6 Jan 2011 Posted in Speeches
The Honourable the Chief Justice, Mr Chan Sek Keong,
Judge of Appeal, Justice Andrew Phang,
Mr Tan Guong Ching, Chairman, IP Academy,
Mr David Llewelyn, Chairman of the Global Forum on IP and Deputy Chairman, IP Academy,
Ladies and gentlemen,
- Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to open this 3rd Global Forum on Intellectual Property.
- Since the previous Global Forum, the economic outlook for the region has changed for the better. The East Asian economies have bounced back. A recent report by the Asian Development Bank projects 2010 growth for the region at 8.8 per cent. Growth is expected to continue into 2011.
- There is, without overhyping it, an eastward shift of the centre of gravity in world economic activity. And, as the developing economies of Asia – especially East Asia – grow, their emphasis will shift from simple cost-competitive manufacturing. They will move towards higher value-add for businesses, through creation and exploitation of their own intellectual property (IP). There is no shortage of talent in Asia.
Innovation-driven growth in Asia
- Innovation-centric economic activity in the region will become an important engine of future growth. As the emerging East Asian economies grow, their demand for innovations in the areas of environmental technologies, management of natural resources, and cleaner energy will grow. These will form a significant driver of growth for firms that have positioned themselves well.
- In many developed countries, including Singapore, intangible assets and IP are estimated to represent between 60 to 80 per cent of the valuation of high-tech and consumer goods companies. The Ministry of Finance recently decided to align current financial reporting standards for Singapore companies with the International Financial Reporting Standards by 2012. This means that companies will have to include valuations of such intangible assets in their business valuations.
- With the robust growth that the region is experiencing, we can expect IP services to again enjoy an increase in demand. We already see evidence of this in Singapore, from patent filings in 2010, which are up from 2009.
Singapore as a Regional IP hub
- Against this background, Singapore has taken steps to position itself as a hub for IP in the region. The IP Academy, organisers of today’s conference, is a leading provider of high quality professional education in IP and issues related to IP management. It is part of a national effort to systematically build up IP protection, exploitation and management expertise in Singapore, in the private sector, as well as in the public sector.
- Beyond professional education, we have also taken steps to develop other important elements of the IP infrastructure. In 2010, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) officially opened a Singapore Office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre (AMC). The first of its kind outside of Geneva, the WIPO AMC is located at Maxwell Chambers. It represents WIPO’s commitment to furthering the development of IP, as a tool for economic growth in the region.
- Through the WIPO AMC, there is now a convenient avenue for IP disputes in the region to be resolved, in a timely and cost effective manner. The Centre offers dispute resolution procedures including mediation, arbitration, expedited arbitration, and expert determination. At the same time, the Centre also provides training and advice on procedures, including workshops led by prominent practitioners, for lawyers, business executives, and others who are interested in the dispute resolution process.
Singapore as international player
- Internationally, Singapore continues to play its part in encouraging the development of robust international IP regimes, coupled with practical and effective enforcement norms. Our legal and administrative framework is fully compliant with the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade Organization. We continue to rank highly for our protection of IP in international surveys.
- Most recently, Singapore contributed to the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This aims to establish a comprehensive international framework to assist parties in their efforts to combat IP rights infringement. As an open economy, it is important for Singapore to contribute to promoting international cooperation and sharing of best practices. We will continue to do so.
Relevance of Global Forum on IP
- In light of all these developments and the growing importance of IP in today’s economy, the Global Forum on IP serves an important niche. Within Asia, it is an important focal point for IP practitioners, thought leaders, strategists, academics and policy makers, to meet and discuss developments in IP and IP-related aspects of doing business.
- Besides discussions on IP in fashion, food and beverage, I understand that, the Global Forum on IP will feature for the first time a slate of sessions on IP issues that arise from the use of social media.
- The theme of this year’s Global Forum is, “Turbulent Times: Onwards and Upwards for Intellectual Property?” There is room for cautious optimism as Asia rebounds from the crisis, and I hope that this week’s conference will help to spark an exchange of views that will inform a continuing conversation, on the importance of IP to our areas of work.
- I wish you all a fruitful and successful conference.
- Thank you.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012