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

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner
219.   Singapore, on behalf of co-sponsors Australia; Canada; Chile; the European Union; Hong Kong, China; Japan; the Republic of Korea; New Zealand, Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States of America, is pleased to introduce our paper on the 2019 IP and Innovation overarching theme on "Public-Private Collaborations in Innovation". 220.   Collaborations harness different expertise and resources across various sectors to develop new innovation breakthroughs that may not be possible in solo endeavours. In particular, strong collaborations between the public and private sectors are important for effective innovation to help address global challenges. The public sector (e.g. public research and research-funding agencies) and the private sector (e.g. research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and marketing and distribution companies) possess different resources, expertise and risk profiles that can complement each other to create IP and deliver useful innovative solutions that benefit society. 221.   TRIPS Council Members are invited to take part in a three-part exchange this year and to share success stories on how public-private collaborations in innovation helps to improve lives, build resilient communities and create good jobs. As per the paper, three subthemes will be discussed at each of the TRIPS Council sessions this year, namely a) R&D – collaboration frameworks / building capacity and engaging in R&D; b) Innovation in Creative Industries and Branding; and c) Commercialisation. The latter two topics will be expanded upon in the respective TRIPS Council sessions in June and November respectively. Public-private collaborations in R&D 222.   Focusing on the first theme, public-private collaborations in R&D can take various forms, depending on the specific situation. 223.   One example from Singapore for illustration is Project Wolbachia, which is spearheaded by the Environmental Health Institute ("EHI") of our National Environment Agency ("NEA"). This project fights dengue in Singapore by developing technologies to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito population. Male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are released to mate with urban female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, resulting in eggs that do not hatch. For this project, EHI is partnering a local start-up, Orinno Technology Pte. Ltd. ("Orinno"), and Verily, the life sciences and healthcare company of Alphabet Inc. EHI worked with Orinno to develop various automated devices to count the larvae and pupae of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. With Verily, artificial intelligence technologies were developed to sort and release the male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes efficiently. 224.   In this regard, the Singapore Government has developed a standard framework on IP management in public-private collaborations to guide such collaborations. We also have initiatives to help businesses, in particular the small- and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs"), acquire R&D expertise. Standard Framework on IP Management 225.   How IP created from R&D can be used would invariably depend on the ownership of the underlying IP rights and terms of use. In determining the allocation of IP rights in public-private collaborations, various considerations have to be borne in mind. For example, the private sector is generally better placed to further develop and commercialise the IP to meet market needs. 226.   Therefore, in April 2018, Singapore implemented the National IP Protocol for Publicly-Funded R&D. This is a standard framework for how IP generated from publicly-funded R&D should be owned, managed and exploited, so that the value of the IP can be fully exploited to benefit Singapore. This framework allows public agencies the flexibility to grant licences or assign IP to the industry, with the goal of facilitating IP commercialisation. Helping Businesses Acquire Expertise 227.   In some cases, businesses may not have the technical expertise to conduct further R&D to develop solutions to meet the needs in the industry or community, but such expertise can be found in public sector R&D agencies. 228.   Singapore's public research agency, the Agency for Science Technology and Research ("A*STAR"), has a few programmes to help the private sector acquire and develop R&D expertise. One such programme is the Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading ("T-Up") Scheme, where A*STAR will second researchers to companies to help build up their in-house R&D capabilities. Since the launch of the scheme in 2003, over 678 SMEs have benefited. Another programme is Tech Access, where A*STAR helps SMEs access expert training. This enables enterprises to prototype new products and improve their manufacturing capability. Since the launch of this programme in 2017, over 30 companies have been supported. Conclusion 229.   Singapore values public-private collaborations in R&D. Done well, they deliver innovative solutions to benefit society and create good jobs. 230.   We look forward to hearing from other Members on their experiences in facilitating publicprivate collaborations in R&D.
The Council took note of the statements made.
34.   The Chair said that the item had been put on the agenda at the request of Australia; Canada, Chile; the European Union; Hong Kong, China; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States of America. It covered two aspects of the broader topic of IP and innovation:
a. "The societal value of IP in the New Economy", a topic that the Council had discussed at its meetings last year. A relevant communication has been submitted to facilitate discussion (IP/C/W/650); and
b. "Public-Private Collaborations in Innovation", a theme proposed by the co-sponsors for 2019. A relevant communication had been submitted to facilitate discussion (IP/C/W/652 and Add.1).
35.   The representatives of the United States of America; Singapore; Australia; Switzerland; New Zealand; Chinese Taipei; Chile; South Africa; Hong Kong; China; Canada; Japan; Mexico; the European Union; the Republic of Korea; Brazil; China; India and the Dominican Republic took the floor.
36.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/91, IP/C/M/91/Add.1, IP/C/M/91/Corr.1