Singapore, 25 Aug 2020 – Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Mr Edwin Tong said today that the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will roll out more initiatives to help businesses use intellectual property (IP) to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opening IP Week @ SG 2020, he announced new initiatives to speed up registration for trademarks and registered designs; expand the features of IPOS’ trademark registration app to include search functions for domain names and social media account names; and build IP mediation experience among youth.
In his opening remarks at IP Week @ SG 2020, Mr Tong said: “COVID-19 has disrupted the way we work, the way we interact with each other and the way we live, all in unprecedented ways. As countries and cities shut down, people engage in social distancing, technology has become essential in all aspects of our lives. We can expect new innovations to emerge more swiftly and with greater intensity to help businesses and communities define and adapt to a ‘new normal’. The work of IP offices around the world in enabling and protecting new creations is even more important now.”
“Concrete initiatives to empower companies in capturing opportunities through IP are already in place, with more on the way. We are accelerating those in the pipeline to support companies through the pandemic. We want to upskill enterprises’ IP capabilities and help businesses obtain quicker and easier IP protection,” he said.
Addressing over 5,000 delegates at the ninth edition and the first virtual IP Week @ SG organised by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Mr Tong noted that patents are only one aspect of IP protection. The government wants to enable enterprises to swiftly obtain protection for other types of IP as well. “To do so, we will be launching SG IP FAST. SG IP FAST extends beyond patents, to also accelerate the registration processes for trademarks and registered designs. Enterprises can secure IP protection in Singapore fast and leverage that to grow their business with confidence,” he said. SG IP FAST is an enhancement of an earlier scheme, SG Patent Fast Track, launched by IPOS in April this year. The SG Patent Fast Track, the world’s fastest application-to-grant process of its kind, accelerates grants of patent applications in all technology fields to just six months.
Another new initiative is enhanced features for IPOS GO, the world’s first mobile app for trademark applications which has attracted over 3,500 downloads and more than 500 applications since its launch in August 2019. A novel feature will allow enterprises to easily look for similar business names, trademarks, domain names and social media account names – all within a single search, enabling enterprises to make more informed branding decisions. The app’s renewal feature will also be extended to patents and registered designs and enable fuss-free maintenance of all registered IP in one mobile platform.
A third initiative will involve IPOS working with aspiring and fresh law graduates on a Young IP Mediator programme to build up IP mediation experience among Singapore’s youth. “By building local capabilities in this area, we hope to attract more disputes for mediation in Singapore,” Mr Tong explained, adding that the government will continue working with key stakeholders to co-develop national capabilities on IP management, and will share more details next year.
The Minister also noted that “IP is also a bright spot for international cooperation and collaboration at a time of increasing protectionism.” IPOS’ role has become more important in this environment and it has been working closely with other countries in the region and further afield for smoother, faster IP protection globally. Within Singapore, there is an ongoing whole-of-government effort, in partnership with its stakeholders, to further develop Singapore’s capabilities in IP management. “We will develop Singapore’s IP strategy to position our nation as a base for ideas, intangible assets and IP from anywhere in the world, from which to access markets in other parts of the world,” Mr Tong said.
In his speech, the Minister also put the spotlight on two local companies which are among this year’s recipients of the IPOS Innovation for Humanity Award for leveraging IP well in the fight against COVID-19. One such recipient is Lucence Diagnostics, a precision oncology company that swiftly launched the SAFER™ Sample saliva specimen collection kit for healthcare professionals to collect saliva samples accurately, safely and conveniently for further testing. Another outstanding recipient is Spic & Span, a cleaning solutions company that developed Speco®, a durable disinfectant solution that was reformulated to be effective against coronaviruses. For more information of the recipients of the IPOS Innovation for Humanity Award, please refer to Annex A.
Please click here to view the full recording of the Minister's Opening Remarks.
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