Artificial Intelligence (AI) has seen huge growth in recent years with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reporting that nearly 340,000 patent families and more than 1.6 million scientific papers related to AI were published between 1960 and 2018. In addition, WIPO reports that the number of patent applications filed in the AI field grew by a factor of 6.5 between 2011 and 2017.
Like other computer implemented inventions, AI has seen rapid development, and patent offices sometimes struggle keep pace with this innovation.
However, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore has recognised that AI has become one of the biggest drivers of technological and social change.
In recognition of this, The Office launched, on 26 April 2019, a free, fast track 6 month patent grant process for AI inventions. This is four times quicker than the usual patent grant period in Singapore of about 2 years.
To qualify for the fast track patent grant process:
- The application must be an AI invention;
- The application must be first filed in Singapore;
- The Request for Grant form and Request for Search and Examination must be filed on the same day;
- The application must have 20 claims or less; and
- A supporting document labelled as Fast Track document is filed when filing the Request for Grant form must also be filed. The document should state that the application is an AI invention.
Although the fast track process only applies when a patent application is first filed in Singapore, it does provide a useful mechanism for applicants to expedite the patent grant process for AI inventions.
Currently, Singapore is the only country to have a fast track patent application process specifically directed to AI. It remains to be seen whether other countries will provide specific fast track patent application procedures for AI inventions. However, other offices such as the European Patent Office and the USPTO do already provide for accelerated prosecution of patent applications albeit not specifically directed to AI inventions.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.