Internship in IPOS


Meet our interns!

Isabel Lui Min: Seeing IP through the lens of social media

Over the summer holidays, I had the opportunity to intern at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) under the Media & Communications Department (MCD). As I had no prior experience in the IP scene, it was truly an eye-opener for me. I got exposed to the many features of IP and how it actually applies to several aspects of business. 

During my internship, I did lots of research while developing social media posts and studied several IP-related articles. Through these, along with guidance from my supervisors, I gained understanding of the IP scene and learnt the importance of it. Whether it comes to things that may seem as trivial as the outward design of an object, to patents to protect inventions and copyrights to protect artistic works, IP permeates every aspect of life. It was interesting to observe how businesses leveraged on IP to protect their ideas and gain a competitive edge over their competitors. Another aspect I found interesting was IP disputes, where firms ran into difficulties while applying for IP registration and how IPOS acted as a mediator to solve these issues. 

Besides that, I conducted media monitoring on a daily basis to stay up to date on the IP scene in Singapore. I noticed how an increasing number of firms were engaging in IP to protect their ideas and how IP were catalysts in driving their successes. 

While completing my tasks at IPOS, I managed to exercise several skills such as critical thinking and creative skills. The IP scene is actually a lot more interesting than people make it out to be, and it was really fun tying posts together, keeping them fun yet professional. Also, Singapore has one the most competitive and highly regarded IP regimes in the world, and IPOS is constantly rolling out new initiatives to ensure it stays on top of its game. As such, there is always new things to learn and there is never a dull day.

IPOS was truly a place I learnt and grew a lot in, being surrounded by kind and helpful colleagues who were always welcoming and eager to teach. Having a front seat in IPOS has left me with tons of insight into the industry and its importance, which I will definitely bring with me into the future.

Isabel loves travelling and photography.

Justin Chua: A different perspective on IP

It was my privilege to be an intern with IPOS. It allowed me to acquire a broad and deep understanding about IP. 

IP offices conventionally function as registrars. Most registrars facilitate the registration of patents, designs, and trademarks. These are the registrable IPs in most countries. However, I discovered that there are also other lesser known registrable or non-registrable IPs. When registrars expand their scope of registrable IPs, it creates more business opportunities. I learnt this from a Brown Bag session on Temasek Rice by the Registry of Plant Varieties Protection. After years of effort, researchers from Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory successfully created a variety of rice that could grow in tough conditions. The building of local PVP examination capability by IPOS has allowed this research finding to be registrable as an IP. IPs are not only restricted to patents, trademarks, and registered designs. 

Furthermore, for innovation-led economies like Singapore, IP can play an important role to generate revenue. This means that IP is not only at the forefront of protecting ideas, but commercialising ideas as well. Commercialising IP, however, is not easy. This requires the help from various subject matter experts. This includes academics, lawyers, and businessmen. Furthermore, different IPs are used in different markets. It requires analysts who are familiar with both IP and markets to provide good strategies. How can different stakeholders be included? This can be achieved by creating a national IP ecosystem. I saw the importance of this framework in IP Week @ SG in August 2019. It was an annual event where stakeholders from Singapore and the world came together to discuss how they can contribute to the IP ecosystem. Each participant had a different background. By hearing their opinions on IP, I could see how different stakeholders can come together and commercialising IP effectively.

It is not only important to have a strong national IP ecosystem. We can better manage IP with strong bilateral and international collaborations. A strong international IP regime creates new connections between businesses and researchers from different countries, paving the way for more collaboration opportunities. The significance of collaborations became clear to me in the meetings with international stakeholders. They expressed their interests in collaborations and explained how they can be beneficial not only to businesses but to create social good as well. 

After my three months with IED, I better understood the importance of being professional and efficient. During bilateral engagements, officers in the Public Service represent not only the government but the country. Being professional ensures officers leave a favourable impression on the foreign delegates. Furthermore, as IED officers by nature have a busy profile, being efficient helps to be productive. Nonetheless, IED and IPOS have a supportive working environment. Everyone supports each other and keep each other going. The management team is extremely understanding and guides everyone, including interns like me, patiently. This makes working in IPOS a pleasant experience. I ever asked my cluster colleagues what kept them going in IPOS. They unanimously said, “it’s the people”. 

By the end of the internship, I saw IP in a different perspective. It is not just a point of contention in the US-China trade dispute. It is also an important intangible asset that creates new research and business opportunities.

justin chua 
Justin (middle) and colleagues from the International Engagement and Partnership & Programme teams

Yeo Siew May: Being the voice of IPOS

Hi! I'm Siew May, an intern from the Media & Communications Department (MCD) from May to November 2018. In the 6 months I spent there, I was not only equipped with skills, but also experiences that will stay with me for many years to come.

Daily media monitoring exposed me to current affairs, and allowed me to gain insights into the world of IP. It truly challenged me to make the best out of my resources and to dig deep. I also got the opportunity to pursue my interests, such as photography and writing. I even got the chance to witness a corporate photoshoot, which I really enjoyed. The highlight for me was getting the opportunity to attend IP Week @ SG 2018 and witnessing a mock trial. It made me realise that IP can be exciting too!

However, the most significant things I learnt were not from the daily operations, but rather from the interactions and conversations that I had with the people from IPOS. Attending meetings and events exposed me to how events were executed, and the importance of processes and details. Being a part of the Media & Communications team meant that we were the voice of the IPOS, and this taught me to put myself into the shoes of our users and the public, as I was challenged to think of ways to make IP more interesting and fun for the public. These are skills that I still apply to my career today.

Before I started my internship, I knew nothing about Intellectual Property. Today, I value the importance of protecting our ideas, as it is one of our greatest assets. To prospective interns of IPOS - enjoy your time there and always be hungry to learn!

Yeo Siew May
SIew May (second from right) and her colleagues at IP Week @ SG, IPOS' annual flagship event.