Cash for intellectual property through loan financing now a reality in Singapore
Singapore, 2 June 2016 – The first case of loan application using intellectual property (IP) as collateral was approved in Singapore this week, and the successful company, Masai Group International, plans to go places with the financial boost. The IP Financing Scheme (IPFS) was introduced by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to help IP-rich companies monetise their IP for business growth and expansion. The first success case brings the Republic’s IP Office a step forward in its quest to build a robust and vibrant IP-enabled ecosystem that helps businesses and entrepreneurs take their brands, content and technology to the global market.
2. While using tangible assets such as machinery and inventory to apply for loan financing is a common practice for companies, using intangible assets in the form of patents is a recent development.
3. Singaporean entrepreneur, patent owner, founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Masai Group International, Mr Andy Chaw, shared, “We are honoured to be the first company in Singapore to have successfully obtained the IP financing to unlock the value of our intellectual property. With the financing, we will continue to invest and strengthen our global IP portfolios and brand marketing, as well as continue our research and development efforts in new technologies and products development.”
4. The IP-financed loan was supported by DBS Bank (DBS), one of the scheme’s three participating financial institutions (PFI). DBS’ Group Head of Small-and-Medium Enterprise Banking, Ms Joyce Tee, said, “As the principal banker for the Masai Group, we recognised that the patents acquired would essentially translate into future earnings. We are very pleased that the collaboration with IPOS to monetise these intangible assets, recognising the patents as an alternative security, has worked well. With this as the first successful case of an IP-backed loan in Singapore, we will continue to build a sustainable capabilities platform so that we can help our SMEs unlock the hidden wealth in their intangible assets and convert into cash for their business growth.”
5. UOB, another of the scheme’s PFI, has a strong pipeline of IP financing cases to help companies capitalise on the value of their intangible assets. Mr Eric Tham, Head of UOB’s Group Commercial Banking, said, “As businesses evolve with the changing times, intellectual property will increasingly form a significant part of an enterprise’s value. We welcome IPOS’ forward-looking enhancements to the IPFS, as more companies in Singapore would be encouraged to innovate and help create the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’.”
More PFI, IP Valuers and Qualifying IP Asset Classes for IPFS
6. Effective 1 July 2016, IP owners can look forward to monetising other IP asset classes such as registered trade marks and copyrights through IPFS. The addition of new IP asset classes, over and above patents, is aimed at spurring an intellectual property and innovation-driven economy in Singapore.
7. The scheme will also be extended for another two years till 31 March 2018, as applications are expected to increase. The all-time high IP filings in Singapore  is a testament of the current buoyant innovation climate. To meet the anticipated surge in demand for IP loan financing, IPOS has appointed a fourth PFI and expanded the panel of IP Valuers from three to seven . This move will allow companies to work with a larger number of PFI and competent IP Valuers for successful loan applications.
8. Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, said, “As Singapore’s economy becomes more innovation-driven, IPOS is stepping up our efforts to help local companies and entrepreneurs realise that IP is not just about protection of their legal rights; it is about using it to grow their business. He added, “IPOS will continue to work with more partners to provide opportunities for companies to go beyond IP protection to monetisation. The IPFS is one such scheme and we hope that local companies with valuable IP will take full advantage of it, as we continue to look for new ways to help them succeed in the global innovation market.”
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The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. IPOS advises and administers the Intellectual Property (IP) regime, promotes its usage and builds expertise to facilitate the development of Singapore’s IP eco-system. With IP fast becoming a critical asset in our economy, IPOS aims to be a trusted partner to empower creators of our knowledge economy. IPOS’ vision is for Singapore to be an IP Hub of Asia. More information on IPOS can be found at www.ipos.gov.sg.
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 44,203 trade marks (classes) and 10,814 patents were filed in Singapore in 2015, a 5 per cent and 9 percent increase year-on-year respectively.
 See Annex A for the full list of PFI and Panel of Valuers.