ASEAN businesses are increasingly leveraging technology and intellectual property (IP) assets in their transactions and negotiations. However disputes can quickly sour new or existing business relationships, and can be costly to resolve, especially for individuals and small enterprises. ASEAN parties looking to settle technology and IP-related disputes or problematic negotiations can now tap into a new source of funding. The ASEAN Mediation Programme (AMP), a joint initiative by the WIPO Singapore office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), will fund any mediation case involving an ASEAN national or entity from 3 July to 31 Dec 2023.
Under the AMP, up to SG$8000 will be available to resolve each dispute or negotiation, to be shared among relevant parties. The Singapore office of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre will provide mediation services. The mediation can be held online or in person anywhere, as long as a Singapore-based mediator is appointed. One caveat is that certain information including parties’ names will be made available on public records. However, details of settlement terms will remain confidential. This is to promote awareness of mediation’s advantages within the ASEAN business community.
WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre maintains a network of independent mediators and experts in Singapore specialising in non-litigious resolution of IP and technology disputes. AMP participation is a good opportunity both to draw on this resource and to defray the subsequent cost of mediation. Parties may bring to the table various types of disputes and disagreements, including those related to confidentiality, joint venture, R&D, distribution and franchising, data processing, domain names, digital copyright, IP licensing (e.g., trademarks, copyright, software and standard essential patents) and IP infringement. The goal is to arrive at mutually beneficial outcomes that will maintain amicable business relationships.
More details on the AMP can be found in the relevant WIPO circular. Parties in dispute before IPOS can also seek funding for mediation through the IPOS Revised Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (REMPS).