10-year plan to boost Singapore's position as hub for intangible assets and intellectual property

Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong during a dialogue at the World IP Day event on April 26, 2021. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - A masterplan has been drawn up to strengthen Singapore's position as a global hub for intangible assets (IA) and intellectual property (IP).

It also aims to maintain the Republic's strength "as a top-ranked IP regime" so that investments can continue to come into the country, Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong said on Monday (April 26).

He added that the 10-year blueprint's initiatives include creating "good jobs and valuable skills" in the IA and IP sector.

Mr Tong was speaking at the announcement of the masterplan, known as Singapore IP Strategy 2030.

It involves a task force comprising at least 10 government agencies, including the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos).

The task force is helmed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, with Mr Tong as deputy chairman.

The masterplan builds on a previous one announced in 2013 and updated in 2017.

It comes after a study reported that the value of the world's IA stood at an all-time high of more than US$65 trillion (S$86.2 trillion) last year.

The number of patent applications and trade mark applications filed in Singapore last year also increased by 23 and 20 percentage points respectively from 2015, according to IPOS.

Mr Tong said the plan will be implemented on the ecosystem, enterprise and individual levels.

"On the ecosystem level, we will strengthen Singapore's IA and IP (regime) to remain relevant and competitive," he said.

This would boost economic growth in Singapore through IP transactions and activities, and ensure that the country offers a conducive environment for businesses to protect and manage their IA and IP.

A next-generation IP filing system to support innovators and enterprises is targeted to be launched by the middle of 2022.

The system will be more intuitive to use, with predictive assistance and a user-friendly dashboard that offers users analytical insights for better decision-making when managing their IP portfolios.

On the enterprise level, there are plans to grow and attract enterprises that use IA and IP, including giving them better access to IA- and IP-related services.

For example, a new platform providing an online marketplace for enterprises to access professional IA and IP services is in the works.

The platform will help businesses identify their IA and IP needs, and match them with the relevant service providers or solutions.

Singapore will additionally spearhead an international IA and IP valuation panel to establish valuation guidelines that can be adopted internationally, and build a pool of valuation professionals here.

Plans on the individual level include equipping Singapore's workforce with the necessary IA and IP skills and knowledge to perform their roles well, integrating such skills and competencies in job roles involved in innovation, and developing a set of national standards for IA and IP management.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah is helming a task force involved in a 10-year blueprint known as Singapore IP Strategy 2030. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Ms Indranee said there is no specific number of IA- and IP-related jobs that the masterplan is aiming to create.

"It is not possible to say at this stage - what we can say is that it is a growth area we will track and in time to come, we will have a better sense of the projections," she said.

Ms Indranee was at the opening ceremony of World IP Day, also on Monday.

In her opening speech, she said the masterplan will help Singapore generate new business opportunities alongside "good jobs" in specialised IA- and IP-related professional services.

"By building up enterprise capabilities and skills in IA and IP management and strategy, (the masterplan) will help Singapore small and medium-sized enterprises emerge stronger in the post-pandemic economic landscape," she added.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.