Intellectual property masterplan upgraded to drive innovation

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) and the Ministry of Law have updated a masterplan aimed at building up Singapore's competencies in managing and exploiting intellectual property (IP).

The IP Hub Master Plan was introduced in 2013, and now includes a slew of new initiatives, including one to double the number of skilled IP experts in Singapore to 1,000 over the next five years.

For starters, a master's programme in IP Innovation and Management, offered by the Singapore University of Social Sciences, will take in its first batch in July.

Ipos chief executive Daren Tang said highly skilled IP experts, who understand not just the legal aspects of IP but also the business aspects, can really propel enterprise growth.

"We hope that companies will send their employees for the master's programme so that they can go back to their companies and really supercharge them."

Ipos' IP Academy will also work more closely with institutes of higher learning to roll out IP electives to undergraduates, and ramp up training for working adults too.

Ipos also plans to step up engagement with companies to help them identify and understand their IP and use it for growth.

For example, Ipos signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) yesterday to reach out to the body's 24,200 member firms to raise IP awareness and competencies.

"Many of our members do not spend enough money on research and development, and if they generate intellectual capital, they don't pay attention to protecting it or even exploiting it," said SBF chief executive Ho Meng Kit.

Taken together, the initiatives under the updated masterplan is estimated to inject at least $1.5 billion value-add into Singapore's economy in the next five years, Ipos said.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah, noted at a briefing yesterday that the updates to the masterplan support the recommendation made by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) in February to strengthen Singapore's innovation ecosystem and help enterprises scale up.

"The CFE recommendations recognise that one of the key strategies going forward is innovation, and also that IP is going to be a powerful enabler of innovation," she said. "You're not going to have innovation or innovation protection and commercialisation without IP."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Intellectual property masterplan upgraded to drive innovation'. Print Edition | Subscribe