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Singapore: Singapore ranks as fifth most innovative country in the world

The Global Innovation Index 2018 report released in July 2018 ranked Singapore fifth among 126 innovative nations around the world. Singapore retained its first place ranking in Asia for the fifth year running and is only found to be less innovative than Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Singapore's strong performance in the Global Innovation Index is attributed to the various government initiatives and programmes launched to spur and protect innovation in the city-state.

One such initiative is the FinTech Fast Track brought in by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) in April 2018. The FinTech Fast Track reduces prosecution for FinTech-related patent applications from two years to approximately six months. Under this accelerated prosecution, applicants are able to commercialise their FinTech innovations more rapidly, helping Singapore grow faster in infocomm technologies and providing better protection to Singapore's financial sector.

Apart from expedited patent prosecution, IPOS provides increased support for Sino-Singapore collaborations by broadening its services to industries in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City. In cooperation with Southern China, Singapore established the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City to focus on high-tech innovation developments. As IP plays an important role in helping enterprises protect and market their innovations, IPOS has also set up its first overseas IP representative office in the Knowledge City in Guangzhou. It is expected that this new office will support high-tech enterprises in expanding their business to the South East Asian region and provide innovative entities in Singapore with opportunities for quicker and increased access to the Chinese market.

Singapore has also increased protection mechanisms to help spur innovation development. The Intellectual Property (Border Enforcement) Bill was recently passed by the Singapore Parliament for the purpose of bringing Singapore's law in line with the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. The Bill enhances border enforcement against goods infringing intellectual property rights. Specifically, Singapore Customs is given more power to seize infringing goods exported from or imported into Singapore.

Jiao Yang

Spruson & Ferguson

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