National Statement by IPOS CE Mrs Rena Lee at the 1st Global IP Challenges Forum (IP20+)

H.E. Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah AlQasabi, Minister of Commerce, Chairman of Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) Boards of Directors

Dr. Abdulaziz AlSwailem, CEO of the SAIP

Esteemed colleagues,

Good afternoon.

  1. Thank you for inviting the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, or IPOS, to the inaugural session of the Global IP Challenges Forum, IP20+. We are very honoured to join all of you in this forum today and we congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its excellent arrangements for this meeting.

  2. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways and disrupted global activities and trade flows. Nevertheless, we see that innovation persists even in these trying times. As IP offices, it is important that we continue to deliver services that incentivise the innovators in a timely manner. At the same time, knowledge gained from such innovations should be disseminated in an accessible manner to help facilitate downstream innovation. This will create a balanced positive cycle to spur further innovation.  

  3. In adapting to this pandemic, we have taken advantage of digitalisation, an important global trend that COVID-19 has helped to accelerate. IPOS had actively shifted our filing online as far back as 2014, so our filing services have not been disrupted. In 2019, we launched the world’s first mobile app - IPOS Go for trademark filings, and renewals, and we have since expanded renewal services to patents and registered designs. 

  4. The digitalisation process cannot stop at IP filings alone. Our stakeholders require uninterrupted access to other auxiliary services. For example, earlier this year, we conducted our first opposition hearing by video conference over Zoom, and had a separate case fully mediated virtually. We also moved our training services and clinic consultations for IP legal and business issues online.

  5. Industries are affected to varying degrees and there is a need for bespoke sectors specific support to deal with the specific concerns. In this regard, we have launched a number of initiatives to cater to the needs of the different industries such as the arts and entertainment sector, the tourism sector, the manufacturing, and education sector.

  6. For enterprises, COVID-19 has required rapid adaptation to unfamiliar new norms. IPOS introduced excluded days for our deadlines earlier this year. It is important that such deadline reliefs be granted to help businesses adapt to the changes required of them, even with the availability of digital services. This goes beyond one individual market and there is much merit for businesses to be able to enjoy such measures across the overseas markets they operate in. In this regard, some degree of harmonisation of IP operation measures, which is one of the priorities of today’s forum, could help to bring about certainty and clarity for businesses under challenging circumstances. 

  7. It is pertinent that the IP knowledge entrusted with the IP offices get cycled back to the wider community. This will form the prior art for subsequent innovations to occur, leading to a positive cycle. IPOS is supportive of the contribution of IP data in order to foster innovation and creativity. 

  8. In closing, IPOS is supportive of the efforts of this forum to address priorities in response to the global pandemics and emergencies. We look forward to further constructive discussions on how we can take this initiative forward and hope to contribute meaningfully to it. 

Thank you.