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FAQ

If you can’t find the answer here, please contact us at partnership@nuhs.edu.sg.

Pertaining to invention patentability

For an invention to be patentable, it must, in general, satisfy three key criteria:

  1. New - the invention must be novel and not publicly known or described in any way, anywhere in the world.
  2. Inventive - involves a technical feature that is not obvious. The inventive step or improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the invention’s particular field.
  3. Useful - industrially-applicable. The invention should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.

The following are not patentable inventions in Singapore:

  • A method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body.
  • An invention that is generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behavior.

When an invention is disclosed to NUHS Research Office, an assessment of the patentability will be done according to these criteria, as well as other factors such as unmet need, impact on clinical care, market analysis, potential challenges to patenting and commercialisation, and likelihood of out-licensing to a company for further development.

Anything that is available in public domain. Examples of public disclosure include conference abstracts, posters, publications, dissertations, press releases, public talks, information posted in World Wide Web, or other communications. Public disclosure of your invention in any form may compromise the ability to patent your invention.

You should submit an Invention Disclosure (download form here) well before any public disclosure of the invention as that may compromise the ability to patent your invention.

No. Your invention should not be just an idea.

A pure algorithm which does not incorporate a patentable process or which is not embodied in a process or machine and has no practical application is not patentable.

Similarly, a computer software having a technical effect or industrial application may be patentable. However the guidelines differs in different jurisdictions with regards to software patent protection. In Europe, software and computer programmes are not patentable.

Please contact partnership@nuhs.edu.sg for further advice.

Pertaining to general patenting/commercialisation process

Approximately 4 years.

As long as inventor is a resident of Singapore, the patent application has to be first filed in Singapore unless applicant obtains permission from the Registrar of Patents (IPOS) to first file a foreign patent application.

Contact NUHS Research Office at Partnership@nuhs.edu.sg at least 3 months in advance of any discussions to allow us to put in place a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the external party.

Yes, it is possible. Discuss your business plans with NUHS Research Office. We will facilitate the licensing of IP to the company if and when appropriate.

Pertaining to internal procedures/policies

If you believe that your invention is unique and has potential commercial applications, please submit the Invention Disclosure Form together with any relevant documents to partnership@nuhs.edu.sg. Please note that this should be done well before public disclosure of your invention through conference abstracts, posters, publications, dissertations, press releases, public talks, information posted online in public domain or other communications. Public disclosure of your invention in any form may compromise the ability to patent your invention.

The disclosure form is designed to gather specific information that will enable evaluation of the invention's patentability and commercial potential. You will need to describe your invention in as much detail as possible as well as who contributed to it, who funded it and its potential commercial applications.

NUHS Research Office may contact you for further clarifications and discussion during the evaluation of your invention.

You may submit an Invention Disclosure as soon as you believe you have created an invention. Do note that you should have at least some preliminary data to support your invention; your invention should not be just an idea.

If you are unsure, please contact partnership@nuhs.edu.sg for a discussion.

Protection of Intellectual Property is often necessary to encourage investment from industry to develop products and processes which ultimately benefit patients. Where consistent with the above purposes, Intellectual Property should be commercialised. You can obtain value from your invention through sale or licensing of the patented invention, or use the patent as a means to raise investment.

As a general rule, NUH owns inventions made by its employees while working under a grant or contract to NUH or using NUH resources. The ownership means that NUH owns the right to apply for and be granted a patent created by NUH employees. The NUH employees who created the invention will be named as inventors in the patent applications.

In determining ownership of Intellectual Property, the following general principles apply:

  • If Intellectual Property is developed by any Staff member in the course of employment with NUH, whether or not it is developed as part of his or her normal duties, the Intellectual Property belongs to NUH.
  • Intellectual Property is deemed to be developed in the course of employment with NUH whether or not it is developed during “protected time” for research or if it was developed outside official working hours.
  • If significant use of NUH resources (see paragraph below) was made in developing any Intellectual Property, whether or not it is developed in the course of employment with NUH, the Intellectual Property belongs to NUH.
  • All Intellectual Property in patient material and copyright in clinical data belong to NUH.
  • Any other Intellectual Property developed by a NUH Staff member outside of his field of expertise (for example a music composition) belongs to the NUH Staff member.

Significant use of NUH resources includes any of the following:

  • research carried out using funds provided or administered by or obtained through NUH
  • research carried out using any clinical database, materials obtained from the tissue repository, electronic medical records, patient data generated from investigative equipment, registries and datasets derived from aforesaid sources
  • research carried out using any Intellectual Property belonging to NUH
  • research carried out with the participation of NUH patients

As a general rule, NUH owns inventions made by its employees unless the Intellectual Property developed is clearly outside of the inventor’s field of expertise (for example a music composition). The ownership of IP does not change unless NUH assigns the ownership to the NUH inventor(s) in circumstances such as if NUH decides not to protect the invention.

Yes. If NUH decides not to pursue patent protection for an invention, NUH may assign the rights to apply for and be granted a patent back to the NUH inventor(s).

Contact NUHS Research Office or submit an Invention Disclosure to partnership@nuhs.edu.sg for our evaluation. All contributors to the ideas leading to an invention should be mentioned in your disclosure, even if they are not NUH employees.

If your invention is patentable, we will work with the Technology Transfer Office of the other institution(s) to file and manage the patent application. We will also negotiate a joint Intellectual Property Agreement that will define the rights of each institution to the invention.

As a general rule, NUH owns inventions made by its employees while working under a grant or contract to NUH or using NUH resources. If NUH and NUS resources are used to develop the IP, it is likely that the IP would be jointly owned by both parties.

NUHS Research Office will work with the Technology Transfer Office of NUS (or other institution(s) if appropriate) to file and manage the patent application. We will also put up an Intellectual Property Agreement that will define the rights of each institution to the invention.

If NUH decides to file for patent protection for an invention, NUH will pay for the patent expenses and manage the entire patenting process through NUHS Research Office.

Yes. When NUH receives royalty from the licensing of an invention, a percentage of the revenue first goes back to NUH to pay for general overhead expenses incurred. 50% from the remaining revenue then goes to the NUH inventor(s) in accordance with the royalty distribution guideline in NUH Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. Amongst NUH inventors, the inventors’ share of revenue is divided equally unless all inventors agree in writing to an alternate distribution formula of their choice.

Yes. The NUH inventor’s share of royalty revenue will continue to be paid to the inventor as long as inventors update their mailing address with NUH after their departure.