Singapore is boosting its capabilities in the area of intellectual property (IP) in a bid to ride on Asia's growing demand for IP-related services.
IP refers to the ownership of ideas, inventions and innovations - and the process of turning that property into profits.
Law Minister K. Shanmugam announced the launch of a new unit to help businesses unlock the value of their innovations at the opening of the IP Week @ SG, held yesterday at Marina Bay Sands.
The IP ValueLab, being developed as a subsidiary of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos), will provide a whole suite of services to the various players in the IP field.
It will provide valuation advice to companies and investors to help them understand what sort of IP assets they have and to monetise such assets.
The IP ValueLab will also establish industrywide valuation standards as well as promote research and best practices.
Ipos chief executive Tan Yih San said in a statement: "At a broader level, the lab seeks to support the development of a vibrant IP marketplace in Singapore for IP transactions and management.
"This is a key pillar of our vision to support Singapore-based businesses and to develop Singapore into an IP hub of Asia."
Mr Shanmugam noted that IP is increasingly important in affluent Asia. "Given a younger, savvier and better educated populace in these countries with good purchasing power, there will be greater demand for better services and higher-end goods. IP will be a key component of that."
Advanced economies such as China, Japan and South Korea in particular have moved from being mere users of IP to strong creators of IP.
For example, they have developed conglomerates making products such as smartphones and even milk powder with healthy supplements.
"IP will become more important as a key factor of growth for these companies," he said.
To help businesses that wish to enjoy fast-tracked patent applications, Singapore will also take part in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway pilot programme from November.
Ipos will also award IP scholarships to 15 graduates a year to pursue a career in the IP industry through master's degree courses in top universities.