WIPO Director General Takes Part in IP Week @ SG 2021, Presents Future Vision for IP

August 27, 2021

WIPO Director General Daren Tang took part in IP Week @ SG 2021 (August 24-26, 2021) and presented his vision for a world where intellectual property (IP) is used by all as a powerful tool for creating jobs, attracting investments, supporting business growth and developing economies.

Speaking at a number of sessions during the annual event that is organized by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and brings together IP thought leaders, legal experts and innovative enterprises, Mr. Tang addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy in general, and on innovation in particular.

The pandemic has been a great disrupter and a potent accelerator at the same time,” he said at the Keynote IP Leaders' Plenary on "Charting our Future: Emerging Stronger through Innovation and IP" session. Through these disruptions and changes, he noted, innovative sectors of the global economy have remained resilient with an increase in international patent filings in 2020 and a surge in venture capital deals in developing regions.

While innovation and the innovation driven parts of our economy have remained very resilient, Mr. Tang noted that resilience has been uneven and

as such, we cannot go on as business as usual, we need to find ways to support even growth, and all countries, to build back better.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang and Rena Lee, Chief Executive, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), at the Keynote IP Leaders' Plenary session at Singapore IP Week 2021. (Photo: Courtesy of Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS))

To support recovery, the Director General said we need to look at IP in three ways. Firstly, broaden the perception of IP – it is for everyone, everywhere and not just for industrialized economies – “It is for SMEs, start-ups, innovators and creators - anyone who has a good idea that they want to take to market,” he said.

Secondly, we must broaden the perspective from which IP is seen as purely legal – “we have to view IP as a key business and economic asset,” he added.

Thirdly, Mr. Tang said IP must be viewed as a powerful catalyst for jobs, investment, and economic development, noting “We want to support all member states to use IP as a powerful tool to grow and develop.”

The Director General outlined WIPO’s Medium Term Strategic Plan, which was endorsed by WIPO’s 193 member states in July 2021. He said ultimately, the goal is to build a more inclusive IP ecosystem where the Organizations connects with stakeholders that have not been prioritized till now, including business associations, start-ups, SMEs, women and youth.

In addition to strengthening WIPO’s legacy activities: norm-setting, technical assistance and global IP services, Mr. Tang said the Organization “will move away from activity-based support to impact-based support - we want to go down to the ground and find projects that create new impact,” he told participants. Raising awareness among all stakeholders is another key priority.

WIPO Director General attends WIPO-IPOS innovation awards ceremony. (Photo: Courtesy of Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)).

Speaking at the “High Level Dialogue on Patent Search/Examination,” (full speech PDF, DG Tang speaking at the “High Level Dialogue on Patent Search/Examination) Mr. Tang said “Innovation and creativity are critical to realizing our shared ambitions of building back in an inclusive and sustainable way. For the IP community, our collective challenge is to provide innovators and creators with the ecosystems they need to develop their ideas and take them to the world.”

The Director General also addressed the question of IP-backed financing at an event entitled: The Role of IP Assets in Strengthening Business Access to Finance. He said that in spite of the immense value of intangible assets the world over, there is no global standard for the valuation of IP.

“At the enterprise level, the complexities involved in valuing intangible assets prevents many firms, including start-ups and SMEs, from leveraging what is often their most strategic asset – their IP – to access the financing they need to scale up and to grow,” he said noting that it is therefore essential to progress the conversation around IP-backed finance. This, he said, is a key part of WIPO’s larger efforts to ensure that IP supports entrepreneurs and enterprises. Full speech PDF, Tang RemarksIP Backed Financing: Sharing of the Singapore Country Report.

In addition to his participation in IP Week @ SG events, Mr. Tang held a series of meetings with senior Singapore Government officials, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong and Second Minister for Finance and National Development, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang (left) meets with Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.)
WIPO Director General Daren Tang (left) in conversation with Mr. Edwin Tong, Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law. (Photo: Courtesy of Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)).