The intellectual property (IP) associated with a business name or system can be one of its most valuable assets – but only if it is properly protected. Any business that wishes to establish a national or international identity should take steps to protect the use of its name, logo or other IP, such as patent rights, formulae/processes, designs, trademarks, franchises, licence agreements, “know-how” and copyrights. Given the importance of IP to modern businesses, Sovereign has established an intellectual property division that specialises in registration, monitoring, advice and proactive assistance.

Singapore has been taking active steps to position itself as an IP centre with a robust legal framework for IP and competitive tax regime for the commercialisation and exploitation of IP. In 2013, the government annunced a plan to develop Singapore as a “Global Intellectual Property Hub in Asia” over the next decade.

Singapore’s legal framework for IP protection is recognised internationally. In the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum rated Singapore as having the best IP protection regime in Asia. Companies in Singapore are offered generous incentives to register their IP. Under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme, subject to certain conditions and expenditure limits, companies are entitled to a 400% tax deduction for the costs of registration of IP, which include both registry and/or professional fees, in or outside Singapore.

For the acquisition of certain IP, companies are entitled to write down the acquisition costs over five years of assessment, subject to certain conditions. The Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme further enhances this benefit by providing a 400% writing down allowance for acquiring both legal and economic ownership of IP.

Under the IP Hub Master Plan, further strategies are being evaluated to enhance the legal framework by increasing the quality of IP filings and developing Singapore as a choice location for IP dispute resolutions.

Singapore also offers a supportive tax framework to companies that develop or acquire IP, and a large number of international firms representing a wide range of industries have located their research and development (R&D) and IP-related activities in Singapore.

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