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Singapore: Inventors, investors and software patents

InnovFest unBound 2016 was a show of strength for start-up businesses in the media and digital healthcare industries. It is the flagship event in the weeklong Smart Nation Innovations event series that seeks to throw a spotlight on Asia's culture of innovation, highlight new technologies and provide a platform for forging new business relationships.

InnovFest unBound showcased Asia's most innovative media and healthcare technologies. Presentations from fintech companies, multi-national media and software companies and global product giants emphasised the need to protect the IP underpinning new technologies and new products.

More than 6,000 people registered for the event – double the number initially expected.

Most exhibitors were start-ups rapidly publishing their technologies, seeking investment from the Singapore government grant schemes and local investment vehicles, or gauging the interest in their products in Asian markets. There was a general feeling of optimism from those seeking investment, and keen interest from those looking to invest.

In addition to the exhibitor displays were a series of talks with senior representatives from large local companies and multinationals including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, McDonald's, Twitter, Singtel, Nestlé, Oracle, Bloomberg News, CNBC and Forbes Magazine. These talks emphasised the availability of investment in scalable media and healthcare technologies and the mechanisms, such as IP protection by which that investment is attracted.

Each presentation that covered growing the market for a technology or attracting investment resulted in a wave of enquiries and interest in IP protection. In general, exhibitors were aware of the benefits of protecting their technologies and brands, but wanted to understand how best to position themselves from an IP perspective.

Many of the start-ups were excited by questions on the direction their technologies will take in the future, and what they expected the next generation of their technologies to look like. This gave IP professionals the opportunity to advise those start-ups on how to negotiate the tension between publishing and marketing their next generation products to gain income, and protecting those next generation products from competition.

From an IP professional's perspective the event showed huge investor interest in Asian technologies, and showcased the innovative spirit that is alive in Singapore. It was also evidence of the confidence investors and innovators have in the strength and flexibility of Singapore's IP protection mechanisms and their administration through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.


Thomas Griffiths

Spruson & Ferguson (Asia) Pte Ltd152 Beach Road#37-05/06 Gateway EastSingapore 189721Tel: +65 6333 7200Fax: +65 6333

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