1. In a knowledge- and innovation-driven economy, intellectual property (“IP”) rights enable individuals and businesses to maximise returns from their creative and innovative activities. Equally important is the ability of IP rights holders to effectively enforce their rights against third parties. A time- and cost-effective system of dispute resolution assures rights holders that they can effectively safeguard their intellectual creations, thus ensuring that incentives to innovate and create new works for the benefit of society remain. It also assures potential defendants that they can effectively and efficiently resolve disputes.
2. In 2015, the Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) appointed a committee to review and make recommendations on the IP dispute resolution system in Singapore (“the IPDR Committee”). The IPDR Committee comprised academics, IP practitioners, in-house counsel, members of the judiciary, and government representatives. The objectives of the review were to:
a) enhance access to our IP dispute resolution system, particularly for individuals and SMEs; and
b) position Singapore as a choice venue for IP dispute resolution in Asia.
The IPDR Committee’s Final Report containing its recommendations (“the IP Report”) can be found at Annex B to this public consultation paper.
3. Separately, the Chief Justice established the Civil Justice Commission (“CJC”) in 2015 and MinLaw established the Civil Justice Review Committee (“CJRC”) in 2016 to reform the civil justice system (collectively “the Civil Justice Reforms”). The objectives included enhancing the efficiency and speed of adjudication, maintaining costs at reasonable levels, and enhancing judicial control over litigation. More information about the Civil Justice Reforms’ recommendations can be found in the reports at Annexes B and C to the Public Consultation on Civil Justice Reforms.
4. This public consultation exercise focuses on proposed reforms aimed at enhancing access to our courts for IP disputes.1 We invite feedback on the proposals, which have been developed based on both the IPDR Committee’s recommendations and the broader Civil Justice Reforms’ recommendations. These proposed reforms are found in Section III, where we set out questions at relevant junctures. More details about the proposed reforms can be found in the IP Report, the CJRC’s report and the CJC’s report.
5. Please note that the concepts discussed in this public consultation paper are still at the discussion stage and may change after further discussion and reflection. This public consultation paper is not intended to be an interpretative paper in that it is not to be used to interpret or define any new rules which will apply to IP disputes.
6. Interested persons are invited to provide responses to these questions, and comments on the proposals in general. Respondents are requested to indicate your name and the organisation you represent (if applicable) as well as contact details (email address and/or telephone number) to enable us to follow up and seek clarification, if necessary. Please title all comments and feedback “IPDR public consultation comments” and send them by 30 November 2018 via post or email to:
Intellectual Property Policy Division
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02 The Treasury
1The IPDR Committee’s recommendations in relation to the second objective of positioning Singapore as a choice venue for IP dispute resolution are being considered separately. In addition, a public consultation on proposed patent proceedings at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, found at para 3.3.1 to 3.3.7 of the IP Report, was held in Jul and Aug 2017.