Patent restoration: standard of reasonable care

In a hearing before the Singapore Registrar of Patents in 2009, Advanced Systems Automation Ltd. filed applications for restoration of its 12 patents between 10 and 29 months after the patent renewal due dates.

The evidence filed by the proprietor in support of the applications for restoration was that the patent renewal due dates coincided with an unanticipated downturn in the global electronics market, which was beyond its control. Its patents had lapsed not due to a lack of vigilance, but because the company was not in a position to renew its patents due to lack of financial resources.

Reference was made to Section 39(5) of the Singapore Patents Act, which requires the patentee to show reasonable care to ensure that any renewal fee is paid within the prescribed period or that the fee and any prescribed additional fees are paid within the six months immediately following the end of that period.

The registrar referred to the comment of Judge Aldous in the Continental Manufacturing & Sales Inc’s Patent case and distilled a three-pronged test as follows:

patent restoration, Advanced Systems Automaton, Singapore Patents Act