Press release

UK and Singapore boost IP co-operation

The UK and Singapore are set to benefit from a new agreement on Intellectual Property (IP) signed today (21 September 2015).

Image of Scott Wightman, Baroness Neville Rolf and IPOS with the signed agreement.

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will improve international cooperation between the two nations on issues involving copyright, patents, trade marks and designs.

UK Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville Rolfe said:

Singapore is an influential voice on issues of intellectual property in the ASEAN region. Support from IP leaders is invaluable in developing robust global frameworks across the ASEAN region. This MOU will allow the UK and Singapore to share best practices in areas such as intellectual property rights protection, IP-related research and the streamlining of IP court processes.

Mr Tan Yih San, Chief Executive of IPOS, said:

We are pleased to formalise our cooperation with the UK on innovation and intellectual property rights. This MOU reaffirms our mutual commitment to increase cross-border IP cooperation and provide a robust IP system for businesses and creators looking to expand into the UK, and those seeking to venture into the ASEAN region.

IPOS said:

We are excited to formalise our cooperation with the UK on intellectual property matters. This MOU underlines our strong commitment to contribute to intellectual property rights enforcement, not only at a national level but also in the international field, particularly with leading offices such as UK IPO.

In a globalised era, it is crucial for governments to collaborate on common understandings such as innovation and economic growth.

Many UK businesses use Singapore as their regional headquarters and a springboard into the wider ASEAN region. This visit, the first for the UK IP Minister builds on the announcement by the Prime Minister in July of the agreement to strengthen co-operation on IP protection. This MOU also enhanced the existing UK-Singapore Business Economic Partnership Agreement in the area of IP cooperation.

Signing of the agreement.

The Minister also met with UK businesses in Singapore as users of the systems and those that understand where the barriers to effective trade exist. This visit provided a valuable opportunity to emphasise the importance of IP in engendering safe business environments in this region and the willingness of the UK to support IP developments.

South East Asia is of increasing importance for UK trade and export – a fact highlighted by the recent visit of the Prime Minister and Business Secretary in July.

The region is expected to grow at 5% this year with potential to unlock huge opportunities for UK business. The region has a rapidly increasing middle class consumer market and is expected to become the fourth largest single market by 2030 through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This visit emphasises the importance of IP in the UK’s relationship with South East Asia, and the benefits that close cooperation on IP can bring to the wider UK-ASEAN trade relationship.

Notes to editors:

  1. The title of the agreement is; Memorandum of understanding concerning industrial property between the IPOS and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office.
  2. The purpose of the memorandum, as set out in the document states: The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to establish a global and flexible mechanism for developing and furthering the cooperation activities between the Participants in the industrial property field and information technology services.
  3. The understanding is valid for 3 years and will be automatically renewed for successive periods of three years unless one of the participants terminates the agreement.
  4. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  5. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
  6. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
Published 21 September 2015