Welcome Remarks by Chief Executive, IPOS, at IP Week @ SG 2017

Mr. K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law;

Dr Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister for Industry and Handicrafts of Cambodia;

Mr Zakariya Hamed Al Saadi, Consul-General of the Sultanate of Oman in Singapore;

Mr Yoshiyuki Takagi, Assistant Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation;

Distinguished guests, speakers and colleagues;

Ladies and Gentleman,

1. It is my pleasure and honour to welcome you to the 6th edition of IP week @ SG.

2. When the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore started IP week in 2012, we welcomed 500 friends to that inaugural event. This year, we welcome over 3000 participants from 40 countries in what has become Asia’s premier IP event.

3. To grow in 6 years from 500 to 3000 means that we doubled our numbers every year. But what is even more significant is that 40% of our participants have attended previous editions of IP week.

4. This amazing growth in numbers and our ability to attract repeat customers tells us that IP has gained much traction in Asia.

5. The data we have shows why this make sense.

6. If you put $1 in the Singapore property market in 1975, you would get back $15 in returns today.

7. But if you put in $1 in the intangible assets of the S&P 500 in 1975, you would get back an amazing $116 in returns today.

8. That is almost 8 times the returns from investing in the Singapore property market.

9. We at IPOS believe that Asia is where the S&P 500 was in 1975. As of now, only 10% of companies on the SGX, and only 12% of companies on the Hang Seng Index have more than 80% of their in value in their intangible assets.

10. To me, this signals that we are standing at the cusp of a tremendous growth in the value of intangible assets in Asia over the next half century as Asian economies use innovation to drive growth. Knowing how to identity, value and grow these intangible assets will be absolutely crucial in our next journey of growth.

11. Singapore is right at the centre of this economic transformation. We are within a 6 hour flight radius to all the major growth centres of Asia – whether in north-east Asia, the Indian sub-continent or ASEAN.

12. But our connections to the region go beyond physical proximity.

a) We know the food,

b) We know the language,

c) We know the people and

d) We know the culture.  

13. And of course we know the innovation and IP landscape well – after all, it is our core mission to do so.

14. Along with the evolving needs of the country and region, we have also evolved our view of IP.

15. When we started IP week in 2012, we were still focused on the more technical aspects of IP. This was not wrong – we were still building our IP regime and had just released our IP hub masterplan in 2013. Registration, protection and enforcement of IP was our primary focus at that time.   However, our focus has now broadened to IP commercialization.

16. With the direction to play a part in driving economic growth, we now see IP not just as a legal right, but as a strategic business asset. We see IP as a key driver of economic growth and jobs, helping to translate ideas into products, services and assets which have an impact on our economies and societies.

17. This business driven perspective of IP is also reflected in our changing mix of participants – in 2015, the number of participants from the business communities was about 17% but in the last 2 years, this has doubled to 38% – surpassing participants from both the professional and government sectors. 

18. To grow IP week @ SG to this size is not possible without our many partners and stakeholders. We have 5 associated events that are being organized by, amongst others, Deloitte & Touche, the UK IP Office, the US Patent and Trademark Office, the World Intellectual Property Office and the IPOS Society.  Beyond these, we have more than 80 partners comprising close to 50 supporting organizations.

19. Our panels, events and our first ever IP market place – which is free and open to the public – is designed to bring together service providers, entrepreneurs, researchers, business people, financiers, government officials, judges and academics. In other words, the full richness and diversity of the innovation and IP communities. And with innovation happening across the globe, such a community will naturally be global – 25% of participants at IP week are from overseas.

20. Innovation and IP are inter-connected and here in Asia, we have started on this exciting journey of using them to transform our economies and societies.

21. I hope that over the next few days you will have the chance to debate, engage and network with your fellow participants, and that you will find your time at IP week and Singapore fruitful and meaningful. IPOS will continue using IP week as a forum for thought-leadership, as well as a place for networks to be built and expertise to be developed.

22. It leaves me to thank our sponsors who have very kindly supported us in putting this conference together, as well as the extensive group of colleagues in IPOS who have spent many weeks and months making this conference a reality.

23. Lastly, I wish everyone a wonderful conference ahead.  Thank you very much.