An extract from The Technology Disputes Law Review, 1st Edition


Technology disputes in Singapore fall into the realm of either contract or tortious disputes. Generally, the technology disputes ultimately 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 ultimately determined in accordance with 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 the technology dispute before the courts.

Where applicable, the courts will refer to the specific legislation governing copyright and patents as these are now determined as statutory torts, and 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, as will be seen later, 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 rights relating to technology is viewed as being inadequate.