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WIPO Director General Addresses Senior Judges and Meets with IP Stakeholders in Singapore

January 17, 2024

WIPO Director General Daren Tang on January 12, 2024, concluded a visit to Singapore where he addressed judges of the Singapore International Commercial Court and met with stakeholders in the country’s innovation ecosystem to discuss their intellectual property (IP) priorities for 2024 and beyond.

Singapore International Commercial Court Conference 2024

On January 9, 2024, the Director General addressed senior judges from a number of jurisdictions, including Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon of Singapore and other international judges, at the annual Singapore International Commercial Court Conference.

In his speech, the Director General discussed how significant political, economic and technological developments are affecting the IP ecosystem, including the geopolitical shift away from a unipolar world, the continued shift of economic gravity to Asia and more broadly the Global South, and the increased pace of technological change.

(Photo: Courtesy of Singapore’s International Commercial Court)

Innovation and IP related activity captures these dynamics well, said Mr. Tang, noting that 75 percent of filings now come from Asia, Africa, and Latin America – up from 60 percent 10 years ago, and 50 percent 20 years ago.

The Director General told the audience that  the cross-border nature of IP is continuing to impact dispute resolution strategies, with parties in technology disputes commencing mediation proceedings in parallel to action before national courts or IP authorities.

The Director General noted that WIPO is continuing its work with providing judges with skills- and capacity-building support through the WIPO Academy, WIPO Judicial Institute and WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.

In an increasingly fractured and complex world, Mr. Tang said the SICC can play a bridge-building role by bringing stakeholders and partners together, while providing a neutral and professional venue for resolving disputes that would otherwise fester, stymie or stall the flow of ideas around the world.

Stakeholder Meetings

The Director General met with senior political leaders to discuss WIPO’s cooperation activities with Singapore and the ASEAN region, the work of the WIPO Office in Singapore and to share the Organization’s priorities. Mr. Tang also updated leaders on WIPO projects in the ASEAN region.

The Director General also met with a number of other stakeholders from Singapore’s innovation ecosystem to learn more about their IP priorities and discuss the support WIPO could provide.

Mr. Tang met with EnterpriseSG and the Singapore Business Foundation (SBF) to discuss how WIPO can assist them in helping local companies embed IP into their business strategies and commercialize their intangible assets. Potential WIPO support could include IP Management Clinics for SMEs and startups in ASEAN and tailored courses on IP geared towards business professionals.

The Director General also met with the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) to share insights on how FinTech businesses are engaging with IP. A meeting was also held with AI Singapore to discuss key recent AI developments and the future potential of AI.

Mr. Tang also held discussions with representatives of the Singapore National Research Foundation regarding Technology Transfer Office operation and practices, as well as the commercialization of research and development products and services.