Singapore ranks sixth in intellectual property environment index; ahead of China, Japan

SINGAPORE - Singapore ranked sixth - above China, Japan and Malaysia - among 38 countries in the fourth annual index by the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) which measures the state of intellectual property environments in the world.

Singapore scored 25.63 out of 30 measurable criteria critical to innovation which includes patent, copyright and trademark protections among other things, the USCC said in a release on Wednesday.

The score was a notch better than last year's 25.38 following the replacement of physical counterfeiting and piracy measure from source-economy with the Global Physical Counterfeiting Measure, although the percentage remains the same at 85 per cent of total score.

Half of the 38 economies, which together account for nearly 85 per cent of global gross domestic product, also improved their total score from last year's Index, indicating increased recognition of the benefits of intellectual property (IP) and a strong IP system, the chamber said in the release.

An adequate patent-enforcement legal framework, a strengthened copyright framework and a legal framework for protectin of unregistered marks were listed as Singapore's key areas of strength, while high rates of software piracy (although dropping) was a key area of weakness.

"A number of indicators suggest that online piracy in Singapore has fallen in the past year. Industry reports on music sales show that after four consecutive years of falls, the music market in Singapore grew by close to 5 per cent in 2015," the study noted. "Increased sales of digital music and streaming services were drivers of this growth."

Singapore Customs maintained enforcement efforts against counterfeit and contraband goods during the course of 2015, the study said, but lamented the limits on ex officio powers with regard to in-transit seizures.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden occupied top spots in the index.

rupsk@sph.com.sg