SE Asia landmark IP mediation
WIPO and Singapore's IP office (IPOS) launched a special IP mediation service earlier this year, called the Enhanced Mediation Promotion Scheme (EMPS). A development of a previous mediation service, it is intended to be low and subsidized cost, efficient and crucially, to cover non Singapore IP disputes.
A dispute between US bone conducting headphones company Aftershokx and a Thai trader called Suravit Kongmebhol was conducted through the EMPS recently. The dispute was a trademark conflict between the US company’s trademark rights and Kongmebhol’s registrations in six SE Asian countries.
After a mediator was agreed the parties had several days of mediation, then reached a resolution. WIPO and IPOS have stressed the low mediation cost (due to its subsidy), the lack of wasted legal fees, and avoiding years of litigation delay (in six countries). It was also unique in replacing multiple national proceedings. The exact settlement was not disclosed, but positive press coverage suggests it could be a useful system for other regional IP disputes.