Monday, June 29, 2009

Singapore's Top 100 Brands

In a survey by Brand Finance, Singapore Airlines was found to be the top Singapore brand with; it was valued at 3.9 billion Singapore dollars. Other brands in the top 10 were DBS(#3), APB (#5;the makers of Tiger beer), SingTel(#6) and Cold Storage(#8).

2008 was a tough year for brands; valuations plunged as a result of the financial crisis. Intangible assets declined by USD$203 billion in the year with the worst hit being companies in the banking and real estate sectors.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

IPOS - JPO Patent Prosecution Highway

Come 1 July 2009, the Singapore and Japan IP offices will embark on a year-long Patent Prosecution Highway ("PPH") test run. The test period may be extended by a year depending on the PPH's popularity among other factors. This is the second PPH pilot programme for IPOS, the first being a collaboration with the US Patent Office ("USPTO"). Information on how to participate in the PPH by filing the requisite notices at IPOS and JPO may be found here and here respectively.

It is yet unknown as to how many PPH cases there are under the 2-month old IPOS-USPTO PPH pilot programme; let's see if I can find out when I make a trip down to IPOS tomorrow morning later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Singapore still up for grabs on Facebook

Following the Facebook land rush on Saturday, 13 June 2009, celebrity names like Richard Nixon, The Real Shaq and Snoop Dog were snapped up by less famous imposters. Others may be found here. Some have also been posted on auction block Assetize, being by far the cheekiest. Vanity URLs for big boys Bank of America, Fox News and Chinese company Huawei are also up for sale. This could just be an exercise in futility though, as Facebook is currently sticking to their strict no-transfer policy, at least until they figure out a workable dispute resolution process.

As of today, is still untaken. In Facebook-land, the great country of America, however, belongs to one Tegan Snyder of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Asia's Top 1000 Brands

The top 3 brands in Asia as found in a survey co-funded by Media magazine are Sony, Samsung and Canon. Two questions were asked:

1 "When you think of the following (product/service category), which is the best brand that comes to your mind? By best, we mean the one that you trust the most or the one that has the best reputation in the (product/service category)."

2 "Apart from the brand that you have just mentioned, which brand do you consider to be the second-best brand in the (product/service category)?"

HP was the top US brand in 6th place and Coca-Cola was 10th.

Commencing Saturday 13 June 2009 (midnight, EDT), Facebook users may create personalised URLs for their Facebook pages ( To prevent third parties from using famous trade mark(s) as or part of their personalised URLs, Facebook has provided an online form for trade mark owners to record their rights. The form is accessible here. The information required is :-

a. Company name
b. Title
c. Email address
d. Trade mark
e. Trade mark registration number (in any jurisdiction)

Once registered, the personalised URLs will be non-transferable. We encourage trade mark owners to take preventive action now rather than to enforce trade mark rights later

Having said that, how will Facebook verify the identity of the person submitting the form, if at all? Mr. X could very well obtain a trade mark number of a well-known mark off any of the online databases then tick the little box that says he is authorised by the trade mark owner. Hmm, and what if someone tries "" or ""? What then? I can't help but wonder ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

IPOS' new operating hours

Just so you know, IPOS is now open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Mondays to Fridays, so if you want to manually file applications during your lunch hour, you can. Please note that they are no longer open on Saturdays. Electronic applications may be filed any time, any day. The new operating hours took effect from 1 June 2009.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Singaporean’s 10-year battle for IDNs wages on

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (“ICANN”) continuing efforts to infinitely expand the number of Generic Top Level Domains (“gTLDs”) beyond the current 21 which include .com, .net. and .org, have received mixed reviews. While cities and big brands are expected to be among the first applicants (think .newyork, .tokyo, .apple and .sony), it is without any doubt that cybersquatters will also be near, if not at, the head of the line.

Version 2 of the New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook was just released on 31 May 2009. In it contains the public's comments on various issues surrounding the new gTLDs, including trade marks, geographical names and Internationalised Domain Names ("IDNs").

One particular name in the Guidebook - James Seng - caught my eye. Seng, a Singaporean, has been lobbying for IDNs, particularly "CJK" (Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters) in an Anglo-centric Internet for the last 10 years. His dream of a truly international Internet echoes the Internet Society's slogan of yore : The Internet is for Everyone.

Sadly, as Seng laments, not much progress has been made. The latest Guidebook imposes a 3-character minimum for IDNs, which is perfectly sensible for English words (.boy, .car) [Edit : not for famous 2-letter brands like .ge, .lv and .ax though], but simply does not fit the nature of CJK where meaningful words may be formed by less than 3 characters. In his blog, Seng reminds ICANN that in 2008, Asia contributed to the largest growth of domain names (excluding .com). He ends the entry with an earnest plea : If ICANN is sincere about making gTLD successful, I beg you, please do not fumble in Asia.

Version 3 of the Guidebook is set to be released in end of June 2009 for yet another round of public comment. The fate of IDNs remains to be seen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New IPOS Initiative

Launched in late May 2009, IP Knowledge Kaleidoscope is the latest of IPOS' initiatives to assist businesses in identifying, protecting and commercially exploiting their intellectual property. The Kaleidoscope is primarily a series of factsheets containing relevant information on various aspects of intellectual property. The first factsheet on "Licensing of IP Rights as a Business Tool" is available for download here.

Also, patent owners looking to licence their rights may endorse their patents accordingly. In return, they get a 50% reduction on renewal fees. In order that interested licensees may easily search for these patents, IPOS has now put together a list for convenience. More information is available here.

Mail Surprise

Sure, it was all warm and fuzzy in the afterglow of our Court of Appeal win. But the tedium of taxation of costs is now upon us, our daily tools of pens and pencils temporarily making way for calculators and spreadsheets.

Amidst the angst, it was indescribably pleasant to receive Part 7 of the 2009 Fleet Street Reports in the mail, where the aforesaid appeal decision has been published. And how very thoughtful of the publishers to have sent 3 copies, one for each of us.

Suddenly, I'm punching buttons with more vigour and even managing to do some sums in my head.

It sure feels good to be standing on Fleet Street.