372. Singapore is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this paper and we thank Canada and the United States for leading the efforts on this paper. This paper is timely and useful in allowing Members including Singapore, to share our experiences on the links between IP, innovation, and micro-financing. Singapore recognizes the need for enterprises to proactively protect, manage and commercialise IP to derive maximum benefits for enterprises and the economy. In 2014, the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) piloted an IP Financing Scheme to allow IP-rich companies to access loan financing by pledging their IPs as collaterals. Under this scheme, the Singapore Government shared the risk of the IP loan with the participating financing institutions to encourage financial institutions to accept IP assets as collaterals in support of the loan.
373. Through this scheme, we also learnt of four key challenges for IP-based financing:
374. First, a reluctance for intangible assets and IP (IA/IP) to be accepted as collateral.
375. Second, information asymmetry and the lack of a clear financial reporting framework.
376. Third, the lack of secondary markets for intangible assets and IP liquidation.
377. Fourth, gaps in IP management practices.
378. Singapore believes that access to IP financing is a continuous process which requires MSMEs to innovate, be aware of the intangible assets and IP that they have, and to protect them well. In our view, a key challenge which we can and should overcome is the lack of IP awareness. To this end, IPOS has launched programmes to help MSMEs better appreciate the value and importance of IP, as well as to leverage their IP for sustainable growth. For example, the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) rolled out a Workforce for IP-Savvy Enterprises initiative in collaboration with the Singapore Business Federation to support companies in improving IP literacy and management. MSMEs are also eligible to sign up for IP clinics organised by IPOS to better understand how to protect their IP portfolio through the development of an IP strategy.
379. In addition, more can also be done to address the challenges faced by MSMEs on information asymmetry and financial reporting. For example, measures can be put in place to encourage adequate disclosure of intangible assets or IP by enterprises. In Singapore's context, IPOS and other partner agencies are working on an IA/IP disclosure framework to help enterprises better disclose their IA/IP. Internationally, there exists a range of IA/IP reporting methodologies promulgated by academics and international organizations, but no jurisdiction has developed a standardised IA/IP reporting framework which will help enterprises better communication the value of their IA/IP.
380. To improve assurances over the value of IA/IP, Singapore is also developing a standardized set of IA/IP valuation guidelines which is interoperable globally with professional valuation organizations and industry partners. Development of these guidelines will be driven by an international IA/IP valuation panel which will comprise representatives from various national Valuation Professional Organisations (VPOs). Through these efforts to nurture the IP financing ecosystem, Singapore hopes to be able to help MSMEs to effectively leverage their IP and to gain access to financing in order to support continued innovation. I look forward to hearing other Members sharing their efforts on how we can tackle the other challenges in IP and micro-financing.