In a bid to encourage mediation to resolve intellectual property (IP) disputes, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has extended and enhanced its Mediation Promotion Scheme (Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (EMPS)) for three years from 1 April 2019.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method where an appointed neutral intermediary assists parties reach a mutually satisfactory settlement in a time-saving and cost-efficient manner. In contrast to litigation, parties have more control over the mediation process and any settlement will be recorded in an enforceable contract. The mediator is not empowered to impose a settlement on the parties and it is possible for a mediation to end without a settlement.
The EMPS is a funding scheme by IPOS which incentivises and encourages parties in IP disputes to consider mediation instead of hearings at IPOS. IPOS increased the funds available per mediation case under the EMPS from S$5,500 to S$10,000 (where the subject-matter is limited to IP rights in Singapore) or S$12,000 (where the subject-matter includes foreign IP rights), with each party receiving an equal share of the funding unless they agree otherwise. An overall sum of S$180,000 was set aside to support up to 15 cases for up to 3 years.
The parties in IP disputes can apply EMPS funding towards the following expenses, regardless of the mediation’s outcome:
To be eligible under the scheme, the parties must agree to:
In any event, parties must schedule their mediation session no later than 31 March 2022, or until the available funding is drawn down, whichever is earlier. It is thus advisable for parties to submit to mediation as soon as possible to be eligible under the EMPS.