UK and Singapore boost IP cooperation

UK IPO and IPOS signs new MOU to improve international cooperation and UK-ASEAN trade relations.

Singapore, 21 Sep 2015 – The UK and Singapore will soon benefit from closer IP cooperation and enhanced UK-ASEAN trade relations following a new agreement on Intellectual Property (IP) signed today (21 September).

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) would improve international cooperation between the two IP offices, on issues relating to copyright, patents, trade mark and design.

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.”

This first visit by the UK IP Minister builds on the announcement by the UK Prime Minister in July which emphasised on strengthening IP cooperation and protection between the UK and Singapore. This MOU also enhanced the existing UK-Singapore Business Economic Partnership Agreement in the area of IP cooperation, as well as exchanges of economic experts between Singapore and UK IP offices in November 2014.

The UK IP Minister also met with UK businesses in Singapore who are users of the IP systems. 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 with 15 per cent of UK trade passing through the region, as well as the recent visit by the Prime Minister and Business Secretary in July. More than a thousand UK businesses use Singapore as their regional headquarters and a springboard into the wider ASEAN region, such as Rolls Royce which built their advanced technology centre in Singapore, employing over 700 people and availing capacities to manufacture aircraft engines for its growing Asian customer base.

ASEAN is expected to grow at 5% this year with the 10 member states representing the 7th largest economy in the world, availing potential business opportunities for UK businesses. In addition, 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).