ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ASSOCIATION

The WIPO Singapore Office: A Decade of Service Delivery


November 24, 2015

The WIPO Singapore Office has officially marked a decade of operations as WIPO’s first regionally focused external office, the 2005 opening of which represented a major development in the organization’s efforts to bring its services and other activities closer to Member States’ IP users. 

 



November 24 WIPO Singapore Office10th Anniversary celebration at the Old Parliament in Singapore (photo: Dean Studio).

Much has changed in the 10 years since the WIPO Singapore Office (WSO) became operational. In 2005, smartphones were still in the early days of commercialization, YouTube was just founded and Facebook.com was launched in August of that year.  Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and across Asia there have been many changes, too, including a dramatic increase in the demand for intellectual property rights, as knowledge, technology and creative works move to the center of the contemporary economy.  Governments in the region have responded to this shift by orienting economic strategies designed to increase innovation and creativity – and WIPO has adapted to meet these changing needs.



 

PHOTO: DEAN STUDIO

 At a November 24 event at the Old Parliament in Singapore commemorating the 10th anniversary of the office, Denis Croze, Director of the WSO, said: “It’s a real privilege to be working in ASEAN at such an important time in the region’s development.  The ASEAN Economic Community goal of regional economic integration will be a significant development and one that I think will result in yet more interest in IP.”

Already, Asia is now the major origin of international patent applications via WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), accounting for around 40% of the total, compared to 20% for North America and 27% for Europe.

Through partnerships with a variety of stakeholders in the region, the WSO has contributed to this growth by promoting WIPO’s services, assisting Member States to accede to WIPO treaties and providing capacity development and technical assistance in response to Member State needs.

Examples of this approach include the IP Technical Assistance Providers informal forum that the WSO initiated with other donors who are active in the region.  The objective is to ensure that assistance is delivered in a strategic and coordinated way and provides opportunities for those delivering assistance to collaborate and build on what others have already achieved. 

Such an approach saw the WSO play a significant role in the provision of assistance to ASEAN Member States looking to accede to the Madrid and Hague treaties as documented under the ASEAN IP Rights Action Plan 2011-15.  The WSO organized or participated in almost 30 different regional, sub-regional and national events in 2013 and 2014 aimed at assisting Member States in their efforts to accede.

 In 10 years, the WSO has welcomed thousands of delegates from the region for workshops that cover every imaginable aspect of IP from the Patent Cooperation Treaty to Marrakesh, with tailored workshops for journalists, the judiciary and the sports industry, among others. Delegates come from as far as the Islamic Republic of Iran in the West and Tonga to the East; from countries as small as Niue with a population of 1,200 to China or India with populations of more than a billion. 

The WSO offers a cost effective solution for many of WIPO’s initiatives, such as representing the organization at events in the region and hosting seminars and workshops in the WSO’s premises.



PHOTO: DEAN STUDIO



PHOTO: DEAN STUDIO

“In 10 years, the WSO has achieved a great deal and these achievements could not have been possible without the unwavering support of our many partners, but in particular, the Singaporean authorities such as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Law, and of course IPOS, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore,” said Mr. Croze.

“It’s also worth highlighting that 2015 is an important landmark for multiple reasons: firstly the year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. And it is important to recall that in 2005, WIPO was the first UN institution to open an office in Singapore.  Secondly, Singapore has celebrated its 50th birthday this year, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Singaporean authorities and the people of Singapore for all that they have achieved to create such a dynamic and innovative country.”

Each year the WSO hosts dozens of visits of students, government officials and different associations, all with varying levels of IP knowledge.  “What I really like is when we have a group of students who are visiting as part of their management degree for instance and many are clearly not that impressed with the idea of an afternoon hearing about this unknown concept of IP.  Once we’ve explained the role IP plays in business development, explored some of the issues in the digital economy and discussed IP and branding, the students don’t want to leave and seem to have an unending supply of questions!”




PHOTO: DEAN STUDIO



PHOTO: DEAN STUDIO

“That’s really a key part of our role here in the WSO,” said Mr. Croze, “to increase IP awareness and knowledge of the next generation of business leaders.  We also work hard to ensure those currently in business understand the importance of IP, and the way many of WIPO’s services and platforms can help make the process of securing an IP right overseas, simpler and easier to manage.”

“Looking forward, I think IP is going to be a major focus of many least developed, developing and emerging economies in the ASEAN region and the WSO team looks forward to supporting them on their journey.”

For more information about the WIPO Singapore Office, visit www.wipo.int/singapore.