Innovation at the Singapore IP Office: spotlight on non-core tools and services
In a major update to our regular series, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) reveals the latest developments to its cutting-edge tools and services – and some of those planned for the future.
Over the past few years, WTR has ranked the leading IP offices across the world by the non-core tools and services that they offer. Those range from their implementation of online tools to assist trademark professionals, to the offering of services include dispute mediation and legal advice workshops. Each year, IPOS has consistently ranked in the top three in the world, especially in terms of its innovative approach to digital services.
Today, a representative from the office gives WTR an update on its the agency's various online tools, value-add propositions, and public outreach activities.
Section 1: IT and digital tools
Has the office made any significant changes to its website in the past 12 months?
The IPOS Digital Hub, our new online filing system, was developed in line with technology advancements and updates to the Intellectual Property (IP) (Amendment) Act 2022. It features a user-friendly interface, enhanced search function, IP management features and greater support for IP dispute resolution processes. Processes have been simplified and with the help of AI and automation, users can do what they need to do faster and more efficiently.
The IPOS Go Mobile app, the world’s first mobile trademark registration application system, allows businesses to file their trademarks on-the-go in less than 10 minutes with the aid of an intuitive filing interface. IPOS Go now features a one-click Brand Search function to search for similar business names, trademarks, web domains, and social media usernames. IPOS Go’s other functions include trademark renewals and IP searches.
We are currently looking at how IPOS’ online registration and management portal can go beyond essential services to offer analytical insights for better business decision making.
Does the registry offer online filing of trademarks?
Yes, we offer e-filing services for trademarks via the IPOS Digital Hub and the IPOS Go mobile app.
Does the registry offer a searchable database of trademarks?
Yes, the IPOS Digital Hub and IPOS Go Mobile app allow users to search for trademarks filed with us. The trademarks can also be searched on ASEAN TMview and WIPO IP Portal’s Global Brand Database.
Has the office introduced any online services that use artificial intelligence?
IPOS Digital Hub and IPOS Go Mobile app harness AI image search technology to enable our users to search and compare similar marks on the IPOS register faster.
Section 2: Value-add propositions
Does the office offer trademark dispute mediation services?
Singapore is one of the world’s leading cross-border dispute resolution (including IP) centres in the world. Supported by a trusted legal system, rule of law, and neutrality, we provide a comprehensive suite of international dispute resolution services to meet different business needs. These include litigation, arbitration, and mediation.
IPOS facilitates the resolution of disputes relating to the registration of Trademarks, Patents, Registered Designs, Plant Varieties Protection and Geographical Indications. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, the Singapore Mediation Centre, and the Singapore International Mediation Centre provide mediation services, including trademark dispute services.
IPOS has also updated our earlier funding scheme to reduce mediation-related costs for businesses. Under the Revised Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (REMPS), parties can claim up to S$10,000 (if the dispute involves only Singapore IP) or S$14,000 (if the dispute involves foreign IP as well) for each mediation case. If only one party applies for REMPS funding, that party can claim up to $3,000 for the case. The funding is available regardless of the mediation outcome. More information on recent mediation cases is available here.
Does the registry offer brand/trademark-based financing, or any services involving brand valuation and/or financing?
IPOS does not offer brand/trademark-based financing. However, in line with the Singapore IP Strategy 2030, we have initiatives to support businesses for intangible assets (IA)/IP financing and valuation. For instance, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and IPOS are working on an Intangibles Disclosure Framework to help businesses disclose and communicate their IA/IP. The Framework aims to provide consistent information on companies' IA/IP to facilitate their commercialisation. We are also working with international and local industry partners to develop IA valuation guidelines.
Does the office host IP legal advice information/workshops for SMEs?
IPOS offers IP clinics to businesses and members of the public which provide complimentary consultations on IP strategies and other IP-related business concerns, as well as preliminary advice on IP infringement, opposition, invalidation or revocation matters.
Section 3: Public outreach
Does the office host any trademark events aimed at the general public?
To promote IP awareness among students, IPOS organises regular talks, such as the Future Leaders in Innovative Transformation initiative. To date, this has reached out to more than 600 students from various higher learning institutes.
We also reach out to the public through World IP Day (WIPD) annually. Youths were invited to last year’s youth-centric WIPD event. IPOS commemorated WIPD 2023 by featuring women innovators at a panel discussion and a digital campaign which honoured Singapore women trailblazers.
Another milestone event that we organise is IP Week @ SG, a leading annual global IP conference which attracted more than 4,500 participants from more than 60 countries last year.
Additionally, Singapore was the host country for the International Trademark Association’s 2023 Annual Meeting Live+ that brought around 8,000 IP and business professionals from across the globe. It was one of the largest gatherings of its kind taking place for the first time in Singapore.
Does the IP office use social media to spread awareness of IP?
IPOS uses Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to raise awareness of intellectual property and intangible assets, seek industry feedback on our policies and programmes, promote our services, share latest news on IP dispute resolutions as well as share relevant insights and data.
To reinforce the message that IP is not only for legal practitioners, IPOS uses social media and communications campaigns to create greater awareness among a broader audience. An audience-centric approach is used to determine the messages and creative concepts, with trending topics often used as a starting point. For example IPOS utilised the craze over Netflix’s hit series “Squid Game” to raise awareness of copyright and infringement.
IPOS’s celebrations for World IP Day 2022 was marked by an influencer-driven communications campaign that featured popular Singapore influencers sharing about the importance of IP. This approach aims to make IP fun, exciting and easy to understand.
Does the office attend non-IP specific events?
IPOS works with organisations on non-IP events, including business conferences with a more financial and technological focus to promote the importance of IP in valuation, finance and internationalisation. Examples of such events include the Singapore Fintech Festival, the IVAS-IVSC Business Valuation Conference, organised by the Institute of Valuers and Appraisers Singapore, and the International Valuation Standards Council.
Does the registry collaborate with other national IP offices?
Singapore establishes international treaties and work-sharing agreements with other national IP offices to help IA/IP owners take their innovations to the global market.
A founding member of the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation (AWGIPC), Singapore participates in several task forces to improve the regional IP framework with best practices.
Some regional protection schemes include IP re-registration programs with Cambodia and Lao PDR, a pilot collaborative Search and Examination Agreement with Vietnam and renewal of its Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), to accelerate patent applications from both countries.
IPOS is also part of the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC), a regional IP work-sharing initiative that benefits enterprises who want to protect their IP in the ASEAN market.
Under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), IPOS was appointed as an International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) by other IP Offices, to accelerate IP protection for businesses/innovators in overseas markets.
Finally, are there any other developments planned at the office over the next 12 months?
A key trademark-related development was the amendment to the Trademarks Act to make it easier for business to register their trademarks. We now allow for partial acceptance of national trademark applications, helping applicants to save time and costs.
View all articles in this series on our dedicated IP Office Innovation page.