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Singapore nominates IPOS chief to head World Intellectual Property Organisation

Singapore nominates IPOS chief to head World Intellectual Property Organisation

Ambassador-at-large Professor Tommy Koh, Ministry of Law deputy secretary Calvin Phua and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore chief executive Daren Tang (Photo: Facebook/Tommy Koh)

SINGAPORE: The chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Daren Tang, has been put up for the position of director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), an agency under the United Nations which promotes the protection of intellectual property. 

Mr Tang has headed IPOS - a statutory board under the Ministry of Law - since 2015, after taking over the role from Mr Tan Yih San. 

He currently chairs the standing committee on copyright and related rights at WIPO.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO has 192 member states and oversees 26 international treaties related to the protection of intellectual property. 

The current director general of WIPO is Australian Francis Gurry, who has held the position since 2008, overseeing the organisation across two six-year terms. 

Mr Gurry's current term ends on Sep 30, 2020. 

On Sep 30 this year, a circular was sent by the chair of the WIPO coordination committee to all member states, inviting them to propose one of their citizens as candidate for the director general position. They are to nominate a candidate by Dec 30.

The WIPO coordination committee is to nominate a candidate for director general by early March next year and the general assembly is scheduled to appoint a person to the post by May 2020.

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In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Nov 13), Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh said he introduced Mr Tang to the diplomatic corps that afternoon. 

In his post, the veteran diplomat noted Mr Tang was a member of the team which negotiated the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, as well as a "key member" of the delegations which negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 

"As a Singaporean, he would be an excellent honest broker and bridge builder between the north and the south and between the east and the west," said Professor Koh.

Professor Koh added that Mr Tang had transformed IPOS into an "innovation agency" during his tenure, and that Singapore is recognised as having "the best IP regime in Asia and one of the best in the world".

The last Singaporean to hold a senior position at WIPO was Mr Geoffrey Yu, who rose to serve as its Deputy Director General before retiring in 2006.

In October, Singapore was ranked first in Asia and fourth in the International Property Rights Index, an annual ranking by United States-based Property Rights Alliance which looks at the strength of laws protecting intellectual property rights. 

Source: CNA/az


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