Photo by Victor Garcia
Singapore is internationally known as a safe haven for both local and foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up their businesses. In World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” 2018 report, for instance, the nation is ranked 2ndamongst 190 global economies, miles ahead of other economic powerhouses such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Similarly, international surveys such as the World Economic Forum has also ranked Singapore’s Intellectual Property (IP) laws as one of the best in the world. Large brand names such as Procter and Gamble as well as Mead Johnson have selected Singapore as their preferred location to invest in business and research and development – all of whom have listed strong IP laws as a factor in their decisions.
Here are the top 3 reasons why Singapore is an intellectual property haven.
1. Strong Government Support on IP-Registered Inventions and Ideas
According to an article by Forbes, the Singaporean Government has, in 2017, signed a Memoranda of Understanding with Deloitte, pledging to assist 100 entrepreneurs, allowing them to turn “ideas into assets”. This meant that all inventions and works of research are protected by the highest IP standards. Efficient and neutral legal system as well as government support therefore served to attract both local and foreign businesses as well as a highly skilled workforce.
Incentives given to businesses in terms of monetary grants and tax reduction also encourages innovation. Such instances are the introduction of the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme that benefited businesses either with up to 400% tax reduction (due end of the year), tax deferrals or cash payouts. This is clear indication that the government has shown its full support to create Singapore into a haven for companies moving to develop IP Rights in the country.
2. IP Laws in Singapore Protects Businesses Efficiently and Effectively
Singapore’s strong legal system is a huge attraction for businesses looking to protect their IP. Its laws are not only transparent and readily accessible to members of the public, it is also regarded as one of the best in the world.
The Ministry of Law has highlighted several qualities in Singapore that are superior compared to IP Laws elsewhere:
- The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has a team of patent examiners from various technologies across more than 30 markets including USA, Europe China, Japan and ASEAN.
- Dispute Resolution services are comprehensive, and its High Court has seven judges specializing in IP and are therefore well qualified to oversee any IP cases.
- IPOS is also run by highly skilled personnel, forming partnership with other industries to provide qualified advice from professionals. They have also invested in their manpower, to ensure that the IP ecosystem remains robust.
In short, a team of skilled manpower as well as highly qualified judges in a well-represented IP ecosystem ensures that businesses will not have to fear for losing the rights to their IP. Singapore therefore remains a location of choice for business owners looking to grow their organisations as well as enjoy solid support for their IP rights.
3. Benefiting from Strong IP Laws and Government Support
In an article by the Straits Times, Mr. Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS has maintained that Singapore has done well in setting the framework for a healthy R&D ecosystem in the last two decades. The country is now the “top-ranked IP regime in Asia” and has taken many steps to manage IP commercialization, creating jobs and driving the economy in the process. Business will therefore benefit from this evolution in the IP ecosystem. The Singapore government, according to an article on Start Up Decisions, vigorously defends IP rights, and are more likely to resolve disputes in a timely fashion. This in itself as a positive trend that businesses can benefit greatly from.
Moreover, the Singapore Government has announced in April 2013 a 10-year master plan into moving towards becoming the Global IP Hub in Asia. IPOS has partnered with Makara Innovation Fund in April 2017, investing between S$30 million to $150 million in IP-rich and high-growth potential companies. Both IPOS and the Singapore Business Federation has collaborated to render training, executive education and free IP clinics to over 24,200 companies in their efforts to help businesses understand their IP to use for growth and expansion.
Given the strong IP framework, clear and efficient legal system as well as a government that is openly committed in supporting businesses in Singapore – it is no wonder that the Republic has positioned herself as a haven for business owners looking to build their companies as well as register their IPs here. It is important for both established and start-up businesses to be in an environment that not only cultivates and nurtures growth, but also defends its entrepreneurs from the dangers of any potential IP infringements both within and outside the country.
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