Trading on its mark of distinction

Education firm MindChamps, represented by its founder and chief executive David Chiem, won the Wipo-Ipos award for trade mark portfolio yesterday.
Education firm MindChamps, represented by its founder and chief executive David Chiem, won the Wipo-Ipos award for trade mark portfolio yesterday.PHOTO: IPOS

Mr David Chiem studied cinema and theatre, and this training taught him the importance of intellectual property.

"As a scriptwriter, when I created work, intellectual property was all I had," he said.

This ethos has stayed with Mr Chiem, 45, who has transferred it to the operations of his education firm MindChamps Holdings.

It has obviously paid off, for MindChamps clinched the Ipos award for trade mark portfolio yesterday.

The awards are organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos).

STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE

I am extremely proud of our team. And knowing proudly what we've done, our job is to stay ahead of the curve and to stay true to what we've always been: a place of tomorrow.

MR DAVID CHIEM, founder and CEO of MindChamps Holdings

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Chiem explained how his firm integrates intellectual property into everything it does.

He said MindChamps relies on neuroscience and psychology research, and trains its teachers using a specialised methodology which is franchised across all its branches.

However, these things are easily replicable once released into the public domain, so the next step in intellectual protection is through the company's brand.

"Just like Harvard. Most of the people who go there say it's not that they have a curriculum nobody else has, but it's the brand of Harvard that people are looking for."

And so Mr Chiem built up the MindChamps brand to ensure that his methods, even if copied, would never allow others to share the same success.

He said: "Intellectual property has to be strong, but then it's the brand that protects that intellectual property."

Now that the firm's brand is so strong, he said, even its essence as a culture is protected. But despite this, he is always pushing his company to continually innovate so that it does not stagnate.

And how does he feel about MindChamps winning this award?

He said: "I am extremely proud of our team. And knowing proudly what we've done, our job is to stay ahead of the curve and to stay true to what we've always been: a place of tomorrow."

Jose Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Trading on its mark of distinction'. Print Edition | Subscribe