Singapore, 12 November 2019 – The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) saw its first successful multi-jurisdictional IP mediation under the Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (EMPS), which was launched on 1 April 2019. The case involved a dispute over Singapore and foreign IP rights between an American company, Aftershokz, LLC and a Thai businessman, Mr Suravit Kongmebhol.
The dispute was resolved under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center, which has its only overseas office in Singapore.
Aftershokz, LLC and Mr Kongmebhol opted for mediation to resolve their disputes at IPOS over the registration of the marks “AfterSHOKZ”, “OPTISHOZ” as well as “SHOKZ”. Both parties further agreed to extend the scope of the mediation to foreign IP rights in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. The parties reached a win-win outcome after 19.5 hours of mediation, and ended with a settlement agreement after midnight into the next day. (See weblink for more details of the case)
Aftershokz与泰国商人Suravit Kongmebhol的纠纷涉及商标“AfterSHOKZ” ，“OPTISHOKZ”和“SHOKZ”，涉及“越南、印度尼西亚、菲律宾、新加坡，马来西亚和泰国”等6个东南亚国家。 经过19.5小时的调停，双方达成了双赢的结果，并在以和解协议告终。
Aftershokz was incorporated and founded in 2011. It is widely regarded as the global market leader in relation to bone conduction headphones. AfterShokz deploys bone conduction technology to transmit music directly from cheekbones to inner ears, thus bypassing the eardrum. This allows users to listen to tunes without tuning out to the rest of the world. Apart from headphones, AfterShokz also manufactures and sells a range of other accessories and related products, including without limitation portage storage cases, water bottles, sports towels and sports belts.
Alternative dispute resolution is becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses and individuals looking to resolve their disputes more effectively and satisfactorily. Mediation offers a more cost-effective and swifter option to resolving IP disputes globally and further helps maintain relationships between the parties.
Both parties expressed satisfaction with the process and its effectiveness. Mr Kongmebhol said: “I am very glad that mediation in Singapore has helped us resolve the existing disputes and achieved a win-win outcome for all parties.”IP Manager and Ms Daisy Gong, IP Consultant of Aftershokz, LLC said: “We are very satisfied with the mediation. The mediator was very professional and responsible, and made great efforts to ensure the success of the mediation. The professionalism and execution ability of our lawyers are extremely worthy of recognition and played a decisive role in the outcome of the mediation. The success of the mediation is very significant to us. Apart from settling existing disputes, the settlement ensured the protection of our company’s brand image and the rapid development of our business in Southeast Asia.”
Ms Joyce Tan , Managing Director of Joyce A. Tan & Partners LLC, also the mediator for the case, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for mediation to do its magic! The happy outcome for both disputants could not have been achieved through conventional contentious proceedings. It covered multiple forms of trade marks across different countries and resolved contentious proceedings pending in several jurisdictions. Parties were empowered to take a pragmatic and commercially meaningful approach to concluding the matter, and were able to move forward in their businesses with certainty on where they stood relative to each other.
Mr Mark Lim, Director of Hearings and Mediation Department in IPOS said: “With globalisation of trade and the increasingly international creation and exploitation of IP, disputes over IP rights often span multiple jurisdictions and involve sensitive information and dynamic relationships. This case is only one of others worldwide, where parties with IP issues were able to amicably resolve their differences through mediation. We are pleased that in this case, the parties, neither of whom are Singaporean, worked out an amicable settlement in Singapore for their IP rights in six ASEAN member states. To our knowledge, the EMPS is the first scheme in the world which directly reimburses parties’ mediation-related costs. Entrepreneurs and enterprises in Singapore, as well as foreign parties with disputes at IPOS can use this scheme for a business-oriented and cost-effective approach towards resolving their IP disputes globally.”
IPOS（新加坡知识产权聆讯与调解司司长）聆讯与调解部主任Mark Lim（林方前）表示：随着贸易的全球化以及知识产权的国际化，知识产权争议通常跨越多个辖区。EMPS是世界上第一个“调解补偿计划（给予调解双方一定金额的补偿）”。 新加坡的企业家和企业，以及在IPOS上有争议的外国各方，都可以通过调解计划来解决全球知识产权纠纷。
With Asia’s rise in innovation and the region accounting for more than two-thirds of global IP filing activity in 2018, Singapore embarked on legislative changes to its IP regime, providing innovation-driven enterprises with greater access to alternative routes for IP dispute resolution. In November 2017, the Mediation Act came into force, making it easier for mediated settlement agreements to be enforced, further advancing the attractiveness of mediation as a fair and cost-effective route. Singapore also led the Singapore Convention on Mediation, the first United Nations treaty to be named after Singapore, that provides a uniform international framework to enforce mediated agreements.