What defences to infringement are available?

Intellectual Property

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Copyright – Where the act is fair dealing in relation to works, for the purpose of criticism or review, and for the purpose of reporting current events; reproduction for purposes of judicial proceedings or professional advice from an advocate or solicitor; temporary reproduction made in the course of communication; inclusion of works in collections for use by educational institutions; or accessories to imported articles.

There are also specific provisions for artistic works and buildings. Network service providers are also covered by safe harbour provisions.

Registered designs – Where the act is done for a private, non-commercial purpose, or for evaluation, analysis, research, or teaching. Also, where a person who, before the date of registration of a design, does in good faith in Singapore an act which would be an infringement of the design if registration had been in force at that time, or makes in good faith effective and serious preparations to do such an act in Singapore, has the right to continue to do the act or, as the case may be, do the act.

Geographical indications – Where it is the use of a personal name; where no action had been taken against the person after 5 years; or where a qualified person has continuously used in Singapore that geographical indication in relation to those goods or services for at least 10 years preceding 15 April 1994, or in good faith preceding that date.

Layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits – Where copying is part of a protected layout-design that does not comply with the requirement of originality; done for a private purpose and not the purpose of commercial exploitation; done for the sole purpose of evaluation, analysis, research, or teaching, and to use the results of such evaluation, analysis, or research to create a different layout-design that complies with the requirement of originality; or done at the time when the person did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to have known, that the copy was unauthorised.

It is also not an infringement of a qualified owner's protected layout-design for a qualified owner of another independently created and protected layout-design that is identical to the first mentioned layout-design to commercially exploit its independently created and protected layout-design.

Patents – Where the act is done privately and for non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes, or as extemporaneous preparation of a medicine for an individual; where the use of the invention begun before the priority date; the 'Bolar' defence; or exhaustion of rights in the patented invention.

The use of a patented invention in a relevant aircraft, hovercraft, or vehicle or ship temporarily in territory of Singapore and the use of an exempted aircraft lawfully in Singapore would also not constitute an infringement.

Plant varieties – Where the act is done privately and for non-commercial purposes; for experimental or research purpose; or for the purposes of breeding any other plant variety.
Trade marks – 'Own name' defence; 'descriptive use' defence; 'prior user' defence; use for non-commercial purpose; or news reporting or commentary.

Trade secrets/know-how – Where the information (previously trade secret or confidential information) is already in the public domain or there is a public interest in such disclosure.

Updated: May 23, 2017