Singapore Grants AI Patent To Alibaba In Record Time, Launches New Initiative To Grow Asean’s Industry 4.0.
Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - ASEAN - Singapore - Intellectual Property
29 August, 2019
In conjunction with the earlier launch of IPOS International and the Skills Framework for IP, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) today further announced a series of new initiatives to support ASEAN Industry 4.0 at IP Week @ SG 2019. IPOS will also sign six Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and partnership agreements with a wide range of stakeholders to bridge Singapore to other innovation communities, enabling businesses from Singapore and anywhere in the world to use the Republic as a gateway to access new markets.
IPOS grants patent to Alibaba Group in a world record of three months
Under IPOS’ Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) (人工智能专利优先计划), the Alibaba Group Holdings Limited (Alibaba Group) has been granted an artificial intelligence (AI) patent1 in just three months, compared to an average of two to four years. The expedited application-to-grant process under AI2 will enable Alibaba Group and other innovators to bring their AI inventions faster to the global market through Singapore, and strengthen the Republic’s position as an intellectual property (IP) hub for cutting-edge technologies in today’s digital economy.
Complimenting Singapore’s efforts in supporting innovative enterprises to accelerate their go-tomarket strategy, Mr Benjamin Bai, Vice President and Chief IP Counsel of Ant Financial (an affiliate of the Alibaba Group), said, “Companies looking to implement AI solutions globally have grown exponentially. Against this backdrop, the speed at which a patent can be granted is critical. Singapore plays a pivotal role as it facilitates our entry into markets of our interest rapidly. We applaud the efficiency and speed of the Singapore’s IP office, and look forward to filing more patent applications in Singapore under this initiative.”
Advancement in AI technology as a result of digital innovation has driven the exponential growth of AI patent filings globally. Between 2008 to 2017, over 180,000 AI inventions were published globally.
With AI progressing at breakneck speed and disrupting almost every industry, IPOS’ AI2 will enable innovators to quickly commercialise their AI technologies and drive enterprise growth.
ASEAN IP offices launches new initiative to expedite Industry 4.0 patent applications and expand choices for patent applicants In a collective effort to boost the flow of innovation into the region, Singapore and eight other ASEAN IP Offices will prioritise patent applications in key emerging technologies such as FinTech, cybersecurity and robotics. The pilot project of two years will start from 27 August 2019. Businesses and innovators will enjoy a short turnaround time of six months for the first office action2 under the new ASPEC3 Acceleration for Industry 4.0 Infrastructure and Manufacturing (ASPEC-AIM) initiative.
ASPEC-AIM will bring economic growth opportunities to ASEAN as Industry 4.0 is expected to deliver between US$1.2 trillion to US$3.7 trillion in gains globally, and US$216 billion to US$627 billion for ASEAN given its significant manufacturing composition.4
The nine participating ASEAN IP Offices have also agreed to broaden the scope of ASPEC to include Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) reports under a new initiative called the PCT-ASPEC.5 It will run for a pilot of three years starting on 27 August 2019. Patent applicants will now have the option to use their PCT reports from an ASEAN International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA)6 to accelerate their patent applications in another ASEAN country.
Singapore connects with global innovation communities
To further Singapore’s networks with global innovation communities, IPOS and its enterprise and industry engagement arm, IPOS International, inked several agreements during the two-day
conference. This includes MOUs with:
- UK Intellectual Property Office in support of the SG-UK Partnership for the Future framework, to establish a broad framework for both offices to explore cooperation in IP
- protection, commercialisation and utilisation.
- Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property to promote the facilitation of innovative enterprises from both countries to protect and commercialise their IA and IP through Singapore and Brazil, and collaborative arrangements such as a pilot Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).7
- Qatar Free Zones Authority to support bilateral economic engagements through the sharing of best practices and knowledge on the management of IA and IP, and connecting the innovation ecosystems of both countries.
- IPOS International and IPR Daily to develop cooperation activities such as seminars and training programmes for Chinese enterprises to promote and increase their knowledge and capabilities in IP protection, commercialisation and management.
In addition, other agreements signed include:
- Implementation Workplan with the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam to deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of IP commercialisation and patent work-sharing.
- Extension of the PPH with China’s National IP Administration to continue the sharing of search and examination results between both IP offices until 31 August 2021. This will expedite and ease the patent application process for IP rights owners from both countries.
Mr Daren Tang, Chief Executive of IPOS, said, “This year’s IP Week @ SG 2019 marks a significant milestone for IPOS in our efforts to catalyse the growth of innovative enterprises, industries and the economy with intellectual property and intangible assets. We are honoured to be supported by our partners and stakeholders from the public and private sectors in the local and international innovation communities in building our collective IP expertise and networks to support our enterprises’ ambitions to grow. We hope that our new initiatives and partnerships will allow us to bring further value to global innovation flows, strengthen our position as one of the hubs for these flows, and ultimately help drive future growth for our economy and the region.”
1 Alibaba’s patented technology is a modified metric that helps to improve the accuracy of object detection in areas such as
image and text recognition.
2 A first office action report is a document written by a patent examiner in response to a patent application. The examiner will
cite prior art and gives reasons for allowing, approving and/ or rejecting the claims.
3 ASPEC or the ASEAN Patent Examination Cooperation is the regional work-sharing programme that reduces the cost and
waiting time to obtain a patent in an ASEAN country.
4 McKinsey & Company, 2018 Report on Industry 4.0: Reinvigorating ASEAN manufacturing for the future
5 They are from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet
6 Administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, international search and international preliminary examination
can only be carried out by appointed International Authorities known as ISA and IPEAs. To date, Singapore and the Philippines
are among the 23 IP Offices around the world that are appointed as ISAs and IPEAs.
7 PPH is a programme between IP Offices where examination process of a patent application in one IP Office can be
accelerated by referencing the examination results from another IP Office. Such work-sharing arrangement allows applicants to
obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently