Ipos chief exec appointed head of global IP authority
Daren Tang is first Singaporean to helm a UN agency and Wipo's 1st Asian director-general.
Singapore's intellectual property chief has been appointed head of the global intellectual property office, becoming the first Singaporean to helm a United Nations agency.
Mr Daren Tang, 47, was made director-general of the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) yesterday. He is also Wipo's first Asian director-general.
The organisation is responsible for shaping global rules for intellectual property and oversees trademarks, designs and patents.
He will begin his six-year term on Oct 1 and will relinquish his role as the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) chief executive.
On March 4, the 83 members of the coordination committee of Wipo chose Mr Tang for the post of director-general over lawyer Wang Binying of China, by a vote of 55 to 28 in the final round of voting.
Mr Tang's appointment was approved yesterday at an extraordinary session of the Wipo General Assembly. This makes him the fifth Wipo director-general, succeeding Australian Francis Gurry, who held the post for 12 years.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Tang said that unilateralism and parochialism are threatening to undermine multilateral institutions and urged members to work together in a common global effort.
Laying out his plans for the agency, he stressed the need to build an inclusive, balanced, vibrant and forward-looking global intellectual property (IP) ecosystem. This would include giving more support to less developed countries, leveraging Wipo's IP data for policy insights, using IP to connect innovators and artists to markets and communities, and partnering international organisations seeking solutions to global challenges like climate change and public health.
President Halimah Yacob said in a Facebook post yesterday that the appointment is a recognition of Singapore's efforts in building a vibrant and robust IP ecosystem, which encourages innovation for the country's economic growth.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a Facebook post yesterday, said Covid-19 has thrown up new IP protection issues. "The right balance will have to be found between enabling discoverers and inventors to profit from their IP, and the public's interest in quick, affordable and desperately needed drugs, tests and treatments," he said.
Calling Mr Tang's appointment "a momentous occasion for Singapore", Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong said that during Mr Tang's term as Ipos chief executive, Singapore had risen through the ranks to become second-best globally and the top performing country in Asia in terms of IP protection, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.
"I wish Daren all the best in leading (Wipo) towards building a more vibrant IP community internationally," he said.
Ipos' board chairman, Dr Stanley Lai, added: "Having worked with him for several years, the board is certain that the global IP community will be served by a director-general who is exceptionally attuned to the interests of countries, economies, and also equipped with a deep understanding of IP and its forceful impact on innovation and global development, especially during these challenging times.
"These qualities will serve Wipo, her member states and the larger IP community well."
Having worked with (Mr Daren Tang) for several years, the board is certain that the global IP community will be served by a director-general who is exceptionally attuned to the interests of countries, economies, and also equipped with a deep understanding of IP and its forceful impact on innovation and global development, especially during these challenging times.
IPOS' BOARD CHAIRMAN STANLEY LAI
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