Intellectual Property Policy
A robust Intellectual Property (IP) rights regime is essential to encourage innovation, creativity and the growth of industry and commerce in Singapore. The Ministry of Law is committed to help create an environment that is conducive for the development of IP, which covers patents, trade marks, copyright, registered designs, plant varieties protection, geographical indications, trade secrets and layout-design of integrated circuits.
MinLaw formulates policies and strategies in support of Singapore’s drive towards an innovation-driven economy. Specific functions include ensuring a robust domestic IP protection and enforcement regime that is responsive to our economic needs; fostering the growth of a vibrant IP services sector, and developing Singapore as an Asian IP hub.
The implementation of IP policies is undertaken by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a statutory board under MinLaw. IPOS is the lead government agency that advises on and administers IP laws and, promotes IP awareness. To develop Singapore as an IP hub of Asia, IPOS’ mission is to provide the infrastructure, build expertise and grow the ecosystem in support of the greater creation, protection and exploitation of IP.
Developing Singapore as Asia’s Intellectual Property Hub
In the last decade, Singapore has made tremendous strides in the development of a thriving IP landscape. The high international rankings for Singapore’s IP regime bear testament to this. For example, since 2006, our IP regime has been consistently ranked among the top five in the world by the World Economic Forum, and top 10 by the Institute for Management Development. According to the Global Innovation Index 2012 compiled by the INSEAD Business School in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Singapore is Asia’s most innovative country.
Our Strong IP Infrastructure
Trusted Legal System
Singapore has a trusted legal system with an international reputation for transparency, efficiency and neutrality. Since February 2002, we have had a specialised IP Court. In 2012, the Supreme Court formally designated Justices Tan Lee Meng, Tay Yong Kwang, Lee Seiu Kin and Chan Seng Onn, each with considerable expertise and experience in IP cases, as IP judges to handle the increasingly complex IP cases.
Growing Our Expertise in IP Alternative Dispute Resolution
Singapore has also developed strong IP arbitration capabilities. WIPO has established an Arbitration and Mediation Centre (AMC) in Singapore, its only centre outside Geneva, to support IP dispute resolution in Asia. The collaboration framework between the IPOS and the WIPO AMC allows parties to settle IP disputes via alternative dispute resolution avenues at the WIPO AMC.
Building Indigenous Search and Examination Capabilities
IPOS is developing in-house search and examination (S&E) capabilities in key technological areas. Having our own world-class S&E capabilities is part of the effort to develop a comprehensive suite of IP capabilities in Singapore. We aim to provide world-class S&E services efficiently and at a competitive cost to inventors and companies filing in Singapore.
Enhancing Expertise Across the IP Value Chain
Singapore is committed to deepening the manpower expertise across the IP value chain. The IP Academy of Singapore, established in 2002, provides professional training across a wide area including IP management, IP due diligence and transaction, and technology transfer. The IP Academy also delivers graduate-level programmes such as the Graduate Certificate in IP Law (GCIP) and the MSc in IP Management to raise the level of expertise of IP professionals in Singapore.
A Future-Ready Master Plan
An IP Steering Committee is developing an IP Hub Master Plan to guide the next phase of efforts to develop Singapore as an Asian IP hub. The Committee overseeing the IP Hub Master Plan will focus on and recommend strategies along two key thrusts, namely (a) to develop a vibrant marketplace to transact and commercialise IP, and (b) to build world-class capabilities and infrastructure.