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YOU have a cool idea but do not know how to find that visionary investor to bankroll you.
Enter the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos), which launched matchmaking website Ideas2IP yesterday, hoping to spark off new, profitable ventures.
Ipos director-general Liew Woon Yin said the idea was born out of discussions between its officers and many 'man in the street' inventors during its events.
While many of these bright sparks have interesting ideas, most do not know who to turn to, to convert them into commercial products, she added.
This prompted the agency, charged with fostering innovation and respect for intellectual property (IP) here, to see how it could best help them.
After inventors sign up online - registration is free - they can submit their ideas to Ipos staff who check if there are already similar products and services.
If the idea is groundbreaking and offers commercial promise, Ipos will try to hook up the inventor with an investor, said Ms Liew.
So far, it has signed up one interested investor, Invention Capital, which specialises in high-tech sectors like artificial intelligence and cryptography. Investors sign up for free too.
Ipos is in the final stages of inking a deal with an investor keen on design and engineering inventions and is also in talks with those specialising in other areas, Ms Liew added.
Ipos will not take a cut from any successful matchmaking that leads to a product or service.
Asked what will prevent investors from stealing an inventor's idea, Ms Liew said only 'pre-qualified, credible' types will be invited to join its matchmaking service.
In addition, they will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement barring them from stealing the ideas themselves or sharing them with others.
So inventors can be assured that their ideas will be safe, said Ms Liew, adding that it was hoping to matchmake 'a few hundred' inventors with investors by year-end.
Besides the matchmaking service, announced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law Sim Ann at Ipos' 10th-anniversary celebration at Resorts World Sentosa, the agency has also come out with a new certification programme for those looking to work in the IP field.
Known as the IP Competency Framework, it will list the qualifications and skills IP professionals should possess, and how they can obtain them.
IP, said Ms Sim, is the 'currency of a knowledge-based economy'. 'New frontiers are opening up all the time. Platforms and channels through which content can be disseminated will only grow more varied and complex,' she added.
While Singapore has 'developed a strong IP regime that is conducive for innovation and investment' and also 'engendered greater awareness of the value of IP among Singaporeans and businesses in Singapore', it cannot afford to rest on its laurels or risk losing out to other economies.
Singapore 'must continue to stay nimble, respond intelligently to new developments, and take bold and creative steps to meet new challenges' like looking at better ways to enforce its IP regime and improve its laws.

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