Singapore’s patent office plans to speed up the approval process for blockchain patents especially in fintech. In an event marking the 2018 World Intellectual Property Day on Thursday, the Intellectual Property of Singapore (IPOS) announced a new initiative to speed up the process of granting patents for blockchain payment systems which it considers a key fintech invention.
According to Mr. Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, “Singapore is a place where great ideas from anywhere in the world can be commercialized. By significantly reducing the time needed for grant of a FinTech patent, our innovative enterprises will be able to compete effectively through their intellectual property and use these intellectual assets to scale up and enter the world’s market.”
In its statement, IPOS said that it’s FinTech Fast Track Initiative it seeks to reduce the time required to get the patent from about two years to six months. The Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling, made the announcement.
The patent office described blockchain systems with fintech and banking applications as part of eligible inventions when it listed category of inventions that qualify for the Fast Track Initiative. Part of the statement read:
“The incorporation of blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of clearing and settlement across borders for transaction and payment is deemed as a Fintech invention.”
IPOS gave guidelines for applications for the Fast Track Initiative one of which is that the patent applications must be filed first in the country. It also directed applicants to limit the number of invention claims to 20 claims per patent.
The country has made significant efforts to promote blockchain technology in the recent past as it strives to become a “Smart Nation”. Last month, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced a blockchain innovation challenge which sought to identify and fund distributed ledger technology (DLT) innovations in the areas of business and social interactions.
The country’s apex bank in partnership with Canada is working on a cross-border payment solution which will use blockchain technology. The venture, Project Ubin represents efforts by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAF) which also serves as the country’s central bank as part of broader efforts to encourage a blockchain innovation in the region.