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Overview

Technology disputes in Singapore fall into the realm of either contract or tortious disputes. Generally, technology disputes determined according to contractual principles typically revolve around disputes over system development or delivery, and licensing or payment and ownership of the subject technology. The courts typically treat such disputes as technology neutral. They are more concerned with the contractual elements of the dispute and are keen to determine what the parties intended contractually, with a view to generally upholding business concerns rather than focusing on the underlying technology in question.

Technology disputes determined according to tortious principles usually take the form of intellectual property disputes, specifically disputes relating to patents and copyright involving databases and software. Where these rights do not exist, trade secret protection in the form of an action for breach of confidential information is typically alleged as the basis for the commencement of such technology disputes before the courts.

Where applicable, the courts will refer to the specific legislation that governs copyright and patents as these are now determined as statutory torts. Where there is no specific legislation applicable to the dispute, the courts will rely on the common law for guidance.

Although they have not explicitly relied on policy considerations in the determination of such disputes, the courts generally uphold the subsistence of an intellectual property right and have found it appropriate to depart from the common law if, on consideration of the facts, the existing protection for the rights underpinning such technology is viewed as being inadequate.