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Compulsory Licenses in Singapore

Compulsory licenses are "involuntary contracts between a willing buyer and an unwilling seller imposed or enforced by the state." Compulsory licenses are basically the abrogation of an IP right - an extra-ordinary legal instrument whereby the State allows itself or third party (typically the competitor) to have access to, produce, use or sell the IP protected product or process without the consent of the IP owner. Such mandatory and involuntary licenses as compelled by law may be granted with respect to patents, copyrighted works or other exclusive rights.
Governments issue compulsory licenses to broaden access to technologies and information and to achieve a number of public purposes. It is an essential government instrument to intervene in the market and limit patent and other intellectual property rights in order to correct market failures. At present Compulsory Licenses are accepted Internationally and countries have the right to issue compulsory licenses on patents and copyrights. The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property plainly states "each country of the Union shall have the right to take legislative measures providing for the grant of compulsory licenses to prevent the abuses which might result from the exercise of the exclusive rights conferred by the patent, for example, failure to work."
The World Trade Organization provisions on intellectual property are contained in the agreement on trade related aspects of intellectual property, known as TRIPS. The TRIPS provides for compulsory licenses of patents in Article 31, but also provides a number of restrictions on the use of compulsory licenses. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has its own provisions for compulsory licensing of patents, which are somewhat more restrictive than those in the TRIPS
  • Certain types of businesses require a special license before they can operate. Some e.g. s are Private schools, video companies, travel agencies, liquor distributors, moneylenders, banks and childcare centers are some examples.
  • The application for the Compulsory License can be made at the time of registering the business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • In such cases, it may take between 14 days - 2 months to get all the necessary licenses, permits and approvals to form your business.

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