Think different and think big for S’pore to evolve into a global hub for IP services 

For Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, we have to “just do it”, “think different” and “go further” if we want Singaporeans to capture all-new opportunities in finance, business and law. 

And if these sound like some all-too-familiar taglines, that is because they are trademarked taglines of big brand names Nike, Apple and Ford Motors.  

Speaking to guests at the 145th International Trademark Association (INTA) Annual Meeting on 17 May, Minister Tong reminded all that trademark filings grew for the 12th year running globally, with a whopping 18.1 million trademark classes filed in 2021.  

Source: Edwin Tong/ Facebook 

“And that was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offices located in Asia accounted for almost 70 per cent of the trademark filing activity that year,” he added. 

This is a great opportunity for Singapore to be recognised as a global hub for IP transactions and IP-related jobs. Hence the Singapore IP Strategy 2030 (SIPS 2030).  

Singapore as an IP services hub  

Briefly, SIPS exists to ensure a world-class and forward-looking IP regime, develop Singapore as an IP services node for ASEAN and the world and position Singapore as the location when international IP disputes need resolving.  

Source: Edwin Tong / Facebook, IPOS 

So, over 10 PAP Government agencies (these include the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry as well as Law) are working together so that Singapore and Singaporeans are ready. 

Two upcoming results: The Intangibles Disclosure Framework, which lets businesses talk about IPs and intangible assets (IAs) together as well as a study on just how important IAs are to the value of companies

Together, these ensure that companies can monetise their IA and IP better.  

Another two: The ASEAN Mediation Programme will help solve the region’s technology and IP disputes with Singapore as a base. Also, there is now a curated list of experts who specialise in IP valuation — easier for involved parties to tap upon them during disputes. 

These results naturally call for more accountants, consultants, mediators and lawyers to support them. To us, that is more professional opportunities. 

A Singapore for the future 

Our nation has been in the world’s top five in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report ranking for IP protection since 2015.  

We also excel on the Global Innovation Index: First for Innovation Inputs, Tertiary Education and a conducive Political Environment.    

(We are also a not-too-shabby second for Investment on that Index.) 

Source: IPOS 

“Singapore is constantly trying to keep ahead, to evolve, to try and track what the industry needs, so that we can constantly look at improving the quality of our services,” said Minister Tong. 

“To remain relevant, we have to ‘think different’ and ‘think big’. For us, nothing is impossible, and of course, ‘impossible is nothing’.” 

With an Asia-led growth in the global market for IP use, Singaporeans can ride this wave and “catch ‘em all”.