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WIPO and Singapore Partner in the Field of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Geneva/Singapore, July 28, 2009


An agreement signed by Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Mr. K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs, has paved the way for the establishment of the Singapore Office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center), which will officially open in January 2010. (Please refer to “Annex A” for a fact sheet on the WIPO Center.)

The Singapore Office of the WIPO Center, located at Maxwell Chambers – Singapore’s international dispute resolution centre – will focus on promoting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services in the Asia Pacific Region. As the only WIPO Center in the region, it will provide training and advice on procedures such as arbitration, mediation and expert determination, and will administer and facilitate hearings in cases conducted under the WIPO Rules in Singapore. The Singapore Office of the WIPO Center aims to cater to regional needs and to make WIPO’s experience and expertise in intellectual property ADR more accessible in the Asia Pacific Region. 

Mr. Shanmugam said: “Singapore is honored to be chosen as the location for the WIPO Center in the Asia Pacific Region. The expansion of WIPO’s presence here bears testimony to Singapore’s commitment to the protection of intellectual assets and our support of WIPO’s efforts to develop the international IP regime. WIPO’s decision to set up its WIPO Center office in Maxwell Chambers, a dedicated facility for international dispute resolution, augments our efforts to develop Singapore as a venue of choice for international arbitration and mediation in Asia.”

Mr. Gurry thanked the Government of Singapore for supporting this initiative, which he said would offer companies and other actors in the region a cost-effective dispute resolution option and help boost the availability of fully trained professionals to effectively deliver ADR services throughout the region. He said: “ADR is an important cost-saving alternative to traditional litigation and a means of finding constructive and workable solutions to the often complex, cross-border intellectual property-related disputes that can arise in a wide range of fields. We are pleased to extend our expertise to the service of parties in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Region.”

WIPO and Singapore are further cooperating in the establishment of an international WIPO Mediation and Arbitration Scheme for Film Related Disputes (WIPO Film ADR Scheme), which will be developed by the WIPO Center in collaboration with Singapore’s Media Development Authority, a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, that promotes and regulates the country’s media sector. The development of the WIPO Film ADR Scheme is an example of the WIPO Center’s efforts to build tailored dispute resolution schemes for recurrent disputes arising in a specific industry sector or involving a particular subject matter. Other such ADR schemes were, for example, developed for certain copyright and domain name disputes.

A memorandum of understanding, signed by Mr. Gurry and Rear Admiral (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, will provide the basis for the development of the WIPO Film ADR Scheme, which is expected to launch in Singapore in late 2009. 

Rear Admiral (NS) Lui Tuck Yew said: “The media sector is a vital component of the creative industries that Singapore has embraced as a key engine of growth. Anchoring the WIPO Film ADR Scheme in Singapore therefore strengthens our positioning as an intellectual property and arbitration hub. This will dovetail with our efforts to achieve a conducive environment for the creation, anchoring and exploitation of media assets and intellectual property.”

Mr. Gurry said: “WIPO’s expertise in arbitration and mediation will be applied to the specific needs of the film sector which is enjoying strong growth, especially in the Asia Pacific Region. While this expansion brings many commercial opportunities, there is also a greater risk of conflict between commercial partners. For parties involved in such disputes, mechanisms, such as arbitration and mediation, offer a cost-efficient and often more rapid and advantageous alternative to traditional litigation.” He added: “We look forward to working with the Singapore Media Development Authority on this project.” 

For further information, the media can contact:

Chia Pei Siang (Ms)
Manager, Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel: + (65) 9726 3151
Email : chia_pei_siang@mda.gov.sg

Annex A


Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) was established in 1994 to offer alternative dispute resolution options for the resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties. Developed by leading experts in cross-border dispute settlement, the arbitration, mediation and expert determination procedures offered by the WIPO Center are widely recognized as particularly appropriate for technology, entertainment and other disputes involving intellectual property (IP).

Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

The WIPO Center advises parties and their lawyers on ways to resolve IP disputes, and provides them with access to the following ADR procedures, particularly suited for the resolution of international IP disputes:

Mediation: a non-binding procedure in which a neutral intermediary, the mediator, assists the parties in reaching a settlement of the dispute. (Depending on the parties' choice, mediation may be followed, in the absence of a settlement, by arbitration, expedited arbitration or expert determination.)

Arbitration: a neutral procedure in which the dispute is submitted to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on it. (Depending on the parties' choice, arbitration may be preceded by mediation or expert determination.)

Expedited Arbitration: an arbitration procedure which is carried out in an abbreviated time-frame and at a reduced cost. (Depending on the parties' choice, expedited arbitration may be preceded by mediation or expert determination.)

Expert Determination: a procedure in which a dispute or a difference between the parties is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more experts who make a determination on the matter referred. The determination is binding, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. (Depending on the parties' choice, expert determination may be preceded by mediation or followed by (expedited) arbitration.)

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Caseload Summary (as of July 28, 2009)

1. Mediation

The WIPO Center has received over 80 Requests for Mediation.

The mediations administered by the WIPO Center relate to patent disputes, software/IT, copyright issues, trademark issues (including trademark coexistence), telecommunications, employment issues in an IP context, consultancy and engineering disputes, and domain name disputes. Most of these mediations were based on contract clauses; only five cases were submitted to WIPO mediation as a result of a submission agreement once the dispute had arisen. WIPO mediations have involved parties based in different jurisdictions including Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Amounts in dispute have varied between Euro 20,000 to several hundred million USD.

2. Arbitration

The WIPO Center has received over 110 Requests for Arbitration.

The subject matter of the arbitration proceedings includes patent infringements, patent licenses, telecommunications purchase and license agreements, software licenses, distribution agreements for pharmaceutical products, research and development agreements, trademark co-existence agreements, consultancy agreements, art marketing agreements, joint venture agreements.

WIPO arbitrations have involved parties based in different jurisdictions including China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Panama, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The venues of the arbitration proceedings include France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States of America and the proceedings have been conducted in several languages that include English, French and German.

Amounts in dispute have varied between USD 20,000 to several hundred million USD. The remedies claimed in arbitration proceedings have included damages, infringement declarations and specific performance.

3. Domain Name Administrative Dispute Resolution Procedures

The number of cases administered by the WIPO Center under Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) procedures exceeds 15,800. Together, these administrative proceedings have involved parties from 150 countries and some 28,000 Internet domain names. The WIPO Center makes available full statistics about domain name filings, outcomes and geographical distribution of parties.

The UDRP applies primarily to international domains such as .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz. and .mobi. In addition, 58 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have now appointed the WIPO Center as service provider for their domain name disputes.

Apart from UDRP cases, the WIPO Center has administered over 15,000 cases under Sunrise policies relating to registrations in the start-up phase of new domains.

For more information, please contact the News and Media Division at WIPO:
  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • E-mail