Appointment of new Chief Executive, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

1.        Mr Tang Heng Shim Daren will assume the appointment of Chief Executive (CE) of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) with effect from 16 November 2015. He succeeds Mr Tan Yih San, who has served as CE, IPOS since June 2011. Mr Tan will join the private sector.

2.        Tang Heng Shim Daren holds a LL.B (2nd Upper, Hons) from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore, and an LL.M (with distinction) from the Georgetown University Law Centre, where he was also a Fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law. He also attended the Advanced Management Programme at the Harvard Business School in 2013.

3.        Mr Tang has been the Deputy Chief Executive (Dy CE) of IPOS since 1 August 2012. He oversees the Registries Cluster and has been responsible for the development of Singapore’s IP regulatory regime, as well as for the overall operations of IPOS’ Registries. He is also responsible for all international IP negotiations, including at the World Intellectual Property Office and in our Free Trade Agreements.

4.        Mr Tan played an instrumental role in shaping the IP landscape in Singapore during his tenure as CE. He changed Singapore’s patents regime to a positive grant system, and developed a new ability for IPOS to be able to examine patents in-house. These changes were key in IPOS’ appointment last year by WIPO as ASEAN’s first International Search Authority/International Preliminary Examination Authority. He put in place the IP Competency Framework, to ensure that Singaporeans have a chance to be trained or know how to qualify for good, well-paying jobs in the IP sector. He established a new customer service centre, called IP 101, to better service the public, businesses and professionals. Under his leadership, international rankings of Singapore’s IP regime remain one of the best worldwide and the top in Asia. 

5.        Mr Tan also chaired a grouping of senior ASEAN IP officials from 2013 – 2015 to improve IP regimes across the region. He established IP pathways with our key export markets so that our businesses would find it easier to secure patent protection in those markets. In addition, he reached out and engaged actively with other international stakeholders, foreign IP offices as well as the World Intellectual Property Organization to establish IPOS as a constructive and credible participant in the international IP scene.

6.        The Ministry of Law and IPOS deeply appreciate Mr Tan’s four years of dedicated service and contributions to IPOS, and wish him continued success and fulfilment in his future endeavours. We welcome Mr Tang, as IPOS embarks on its next phase of development to build Singapore as an IP hub and work with other stakeholders to help drive innovation in Singapore.

7.        The write-ups of Mr Tan and Mr Tang are given at the Annex.

MINISTRY OF LAW
06 NOVEMBER 2015



Annex

ABOUT MR TAN YIH SAN

tanyihsan

1.        Mr Tan Yih San, aged 49, joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1985 on being awarded the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship. He had a distinguished career with the SAF for over 26 years, during which he held various significant command and staff appointments requiring strong leadership, and analytical and organisational skills. His key appointments included Assistant Chief of General Staff (Intelligence), Commander 3 DIV, and Future Systems Architect.

2.        Mr Tan was appointed as CE IPOS on 1 June 2011. He played an instrumental role in shaping the IP landscape in Singapore during his tenure as CE. He oversaw the change of Singapore’s patents regime from a self-assessment to a positive grant system. This has since aligned Singapore to established international patent and strengthened the quality of patents granted, thereby boosting business investors’ confidence in our IP regime and positioning Singapore well as an IP Hub in the region. Mr Tan also created a new ability for IPOS to examine patents inhouse. These significant changes led to IPOS’ appointment last year as ASEAN’s first International Search Authority/International Preliminary Examination Authority by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

3.        In his tenure, Mr Tan implemented the IP Competency Framework to provide opportunities for Singaporeans to be trained and qualified for good, well-paying jobs in the IP sector He established a new one-stop customer service centre, called IP 101, to better serve businesses, applicants and professionals in Singapore.

4.        Mr Tan also chaired a grouping of senior ASEAN IP officials (the ASEAN Working Group on IP Co-operation) from 2013 – 2015 to improve IP regimes across ASEAN. He also helped to establish an IPOS presence in Guangzhou, in the form of the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City initiative. He was key in pushing for Patent Prosecution Highway Agreements with our key export markets, allowing innovative businesses an easier route to file their patents overseas. In reaching out and engaging actively with other international stakeholders in foreign IP offices as well as the World Intellectual Property Organization, he established IPOS as a constructive and credible participant in the international IP scene.

5.        Under his leadership, international rankings of Singapore’s IP regime remain one of the best worldwide and the top in Asia. 

ABOUT MR DAREN TANG HENG SHIM

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1.        Mr Tang Heng Shim Daren, 43, holds a LL.B (2nd Upper, Hons) from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore, and an LL.M (with distinction) from the Georgetown University Law Centre, where he was also a Fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law. He also attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2013.

2.        Mr Tang is currently the Deputy Chief Executive (Dy CE) of IPOS. He has held the Dy CE, IPOS post since 1 August 2012 and oversees the Registries Cluster, the regulatory arm of IPOS, which includes the Legal and Customer Service Departments. He is also responsible for all international IP negotiations, including those conducted at the WIPO and WTO, as well as FTA negotiations.

3.        As the person in charge of the Registries Cluster, he is responsible for the regulatory framework for all types of IP in Singapore, including copyrights, patents, trademarks and designs, and ensuring that they not only remain relevant to businesses, but also serve the needs of society. In particular, he took active steps to adjust Singapore’s copyright regime to allow visually handicapped persons greater access to copyrighted material, and pushed for Singapore to be one of the first 10 countries in the world to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty. To ensure that Singapore’s IP regime continues to be relevant to our businesses and people, he is co-leading a major review of our copyright and designs regimes.

4.        As the person overseeing IPOS’ Registries, he has worked to make the IPOS’ registration processes more customer friendly. As part of this, he led the launch in 2014 of an integrated e-filing platform, called IP2SG, which made it easier for applicants to file and transact IP registrations with IPOS.

5.        Mr. Tang also leads the IP negotiations in two major Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) - the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. In the TPP agreement, he was selected by his fellow negotiators to chair the overall IP negotiations, which he helmed until the middle of this year.

6.        Before he joined IPOS, Mr. Tang was a Senior State Counsel with the International Affairs Division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, where he advised the Government on numerous complex international law issues. During this time, he was seconded to MTI from March 2001 to June 2003 as the legal counsel to the Ministry, and was concurrently the lead services negotiator in the US-Singapore FTA. After the USSFTA, he was assigned to be part of the legal team that argued Singapore’s case against Malaysia in the dispute over the sovereignty of Pedra Branca. For his work in the Pedra Branca case, he was awarded the PPA (Bronze).