Intellectual Property Policy
A robust intellectual property (IP) regime is essential to support an innovation-driven economy and the growth of industry and commerce in Singapore. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) is committed to maintaining an IP regime that is balanced, well-regarded internationally, and supports value creation.
MinLaw oversees various aspects of IP policy, including those relating to patents, trade marks, copyright, registered designs, plant varieties, geographical indications and trade secrets. Specific functions include reviewing and updating our domestic IP protection and enforcement regime so that it supports economic goals; fostering the growth of a vibrant IP services sector; and safeguarding Singapore’s interests in international forums.
The implementation of IP policies also involves the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a statutory board under MinLaw. IPOS is the lead government agency that advises on IP laws, maintains the IP Registers, and engages businesses on their IP needs.
Developing Singapore as a Global IP Hub in Asia
Singapore’s IP regime is recognised as one of the world’s best. Since 2014, Singapore has been ranked among the top five in the world by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index for the strength of our IP protection.
In 2013, the Government released the IP Hub Master Plan to leverage Singapore’s key strengths and guide our development as a Global IP Hub in Asia. It is envisaged that Singapore will strengthen our position as a hub for (i.) IP transactions and management, (ii.) a hub for quality IP filings, and (iii.) a hub for IP dispute resolution.
Quality Patent Search and Examination Services, a Gateway to the Region and Beyond
IPOS has built a team of patent examiners with expertise spanning a wide range of technologies. In 2014, it was appointed as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the first IP office in ASEAN to be so appointed.
Through a comprehensive network of patent offices, a search and examination report from IPOS can be used to speed up patent prosecution in more than 30 markets, including the US, Europe, China, Japan and ASEAN.
Comprehensive IP Dispute Resolution Services
Singapore’s legal system is trusted internationally and has gained a reputation for transparency, efficiency and neutrality. Singapore also offers a full suite of dispute resolution services for parties who wish to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The IP Court Guide was released in September 2013 and sets out special case management procedures for IP cases. The High Court also has a list of seven IP judges, who have greater experience and expertise in IP matters, to hear IP cases. This facilitates further deepening of expertise and improves the quality of decisions.
WIPO has established an Arbitration and Mediation Centre (AMC) in Singapore, its only centre outside Geneva. A collaboration framework between IPOS and the WIPO AMC allows parties to resolve IP disputes via ADR at the WIPO AMC. Additionally, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has established a specialist panel of 19 IP arbitrators, which includes internationally-renowned IP experts.
Skilled IP Manpower to Support the IP Ecosystem
IPOS has developed an IP Competency Framework (IPCF) in consultation with industry stakeholders to provide a roadmap of the various skillsets and career pathways in the IP ecosystem. IPOS has also partnered industry associations to put in place accreditation schemes that confer professional recognition of expertise and provide greater quality assurance.
Updating the IP Hub Master Plan to Support Singapore’s Future Economy
In February 2017, the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) released its recommendations on economic strategies for the next decade. IPOS and MinLaw released an Update to the IP Hub Master Plan to support the CFE’s recommendation to strengthen Singapore’s innovation ecosystem and help achieve better economic outcomes in the future economy.
The Update builds upon the progress achieved and focuses on helping innovative enterprises harness IP for growth, particularly through the active commercialisation and monetisation of their IP.