Apr 1, 2013

Singapore - Master plan to develop Singapore into global IP hub

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A new 10-year master plan aimed at developing Singapore into a global Intellectual Property (IP) hub was unveiled Monday.

The master plan, which was formulated by an IP Steering Committee, was revealed by the Ministry of Law after the government accepted the committee’s recommendations.

The committee, which is led by MediaCorp chairman Mr Teo Ming Kian, was formed in May 2012 after the government identified IP as a key driver of global economic growth.

"What the government is constantly on the lookout for is new opportunities for Singaporeans… and one new growth area we identified was the IP industry, because that is basically growing exponentially worldwide," said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah.

Among the recommendations outlined in the master plan is a call for Singapore to be an international hub for IP transactions and management.

The committee also recommended boosting the quality of IP filings as well as IP dispute resolution in Singapore.

To achieve these outcomes, the committee said that Singapore should develop skilled manpower resources networked to the region and beyond, as well as create an environment suitable for IP activities to strengthen Singapore as a vibrant IP hub.

There is also an increasing need to have ideas and knowledge to move up the value-added chain in the economy, said Mr Teo.

"We have gone through the phases of the labour intensive, skill intensive, capital intensive sorts of economic development. To get to the next level, you really need knowledge, you really need to exploit ideas. And this is where I think the committee feels that Singapore has a role to play," he added.

He also said that Singapore’s strong legal and financial system was an advantage.

"We are well trusted because we have rule of law. We have (the) consistency of policies to protect properties, tangible or otherwise. We are a very effective and efficient business and financial centre... I don't think there are many other countries who can lay claim to (having this combination of factors)."

Among the initiatives the government unveiled Monday in support of the master plan was a IP financing scheme, which would see the government partially underwriting the value of patents used as collateral in the event of a default.

The Financial Training Scheme, which is administered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will also be extended to include IP financing-related courses.

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore will also spend S$50 million to build up a search-and-examination team in niche technology areas such as biomedical sciences, electronics and IT to boost the quality IP filings.

- CNA/jc

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