The interview has been used for an article in the Straitstime Singapore on 09 August 2021, here:
IP event on transiting to growth in a post-pandemic world to be held at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times 090821
The interview is below.
Mr. Vijayan is abbreviated as “KC”, and Martin Schweiger is abbreiated as “MS”.
KC: What do you expect from IP week 2021?
MS: Since it is fully virtual, Intellectual Property (IP) Week @ SG is a very nice forum in our professional area for meeting again people that I already know from other conventions. As we patent agents are IP services providers and not a law firm, local and overseas law firms are an important part of our clientele. So it is important to show up in order to not be forgotten, and for checking out our competition’s latest developments.
KC: What benefits do you expect to get from there?
MS: One important trend in the local IP industry is currently about IP commercialisation and strategies that help expand Singapore’s business into global markets. There are some talks about that, so I am keen to hear what are the government’s initiatives in that area.
What I can see from my company’s revenues, Covid-19 has promoted R&D investments. This is because the innovators had more time for their innovation and were less distracted by their managers and colleagues. There is a must-see Keynote IP Leaders’ Plenary that brings together the heads of the world’s leading IP Offices who promised to share their insights on the role of innovation and IP in helping enterprises to emerge stronger as we recover from the pandemic.
There is a talk at IP week 2021 about IP licensing as a means to expand business, generate revenue, and access new markets. And speakers from tech giants such as Lenovo and IBM will be there, and share insights into successful IP licensing. That area remains an enigma to many businesses, I am very much looking forward to what they will tell us.
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore promised to present an enactment of a negotiation to highlight pertinent issues faced by enterprises in IP licensing deals. That sounds also promising.
KC: Moving forward, what can be done for Singapore as an IP hub, e.g. focus on innovations?
MS: Both the IP industry players and users become aware that it is not sufficient to only generate IP as assets. There are assets that produce only costs and there are assets that generate income, and the same applies to IP as a so-called “intangible asset” class. The new high value non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have further cast the spotlight on the market potential of such intangible assets.
Companies have realized that only that IP that promises to produce real income can be used for business valuation and financing, while that IP that only produces costs cannot be used for that purpose. Companies are now shifting their attention on the RoI of such IP. I have recently published a book that explains how to apply that knowledge to start-up companies, and I would expect that this trend continues in SMEs.
I expect that the IP industry in Singapore will focus more on supporting companies in turning new product ideas into successful businesses. When I started in the IP industry in the last century, companies were boasting with their portfolios of plants, machinery, and other physical assets. Today, the fastest-growing companies are driven by intangible assets. Today, clients want to know how they can extract value from their patents and trademarks, and we can help them with that problem. Other challenges are about helping companies to use IP data for identifying strategic market opportunities, and to improve management of their portfolio of IP assets.
KC: Thank you, Mr. Schweiger, for your time.
MS: You are most welcome, Mr. Vijayan.