545. Singapore is pleased to co-sponsor this agenda item, and would like to thank Japan for submitting this discussion paper on "Making MSMEs Competitive Through Inclusive Protection of Various IPs", which is the second in a series of discussion topics on how countries and governments can support MSMEs via IP rights to make them competitive both in the domestic market and around the world. Japan's paper provides us with a good starting point to discuss the importance of multilayered protection of an MSME's business through diverse IP portfolios, and how governments can support such strategic IP protection. Allow me to share three key points underpinning Singapore's efforts in this regard.
546. First, to set a good example, the Singapore Government has constantly sought to ensure that the agencies that cover IP look at the issues in a broad-based and holistic manner. In past years, there was a strong misconception that IP-related matters mostly pertained to legal and technical work. There was also little interface between the various aspects of IP, such that the officers working on copyright, patents and trademarks for example did not collaborate closely to understand how these different rights could interact and impact each other. Within the past few years, the Ministry of Law and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have been reorganised to take into account the legal, financial, business, technological and research implications of IP rights, and this has contributed to the success of Singapore in building up our status as an IP Hub.
547. Second, the Government provides various avenues for MSMEs to improve their level of awareness and knowledge regarding the distinct features of the various IP rights and the avenues for enforcement of those rights. As a case in point, IPOS and Singapore's apex business chamber, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), collaborated to roll out the Workforce for IP-Savvy Enterprises (WISE) initiative, which aims to help Singapore companies identify new business opportunities and acquire new capabilities through IP. The WISE initiative builds upon the Skills Framework for IP launched in 2019 to provide companies with holistic support in improving their IP literacy and management. Companies are also equipped with knowledge and skills to identify new business opportunities, protect intangible business assets and minimize risks of costly litigations from IP infringements. Specifically, WISE helps companies to build: i) HR capabilities to hire, nurture and optimize IP talents in their companies; ii) business development capabilities through online IP courses and consultation to identify potential new opportunities; and iii) networks and knowledge on IP at IPOS' and SBF's flagship events. Additionally, under IPOS' wholly owned subsidiary, IPOS International, there is a team focusing on providing IP Strategy solutions to enterprises, including MSMEs, as well as government agencies, with regard to optimising intangible assets (IA) management to drive economic and business growth. IPOS International has made available a free online tool, IlluminateTM for enterprise, to help businesses get a quick overview of an enterprise's IP and IA health status. IPOS International also provide IP Strategy advisory, which consists of actionable advice, frameworks and processes to help enterprises identify, understand and manage their IP and IA in a more strategic manner. Lastly, IPOS International provides services in the areas of patent analytics and technology scans – these are actionable intelligence based on review of large patent data sets to gain insights into the market and technology trends for R&D decision, identify potential new opportunities and learn more about competitors.
548. Third, we provide a wide range of training to ensure that MSMEs are continually equipped to deal with the needs of a fast-changing world and can make strategic decisions on their IP portfolios in an agile manner. The national level skills development framework for IP Launched in 2019 allows MSMEs to develop capabilities in IP management and commercialisation. This framework provides comprehensive information on the career options and skills needed for the various job roles, and also the relevant training programme for the IP sector. It outlines information on the sector, career pathways for talent attraction and retention, as well as skills and competencies to support the growth and transformation of the sector. This will aid in the upskilling of new entrants and also existing IP professionals. In terms of concrete programmes, IPOS collaborates with the Singapore University of Social Sciences to offer a Master of IP and Innovation Management (MIPIM). In an innovation-driven environment, the programme helps develop the pipeline of IP talents with the expertise to develop and align IP strategies to achieve business goals. IPOS International also hosts the IP Academy (IPA), which aims to grow a vibrant network of skilled IP and innovation professionals and users through quality education.
549. This is an important issue which bears more focused discussions to share best practices, and we look forward to hearing from other Members on their national experiences.