registration of your Brand Name may prevent others from using a conceptually and aurally similar name.

Registration of your Logo Design may prevent others from using a logo with visually similar conceptual and graphical elements.


How long does a Trade Mark registration last?

A Trademark Registration lasts for 10 years

What is required for the maintenance of a registered Trade Mark?

It can be renewed every 10 years subject to payment of the renewal fees.

Does my Trade Mark registration only protect Singapore?

Yes, the registration of a Trade Mark only protects the registered owner within the country where registration takes place. To protect a Trade Mark outside of Singapore, it has to be registered in the respective country.

Is there an International Trade Mark?

There is no Trade Mark protection that would provide protection internationally. Trade Marks must be registered in the specific jurisdictions in order to secure protection.

However, The Madrid Protocol allows for a Trade mark application to be made in several countries which are parties to the Madrid Protocol simultaneously by filing one application. However, before filing for an Madrid application, your Trade Mark must first be registered or applied for in the country of origin.

How do I warn other of my registered Trade Mark?

The symbol ® can be used to warn others that your mark is a registered Trade Mark and is protected under the Trade Mark Act.

What happens if a mark is not used once registered?

If a mark is not used for an uninterrupted period of 5 years, where there is no proper reason for non-use, the registered trademark may be vulnerable to revocation.