Closer cooperation between the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) was enhanced by a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Monday, 21 September 2015. This MOU aims to improve international cooperation between the UKIPO and IPOS on issues concerning copyright, patents, trade mark and designs, and follows the announcement made in July this year by the UK Prime Minister to further cooperation between the two countries on IP protection.

The MOU, titled ‘Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Industrial Property between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office’, sets to establish a global flexible mechanism for developing and furthering cooperation activities between Singapore and the UK in the industrial property field and in information technology services.

UK Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville Rolfe said:

“Singapore is an influential voice on issues of intellectual property in the ASEAN region. Support from IP leaders is invaluable in developing robust global frameworks across the ASEAN region. This MOU will allow the UK and Singapore to share best practices in areas such as intellectual property rights protection, IP-related research and the streamlining of IP court processes.”

Mr Tan Yih San, Chief Executive of IPOS, commented:

“We are pleased to formalise our cooperation with the UK on innovation and intellectual property rights. This MOU reaffirms our mutual commitment to increase cross-border IP cooperation and provide a robust IP system for businesses and creators looking to expand into the UK, and those seeking to venture into the ASEAN region.”

In her first visit to Singapore, Baroness Neville Rolfe also met with Singapore-based UK businesses who are users of the IP systems. Southeast Asia is of growing importance for UK trade and export, accounting for 15% of the UK trade and, with over a thousand UK businesses having their regional headquarters based in Singapore, the city-state serves as a springboard into the wider ASEAN region. The region is expected to grow at 5% this year and become the fourth largest single market by 2030 through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) due primarily to a rapidly growing middle class consumer market. The MOU sets to unlock increased potential for UK business aboard and benefit the wider UK-ASEAN trade relationship through closer IP cooperation.