Singapore has again topped the table as the Asian nation with the strongest laws protecting intellectual property (IP) rights, moving up a notch to be fourth overall in the world.
Finland topped the annual rankings, with Switzerland second and New Zealand third.
Australia was fifth on the International Property Rights Index released yesterday, followed by Japan. The United States moved up two spots to 12th place while Britain slipped two to 15th.
The index was developed by the US-based Property Rights Alliance to serve as a barometer for the strength of protection across physical and intellectual property.
It is determined using data from official sources across various international organisations, together with case studies compiled across 118 think-tanks and policy organisations in 72 countries.
The index placed Singapore among the top countries under the three core categories: physical property rights, IP rights, and the legal and political environment to enforce these rights.
IP protections are important to Singapore, with its focus on innovation-driven economic growth.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) said it continues to innovate and support enterprises to use IP in a bid to expand.
For instance, it recently launched the world's first trademark registration mobile app that reduces the time taken to file a trademark by 80 per cent. It also utilises artificial intelligence (AI) technology in image search during the registration process.
Ipos, a government agency under the Ministry of Law, also announced new initiatives in partnership with eight other Asean IP offices to expedite patent applications in key emerging technologies such as fintech, cyber security and robotics.
In addition, Ipos noted, an accelerated programme has completed its first case: granting an international firm an AI patent in three months, compared with an average of two to four years.
"These initiatives are part of Ipos' efforts to catalyse the growth of innovative enterprises, industries and the economy through IP and intangible assets," the agency added.
Ipos chief executive Daren Tang said: "It is an honour to be recognised as a leading country in the protection of property rights. Societies and economies are becoming more interconnected in the new digital world, where growth and development are driven by IP and intangible assets.
"This accolade will bolster confidence for innovative enterprises to continue to use Singapore as a hub to manage, grow and deploy their IP and intangible assets into the region and beyond."