“While there are provisions that can mandate compulsory licensing, we believe IPOS is sensitive to the balancing of public health needs against the sustainability of innovation. For completeness, there are separate provisions that allow the state to do so or authorize others to do acts which facilitate treatment of patients, which a patentee would otherwise have the right to prevent, in the context of a health emergency such as the novel coronavirus Covid-19,” Liu explained.
He added that the benefits to Singapore are two-fold.
First, these agreements allow Singapore to assist its partners in the development of their IP ecosystems. This means Singaporean businesses in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brazil and China will have better recognition of their IP rights and more cost-effective protection, exploitation and enforcement capabilities.
Second, the new partnerships will position Singapore as a thought leader for IP protection in the region. Thus, the country becomes an even more favorable site as a spring board jurisdiction or regional headquarters for SMEs and multinational corporations.
“Regional protection of IP in Asia is nevertheless an important growth area. In 2018, IP offices in Asia received the highest numbers of applications for patents, utility models, trademarks and industrial designs, exceeding two-thirds of patent, trademark and industrial design applications worldwide. China in particular is a world leader in IP activity and an obviously important jurisdiction for further IP cooperation,” Liu said.
“In addition, in a time when businesses are constrained to run more cost-efficient operations, the development of IP protection in regional markets makes sense as local businesses will usually prioritize protection in the Asia region and development of regional IP regimes will assist in more certain and efficient protection, prosecution and exploitation of IP which ultimately can translate to more cost-effective operations for local businesses,” Liu added.
Espie Angelica A. de Leon