Startups, small & medium enterprises (hereinafter referred as SMEs) play a crucial role in Singapore’s economic development. They significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth. Being an essential parts of a vibrant economy and community, startups and SMEs strive to stay relevant in their respective industries despite facing adversity and tribulations, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, startups and SMEs are facing imminent threats of infringement of intellectual property (IP) rights but they are usually unresourceful and helpless at the same time due to unequal bargaining power. To encourage sustainable innovations, the Singapore Government steps in to create more avenues that are conveniently accessible by startups and SMEs to effectively protect their IP rights and interests.
IP Week @ Singapore 2022
IP Week @ SG 2022 was held in Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore on September 6TH, the two-days event brought together all the Intellectual property thought leaders, legal experts, innovating enterprises and IP office leaders to intensively discuss on every aspect of the latest intellectual property development and to explore new possibilities in this dynamic field. In the opening ceremony of the IP Week, the guest of honour Mr. Edward Tong, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community & Youth and Second Minister for Law introduced 3 initiatives that offer overarching protection to startups and SME’s IP rights such as their invention, trademarks, trade secrets and etc. Furthermore, he pointed out that IP can be used as a strategic tool for businesses; it enables them to forbid other competitors from blindly copying their inventions.
3 initiatives introduced by Singapore Government
- Firstly, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) unveils ‘IP Start’, IPOS collaborates with Singapore-based IP incubators and accelerators to advise startups and SMEs on managing their intellectual property assets because IP matters might be particularly technical and complicated for them. ‘IP Start’ features a free tutorial pack to assist them in tackling the issues that are constantly faced by startups and SMEs during the early stages of their businesses. Besides that, ‘IP Start continues to expand by recruiting new incubators and accelerators to build a vibrant, inclusive, and diversified community. Interested Startups and SMEs are encouraged to participate and apply for the free pack which is carefully curated to satisfy their needs.
- Secondly, Mr. Edward Tong SC gives a sneak peek to the attendees on the ‘Trade Secrets Guide for Enterprise’, it is jointly developed by IPOS and its alliance partners such as International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore FinTech Association and etc. The guide will serve the purpose of educating startups and SMEs on information regarding trade secrets and provide tools that are readily available for them to protect their Trade Secrets. In addition, real-world case studies will also be included in the said guide for their further reference.
- Furthermore, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) cooperates with IPOS to initiate the ‘Inventor Assistance Programme’ (IAP). IAP aims to aid youth, startups, and SMEs that are often unresourceful to commercialize their innovation. This program features volunteer patent attorneys and agents across the globe to deliver professional patent-related services on a pro-bono basis. ‘IAP’ will be available on the next quarter of this year and registration can be done via IPOS dedicated website for the ‘IAP’ program. In fact, This program is a milestone for the Intellectual Property Industry because ‘IAP’ will be available to undergraduate students pursuing their tertiary education. Youth, startups, and SMEs can now concentrate on unleashing their creativity to bring innovation to the market. ‘IAP’ will be available in more countries in the near future.
Undoubtedly, these initiatives will be advantageous to all the youth, startups and SMEs out there. As a matter of fact, Startups and SMEs are the backbones of the economy, the government is obliged to provide them adequate assistance to ensure the sustainability of the economy. It is vital for them to realise and effectively secure their IP rights with a lower threshold.
In PINTAS, we always believe that intellectual property (IP) rights are the most valuable asset of your businesses. With over 20 years of experiences, our professional team are ready to serve you in the most effective and efficient way. If you have any IP related inquiry, please do not hesitate to consult us.