Intellectual Property Protection

The CEO of Singapore’s Intellectual Property (IP) Office, Daren Tang, 47, has recently been nominated for the role of director-general of the United Nations (UN) World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which, if confirmed, shall make him the first from the country to take on a top UN role. Tang was selected from a list of ten candidates, and his nomination now needs to be approved in May 2020 when the WIPO General Assembly convenes.

In an official statement, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) stated that, if confirmed, Tang would become the fifth director-general at WIPO and would begin performing duties from 1st October 2020 for a six-year term. WIPO, a specialized agency under the UN, is responsible for managing IP policies, services, and cooperation, along with helping the member states in developing their infrastructure and capabilities to embrace IP as a catalyst for innovation, creativity, and economic development.

While currently being the chief executive of IPOS (a statutory board parked under Singapore’s Law Ministry), Tang is credited quite a lot of times for driving the IPOS’ path significantly from an IP registry and regulator to an innovation agency. The government agency even pointed to some prime updates, along with the legislative and policy reforms to the IP regime. Furthermore, there has also been an increase in the international level engagement, with the IPOS presently dealing and participating with more than 70 regional and international partners in cooperation agreements.

In August 2019, the IPOS had announced various initiatives aimed at driving innovation in the region and speeding up Patent Applications in some of the crucially emerging technologies, including cybersecurity, fintech, and robotics. Moreover, it also inked agreements and contracts with countries such as Brazil and the United Kingdom for identifying potential collaboration in the field of IP and patent work. These agreements were geared towards enhancing Singapore’s role as a hub for fuelling economic growth and facilitating technological work.

The IPOS also launched a Mobile App quite some time ago for enabling startups and businesses to file a Trademark Application speedily. By noting that the number of trademark applications filed in Singapore went up by 30% in the past five years, the IPOS said that the app makes use of the AI technology for identifying similar trademarks on the IPOS register and further preventing the applicants from filing for trademarks that are way too similar to the already existing ones. Known as the IPOS Go, the app is available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

In 2013, Singapore had unveiled its 10-year plan of positioning itself as the global IP hub in Asia through prime initiatives such as an IP financing scheme for encouraging banks to recognize IP as an asset class and enabling companies and organizations to raise capital more conveniently by using their patent assets. According to the IPOS, the World Economic Forum ranked Singapore second in the world last year for Intellectual Property Protection, and the nation has been among the top ten countries in WIPO’s annual Global Innovation Index since 2015.