I wanted to see the world and they let me
by Chan Mei Hui, Trade Mark Examiner, Registry of Trade Marks, IPOS
Travelling to see and experience different cultures around the world has always been my passion. So when there was an opportunity to work and live in a different country, I jumped on it and it was probably one of my best-made decisions. Working in another country was beyond my imagination but IPOS made it possible.
I joined IPOS in 2013 as an Associate Trade Mark Examiner after being in the research field for a year in A*STAR. Yes, you might have guessed - my degree is in Biological Sciences, an absolutely different field from what I am in currently. If you are considering to join IPOS as a trade mark examiner but fear that you do not have the right background for it, worry not. Like everyone else in the Registry of Trade Marks, I was equipped through ample training at the start and consistently throughout my journey thereafter. I chose to stay in the Registry for the next three years to build my skills as a trade mark examiner.
Then in 2016, an opportunity to be seconded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - a United Nations agency - presented itself to me. I excitedly signed myself up to be considered for it and with IPOS' support, I became a WIPO Fellow in Geneva in 2017.
As a Fellow, one of my main tasks was to conduct formalities examination on the international trade mark applications that were filed through national Intellectual Property (IP) offices using the Madrid Protocol system. It was an eye-opener for me to view and understand the system from another perspective and to have conversations with colleagues from all other divisions in WIPO. I also had the pleasure to work and exchange views with other Fellows who, like me, were seconded from other national IP offices as well.
Posing with the Fellows
Other than processing applications, I was also given the opportunity to present a Madrid webinar on Singapore’s trade mark practices and refusal procedures to interested parties who signed up for it. It was a rewarding albeit highly challenging task - possibly the most challenging in the whole of my Fellowship!
No jitters in front of the webinar camera
My secondment to WIPO not only allowed me to grow professionally but also provided me with opportunities to travel within Europe. During such travels, I experienced my fair share of travel hiccups, such as numerous missed and delayed transport connections. But now they are all fond memories and precious experiences that I share with my travel partners. You could say that I was living my dream as a "part-time traveller" in 2017.
Summer in Avignon is less hot when we travel together
Now, after the end of my secondment, my journey led me back to where it all started - IPOS. I have experienced a lot more than I could have imagined and this would not be possible without IPOS' conviction in broadening its staff's horizon. If my journey excites you enough, come on board as an IPOSian and create your very own journey!