Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner
479.   Thanks to Switzerland and the proponents for preparing this very useful discussion paper. 480.   In today's knowledge-driven economy, Singapore sees innovation as a key driver for our development and IP as the new currency for economic growth. 481.   With 67,000 companies registering in Singapore annually, the Singapore Government has put in place several efforts to help these businesses innovate and grow. For example:  To help create synergies amongst technology start-ups, a shared physical space (Block 71) has been set up to pull together a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors. To date, this physical space/hub is home to more than 250 start-ups, 30 incubators, accelerators and venture capitalists;  Efforts have also been made to provide a conducive environment for the financial technology (fintech) sector to flourish;  Singapore's National Intellectual Property Office has as one of its objectives, enabling companies with IP resource potential to move to the next development stage, such as to develop new products or to expand to new markets; and  We have undertaken efforts to encourage voluntary mediation, so as to make it easier to enforce contracts, including on IP matters. This is part of our ongoing effort to improve the ease of doing business in Singapore. 482.   Singapore's IP regime also aims at striking a balance so as to encourage the development of innovative enterprises in ways that do not stifle competition. In this way, we hope to promote a positive new business IP environment that enables businesses to integrate better into the global economy. For example:  We are strengthening our linkages with other IP regimes for better market access. Since 2010, patent applications by Singapore firms via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system have grown almost 60%, while applications via the Madrid system have grown more than four-fold; and  Singapore also participates in patent acceleration programmes, such as Global Patent Prosecution Highways and the ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation. There are also many other ASEAN initiatives that facilitate the protection of IP of international investors in the region, as well as encourage greater domestic innovation in the region. 483.   Through our work, we have also observed challenges that new businesses face in relation to IP. For example, we note that start-ups tend to have a preference for debt funding in order to preserve their ownership stake in the business. However, innovation-driven start-ups are usually light on tangible assets. As such, this poses a challenge for raising debt as the current banking model is not designed to collateralise intangible assets such as IP rights. Singapore believes there is a need to overcome this debt financing constraint faced by IP heavy enterprises, and is working on policies to address this. 484.   We also look forward to hearing from other Members on their best practices and experiences in fostering new businesses in relation to IP.
The Council took note of the statements made.
50.   The Chair said that the item "Intellectual Property and Innovation: The Societal Value of IP in the New Economy – IP and New Business" had been put on the agenda at the written request by the delegations of Australia; the European Union; Japan; Switzerland; the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; and the United States of America. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda, Brazil had co-sponsored the item. Those delegations had also submitted a communication on this topic (circulated in document IP/C/W/648 and addendum) to allow Members to prepare for the discussion.
51.   The representatives of the United States of America, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Japan, the European Union, Norway, Brazil, Singapore, India, Chinese Taipei, Canada, China, South Africa and Colombia took the floor.
52.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/90, IP/C/M/90/Add.1