Innovation Without Patents

Innovation Without Patents

Harnessing the Creative Spirit in a Diverse World

Edited by Uma Suthersanen, Graham Dutfield and Kit Boey Chow

A question the book considers is how far legal protection should extend to inventions that may only just, or indeed not quite, meet the conventional criteria for patentability, in terms of the level of inventiveness. Innovation without Patents offers a thoughtful and empirically rich analysis of the current system in a number of developed and developing countries in the Asia-Pacific. It asks whether such innovations should remain free from patenting, or whether alternative intellectual property regimes should be offered in such cases, and indeed whether the requirements change depending on a country’s level of development. This discussion is capped by a number of proposed policy options.

Chapter 5: Singapore

Kit Boey Chow, Kah Mun Leo and Susanna Leong

Subjects: innovation and technology, intellectual property, law - academic, intellectual property law


Kit Boey Chow, Kah Mun Leo, Susanna Leong A very detailed study of Singapore was undertaken under the aegis of the Singapore Intellectual Property Academy. This chapter reflects that study which provided empirical evidence in order to assess whether Singapore should adopt a UM regime. 5.1 Methodology Three empirically based approaches are adopted in order to offer policymakers in Singapore a thorough understanding of the specifics of the Singaporean economy and of the needs and interests of business in Singapore. The National Survey The first approach was to survey innovation throughout the Singapore economy and to find out how much innovation is going on, by whom and in what areas. This survey indicated the following breakdown of research and development (R&D) companies in Singapore: 40.1 percent of them are foreign companies (that is, wholly owned foreign companies as well as those with more than 30 percent foreign ownership) l 48.7 percent are local small and medium sized enterprises l 11.2 percent are local large enterprises. Innovation was measured largely by R&D expenditure and patent registration figures. It was found that the annual compounded R&D growth rate from 1994 to 2002 has been 14.2 percent, and that patent applications by the chosen companies had grown between the same years from 263 to 936. While these findings strongly suggest that Singapore is becoming increasingly innovative, one should be careful about drawing too firm conclusions. First, while R&D expenditure increases represent a growing commitment to innovation, it cannot be...

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