SINGAPORE - In just three months, one of China's biggest e-commerce companies, Alibaba Group Holding, has obtained an artificial intelligence (AI) patent in Singapore, a world record.
It usually takes an average of two to four years to procure a patent.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) on Wednesday (Aug 28) said that the AI patent was granted under the office's Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence.
The expedited process helps innovators bring their AI inventions faster to the global market through Singapore.
This may strengthen Singapore's position as an IP hub for cutting-edge technologies in the digital economy.
Ipos is also set to sign six memorandums of understanding and partnership agreements with several stakeholders to bridge Singapore to other innovation communities, with the aim of using Singapore as a gateway to access new markets.
Global advancements in AI technology has resulted in an exponential growth of AI patents being filed.
Between 2008 and 2017, over 180,000 AI inventions were published globally.
Mr Benjamin Bai, vice-president and chief IP counsel of Ant Financial, an affiliate of the Alibaba Group, welcomed the expedited patent process in Singapore, which "plays a pivotal role as it facilitates our entry into markets of interest rapidly".
Singapore is not the only Asean country to capitalise on the growth of AI innovation.
Eight other Asean IP offices are set to prioritise patent applications in key emerging technologies such as fintech, cyber security and robotics.
The pilot project, expected to run for two years, started on Tuesday.
Under the initiative, businesses and innovators will enjoy a short turnaround time of six months for the first office action report, a document written by a patent examiner in response to a patent application.
The new initiatives are designed to support Asean's Industry 4.0 plans.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, explores the reskilling of workers and equipping them with skills necessary to use new technologies, such as AI.
Industry 4.0 is expected to deliver between US$1.2 trillion (S$1.6 trillion) and US$3.7 trillion in gains globally, and US$216 billion to US$627 billion for Asean, given its significant manufacturing composition.
The MOUs signed by Ipos include those with the UK Intellectual Property Office, Brazil's National Institute of Industrial Property, and the Qatar Free Zones Authority.