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New tie-up to promote mediation for intellectual property, tech disputes

THE Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) is collaborating with the World Intellectual Property Organization's Arbitration and Mediation Center (Wipo Center) to promote the use of international mediation in the intellectual property (IP) and technology sector.

The two centres will partner on areas of common interest, such as case administration and raising awareness of mediation as an important tool to resolve cross-border IP and technology-related disputes.

The "novel tie-up" responds to the urgent need to address the numerous forms of disputes that have emerged in the sector due to the pervasiveness of technology, SIMC said in a press statement on Monday.

Such disagreements relate to IP, licensing, franchising and distribution agreements, research and development, technology transfer agreements and more.

Many of these disputes arise in Asia and are often of high risk and high value, SIMC noted.

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The Singapore centre added that it will "explore synergies" with Wipo Center, which is a specialised agency of the United Nations, to address the negative impact of such disputes.

SIMC chairman George Lim SC said: "We can expect IP and tech-related disputes to grow, given the internationalisation of IP creation and exploitation, and cross-border regulatory issues."

Mediation is a means of dispute resolution as an alternative to court litigation. It is an amicable process that looks to preserve relationships despite the disagreements, and business users may opt for it due to the confidentiality, cost savings, speed and neutrality, according to SIMC.

Mr Lim noted: "Finding all-rounded solutions that make commercial sense is a key feature of mediation. This minimises delays and protects long-term, multi-party relations that are typical of many high-value technology projects."

At least seven in 10 disputes at Wipo Center and SIMC are settled.

Ignacio de Castro, director of the IP disputes and external relations division at the Wipo Center, said that parties in Wipo mediations have achieved an 85.7 per cent settlement rate so far this year, thanks to the work of its mediators and the increased use of free online tools.

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