Intellectual Property Law of Singapore

This book centres on the discussion of intellectual property law in Singapore. The chapters are categorised into six Parts: Introduction; Copyright; Patents, Innovation and Inventions; Designs; Trade Marks, Passing Off and Unfair Competition; and Confidential Information. Each Part is written with the objective that it may be studied on its own. However, as there may be overlapping rights between the categories, cross-referencing between Parts and chapters is necessary. Singapore’s intellectual property law, like that in many other countries, is intricately bound to a larger set of international legal norms and standards. Therefore, the study of this branch of the law is not complete without consideration of the historical perspectives as well as the influences of international treaties and conventions in the different categories of intellectual property.

In this book, references are made to the legal positions in several jurisdictions around the world, such as the UK, the European Union, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with a view to: (a) providing comparisons between the law in Singapore and the others; (b) offering possible or alternative interpretations in areas where the law in Singapore is unsettled; and (c) providing an indication of evolving legal trends in the area and the challenges they may bring to policymakers.


Part I   Introduction
Chapter 1       Introduction and General Themes in Intellectual Property

Part II   Copyright
Chapter 2       Introduction to Copyright
Chapter 3       Historical Origins and Current State of Copyright Laws
Chapter 4       Copyright in Works and Subject Matter Other than Works
Chapter 5       Copyright in Works and Other Subject Matter – A Closed List?
Chapter 6       Authorship and Ownership
Chapter 7       Duration of Copyright Protection
Chapter 8       Exclusive Rights and Copyright Infringement
Chapter 9       Defences to Copyright Infringement
Chapter 10     Remedies for Infringement of Copyright
Chapter 11     Dealings in Copyright
Chapter 12     Moral Rights
Chapter 13     Rights in Performances and Performers’ Protection
Chapter 14     Copyright in the Digital Age

Part III   Patents, Innovation and Inventions
Chapter 15     Introduction to Patents
Chapter 16     Grant of a Patent
Chapter 17     Patent Term
Chapter 18     Scope of a Patent
Chapter 19     Exclusive Rights and Patent Infringement
Chapter 20     Defences
Chapter 21     Entitlement
Chapter 22     Proprietary Rights and Dealings in Patents
Chapter 23     Remedies for Patent Infringement
Chapter 24     Protection of Plant Varieties in Singapore

Part IV   Designs
Chapter 25     Industrial Designs
Chapter 26     Integrated Circuits Designs

Part V   Trade Marks, Passing Off and Unfair Competition
Chapter 27     Trade Marks: History and Background
Chapter 28     Registrability of Trade Marks
Chapter 29     Exclusive Rights and Trade Mark Protection
Chapter 30     Well-known Marks
Chapter 31     Cancellation, Revocation and Invalidity
Chapter 32 Registered Trade Marks as Object of Property: Ownership and Exploitation
Chapter 33     Special Types of Trade Marks
Chapter 34     Geographical Indications
Chapter 35     Passing Off
Chapter 36     Malicious or Injurious Falsehood
Chapter 37     Trade Marks and Unfair Competition
Chapter 38     Trade Marks and the Internet

Part VI   Confidential Information
Chapter 39     Law of Confidence
Chapter 40     Substantive Elements
Chapter 41     Defences and Remedies


From the Foreword:

“… [an] excellent explanation, and examination, of the full panorama of Singapore’s IP law. …

… a magisterial treatment of the whole field, citing authorities not only from England but also Australia and the US when Singapore courts have not had to deal with a particular issue.

This book completes the ‘Singapore IP’ section of my library and I hope it does many others.”
                        — Professor David Llewelyn
                            Deputy Dean, School of Law

                             Singapore Management University


Susanna H S Leong received her LLB (Hons) from the National University of Singapore (“NUS”) and her LLM (with Merit) from the University College London, University of London. She is an Associate Professor and Vice-Dean (Graduate Studies) at the NUS Business School, NUS.

She teaches business-related law courses, such as contract, sale of goods and intellectual property, to undergraduate and graduate business students. Her research interests are in intellectual property and technology-related laws. She has published in international and local academic journals.

Susanna is an Advocate & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore. She is a Senior Fellow at the Intellectual Property Academy of Singapore. She is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Centre’s Domain Name Panel, and of the Regional Centre for Arbitration, Kuala Lumpur Panel. She is also a member of the Singapore Copyright Tribunal.



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CS Redeemable:


Date of Publication:

Jan 2013

ISBN Code:








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" The first substantive work on the constitutional law of Singapore was a 190-page book by S Jayakumar published in 1976. Since then, generations of law students, judges and practitioners delving into the subject have relied mainly upon three editions of the casebook Constitutional Law in Malaysia and Singapore authored by Kevin Y L Tan and Thio Li-ann, the latest of which appeared in 2010. Tan himself has also written a small book aimed primarily at a lay audience, An Introduction to Singapore’s Constitution, which is now in its second edition. Thio’s Treatise is thus the most detailed treatment of the subject to appear for almost 40 years. As one might imagine, the work comprehensively examines key features of the Singapore Constitution, including the institutions of government and four major fundamental liberties – the rights to life and personal liberty; equality and equal protection; freedom of speech, assembly and association; and freedom of religion. Readers will find much to chew upon if they are interested in the constitutional innovations that differentiate Singapore’s legal system from the traditional Westminster model of government – Group Representation Constituencies, Non-constituency and Nominated Members of Parliament, and the Elected Presidency scheme, to name the more distinctive ones. Thio also traces how judicial approaches towards the interpretation of rights have become more nuanced. However, rather more interesting are the discursions into constitutional theory. Thio notes in her preface that she set out to produce a “treatise… concerned with both theory and doctrine, … explaining the black letter rules of constitutional practice and their underlying rationales, as well as critically examining how they work in practice”. Consequently, she has situated the material relating directly to the Constitution’s provisions within a wider theoretical framework. Taking a cue from Donald Lutz, she discusses how constitutions are a confluence of power, justice and culture, and also looks at the concept of constitutionalism and basic constitutional doctrines. Western learning on these subjects is combined with a trenchant analysis of how they operate in the Singapore context. The sections on how the Singapore Constitution might be regarded as a combination of liberal and non-liberal elements, the use of soft constitutional law, and the evolving constitutional culture shaped by actions of the Government and the courts, are particularly illuminating. Thio does not shirk from expressing views divergent from mainstream liberal thinking. For instance, she questions the invocation of the right to equality in some jurisdictions “to advance contentious rights claims and a radical social agenda… such as that of ‘same-sex marriage’”, submitting that “issues implicated by the homosexualism agenda and its claims for equal, or special treatment, are complex and cannot be elucidated by merely invoking the ‘right’ of equality. This obscures other competing rights and goods and challenges long held values about family and marriage as social institutions.” One may not necessarily agree with her opinion, but cannot deny that she has provided a perspective that stimulates further thought and debate on the issue. The Treatise, which draws on experience gained by Thio from “a dozen years or so” of teaching and researching public law, confirms her as one of the pre-eminent constitutional scholars in Singapore today. It was initially conceived as a monograph on both constitutional and administrative law. Subsequently, a decision was made to focus on the former – a decision well taken, as the text weighs in at nearly a thousand pages. The administrative law book is in the works, and if it is anything like the present book it should be keenly anticipated."

Assistant Professor Jack Tsen-Ta Lee School of Law, SMU