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Innovation Fund to Drive IP growth in Singapore

Issued: June 05 2017

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has launched a S$1 billion (US$718 million) innovation fund to help IP-driven companies, as part of its plan to develop the country into a IP hub in Asia.

In collaboration with Makara Capital, a local private equity firm, the Makara Innovation Fund will select, from in Singapore and abroad, 10 to 15 innovative companies with “global competitive technologies.” Each selected company will receive funding of S$30 to S$150 million to grow its IP in Singapore and expand into the global markets.

The innovation fund will focus on five sectors, including urban solutions, advanced technologies, Fintech, alternative energy as well as healthcare and bio-medical.

To qualify for the funding, the company must also satisfy several criteria, such as having proven and defensible IP, a unique sector positioning and a pan- Asian growth potential.

“The Makara Innovation Fund seeks to partner with innovative enterprises, providing capital and market access in order to enable them to compete at a global level,” said Ali Ijaz Ahmad, CEO of Makara Capital, in a press release.

Along with the announcement, IPOS and the Ministry of Law have also updated the IP Hub Master Plan to include a slew of new initiatives, as a response to call from the Committee on the Future Economy, a government-led panel, to drive innovation in Singapore.

The 10-year master plan was first announced in 2013 to guide the country towards becoming an Asian IP hub with three strategic aims, namely, to become: a hub for quality IP filings, a hub for IP transactions and management and a venue of choice for IP dispute resolution.

The updated plan now aims to double the number of skilled IP experts in Singapore to 1,000 over the next five years.

In addition, IPOS and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) have signed a new memorandum to collaborate in driving business growth through IP and innovation. The agency will help the SBF’s 25,000 member companies build IP awareness and competencies, as well as gain direct access to IPOS’ IP services, such as training, executive education and complimentary IP clinics.

“The partnership between SBF and IPOS will promote companies’ understanding, appreciation and use of IP to create a strategic edge for themselves through the various initiatives that we will jointly work on,” said Meng Kit Ho, CEO of SBF.

IPOS’s enterprise engagement arm IP ValueLab will also work with EverEdge Global, an international IP management consultancy firm, to provide more than 150 local innovative companies with assistance on IP strategy, management and commercialization.

Part of this collaboration will feature the introduction of a self-help business portal for innovators and companies to access a repository of IP business guides and diagnostic toolkits.

“IP is key to our future growth and the fuel for an innovation driven economy. Our focus must shift to IP commercialization, to allow our enterprises to use IP strategically for growth and global expansion,” said Daren Tang, chief executive of IPOS.

“With these new areas of focus, IPOS will evolve beyond our traditional role as an IP registry and regulator to become an innovation agency.”

The latest series of announcements came on the heel of the introduction of an IP tax regime in the Budget 2017 revealed in February.

To encourage the use of IP through research and development activities, the Singapore government announced that, under a new IP regime named the IP Development Incentive (IDI), qualified IP income will be taxed at a rate lower than the normal income tax rate.

The change will take effect on or after July 1 this year after further details are released in May.

The Singapore IP regime is now consistently ranked by international surveys as one of the best in the world as IP is becoming a key drive of the country’s economic growth.

The latest World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index put the country fourth in the world and top in Asia in terms of IP protection.

In the Global Innovation Index 2016, which ranks countries’ innovation performance, Singapore also claimed Asia’s top spot and a respectable sixth globally.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Singapore also filed the largest number of patents in Southeast Asia, with 10,814 applications in 2015.


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