Student Mediator Features in Successful Multi-Jurisdictional IP Mediation Case
Singapore, 7 December 2020 – The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) saw its first successful multi-jurisdictional IP mediation in which a student under its ‘Young IP Mediator’ initiative participated as a “shadow” mediator. Under the lead of an experienced mediator, Mr Andy Leck, this student mediator, Mr Utsav Rakshit, participated in a mediation case involving a trademark dispute between Gromark Consumers Enterprise Pte Ltd and GK Laboratory (Asia) Pte Ltd1. The parties reached a win-win outcome after only eight hours of mediation, giving Mr Rakshit his first experience of witnessing how to steer a mediation case to success within a day.
2 Said Mr Rakshit: “I found the experience extremely meaningful as I gained much insight from observing Mr Leck’s demeanour and choice of words, and personally seeing how Mr Leck reframed matters, maintained neutrality, kept the parties on track and generated options during the entire process.” Mr Leck said: “I’m glad Utsav learnt a lot through his involvement as a shadow mediator and hope he will use his experience to inspire others to understand the importance and value of IP mediation and consider a career in mediation.” This was made possible by the Young IP Mediator Initiative (YIPMI), launched2 at IP Week @ SG on 26 August 2020. The YIPMI trains the next generation of lawyers by giving law students an opportunity to be involved in real life Intellectual Property mediations.
3 Commenting on the Young IP Mediator initiative, Mr Mark Lim, Chief Legal Counsel and Director of Hearings and Mediation Department at IPOS said: “With the support of WIPO, we are able to offer our Young IP Mediators hands-on induction and exposure to real mediation practice. This is part of our continuous capability building effort to raise the next generation of IP mediators and augments Singapore’s plans to become a global IP dispute resolution hub.” He added, “Mediation offers a more cost-effective and faster option to resolve IP disputes globally. Typically, litigation in a similar case would have required taking action in every jurisdiction individually, taken an average of two or more years to resolve and entailed costs to file evidence and submissions. Mediation, on the other hand, takes place in a single jurisdiction and the settlement applies to other jurisdictions, saving time and money in the process. We are pleased that in this case, both parties were able to work out a mutually acceptable and amicable settlement for their IP rights in Singapore and overseas in just eight hours.”
4 On the case, both parties opted for mediation to resolve their dispute over the registration of the mark “timeless tomato.”3 The outcome of the mediation was positive and met the commercial concerns and objectives of both parties in Singapore and overseas. Ms Catherine Tan, Managing Director of Gromark Consumer Enterprises Pte Ltd, said: “We are grateful to the mediator for facilitating the negotiations. It means a lot to us and our business that this mediation was successful. We not only managed to resolve the underlying disputes to reach an amicable resolution, but also took a step forward in safeguarding the reputation of our brand and business in Singapore and overseas.” Mr Stanley Siu, Director of GK Laboratory (Asia) Pte Ltd also affirmed that it would likely use mediation again and commented that mediation is “less stressful and can deliver results quicker. Parties have the opportunity to understand each other's case and negotiate in a more business-like manner with less animosity.”(Full case details here: https://www.ipos.gov.sg/docs/default-source/protecting-your-ideas/hearings-mediation/mediation-success-at-ipos-gromark-consumers-enterprise-gk-laboratory-(asia).pdf)
5 The dispute was resolved under the auspices of the partnership between IPOS and the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center), which has its only overseas office in Singapore. The parties applied for the complimentary mediation service offered by WIPO Center, as well as funding under the Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (EMPS) by IPOS. Mediation is becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses and individuals as it helps them resolve their disputes more effectively and satisfactorily, while maintaining confidentiality. In particular, mediation serves as a cost-effective avenue leveraging on technology4 for businesses and entrepreneurs to resolve their multi-jurisdictional IP disputes without having to undergo arbitration or litigation.
1 The mediation also pre-emptively addressed the parties’ IP in other jurisdictions, before disputes arose in those places
2 This initiative aims to build up IP mediation experience among Singapore’s aspiring and fresh law graduates.
3 The mediation additionally included the logo mark, which was not opposed.
4 Where need be, mediation can be conducted online. In fact, online mediation has seen an uptake as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) helps businesses use IP and intangible assets to grow. We are committed to building Singapore into an international hub for intangible assets and IP to drive Singapore’s future growth. We are a government agency under the Ministry of Law. www.ipos.gov.sg.
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