WIPO-Singapore ASEAN Mediation Programme sees first successful mediation
17 November 2023
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)-Singapore ASEAN Mediation Programme (AMP) has seen its first successful mediation case, resolving a trademark dispute amongst three Singaporean optometry businesses related by family ties. These are Chew’s Optics and two related entities, Chew’s Optics Bishan and Chew’s Optics Kovan, both of which are named based on their location.
Before its trademark registrations in 2022, Chew’s Optics had used the marks since 1988 and licensed them to Chew’s Optics Bishan in 2000. The latter then created Chew’s Optics Kovan in 2021 and used the marks without requisite licences from Chew’s Optics, leading to the dispute.
Mediated by Singapore lawyer Viviene Sandhu through the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center), the three businesses reached a settlement agreement within a day. In addition to cost-savings through subsidised mediation costs, the resolution translated into significant time-savings for all parties, as traditional litigation would have taken one to two years.
“We are delighted that this collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has seen its first success and that another mediation case is already underway. As more businesses expand into ASEAN, AMP will stand them in good stead as an effective mediation catalyst, not only as a cost- and time-saving IP dispute resolution option but also to deliver commercially beneficial outcomes,” said WIPO Center Director Ignacio de Castro.
Moreover, aside from supporting businesses, AMP helps to nurture mediation talents in Singapore by providing a “shadow” mediator to sit in and observe the process. Shannen Chua, a 23-year-old IPOS Young IP Mediator, penned the case summary with her first-hand observations of how the mediator helped identify the root cause of the dispute and mediated the case with tact and sensitivity to each party’s needs.
Designed to help businesses resolve IP or technology disputes, AMP funds up to S$8,000 (US$5,920) for disputes or commercial contract negotiations involving at least one ASEAN party mediated at the WIPO Center.
AMP is an initiative by the WIPO Singapore Office and IPOS under the WIPO-Singapore government memorandum of understanding. Interested applicants can apply for AMP funding by informing the WIPO Center when or after making a Request for WIPO Mediation. More details on this programme can be found here.
- Asia IP