IPOS concludes 1st successful multi-jurisdictional IP mediation with student mediator

16 December 2020

IPOS concludes 1st successful multi-jurisdictional IP mediation with student mediator

On October 30, 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) had its first successful multi-jurisdictional IP mediation which involved a law student under its Young IP Mediator (YIPM) initiative.

The mediation was administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) in Singapore.

Utsav Rakshit, the “Young IP Mediator,” is a final-year student at the National University School of Law. Rakshit served as a “shadow” mediator in a trademark dispute between beauty and supplement manufacturer Gromark Consumers Enterprise and GK Laboratory (Asia) which is in the business of health supplements and aesthetic, beauty products.

Both companies were incorporated in Singapore and their products are available locally and overseas including Japan and China.

Gromark opposed GK Laboratory’s application to register the mark “timeless tomato” in Classes 3, 5 and 35 (the goods mainly pertain to cosmetic preparations, nutritional supplements as well as retail / wholesale services relating to the same) as this will create confusion between its products and those of GK. Gromark’s “Crystal Tomato” brand of products is well-established. The company believed that the ensuing confusion will affect its “Crystal Tomato” label.   

Led by Andy Leck, a principal at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow LLC in Singapore, the mediation was successfully completed after only eight hours.

“I found the experience extremely meaningful as I gained much insight from observing Mr. Leck’s demeanour and choice of words, and personally seeing how Mr. Leck reframed matters, maintained neutrality, kept the parties on track and generated options during the entire process,” said Rakshit.

“I’m glad Utsav learnt a lot through his involvement as a shadow mediator and hope he will use his experience to inspire others to understand the importance and value of IP mediation and consider a career in mediation,” said Leck.

Launched during IP Week@SG on August 26, 2020, YIPM provides law students with the opportunity to take part in actual IP mediations and thus build up their capabilities as future lawyers.

“As effective mediation proceedings depend to a large extent on the quality of the mediator, we fully support IPOS’s new [YIPMI] to offer hands-on training and exposure to real mediation practice to motivated law graduates interested in mediation. We are delighted that a number of IPOS Young IP Mediators were able to shadow some WIPO mediations and we hope that this will contribute to further build IP mediation experience and awareness,” said Chiara Accornero, representative of WIPO Center in Singapore.

“We are delighted that our appointed Young IP Mediators have been offered hands-on induction and exposure to real mediation practice. This move is part of our continuous capability-building effort to raise the next generation of IP mediation expertise,” said Mark Lim, chief legal counsel and director of IPOS’s hearings and mediation department, “and it complements Singapore’s drive towards becoming a global IP dispute resolution hub.”

Aside from resolving the trademark issue in dispute, the mediation also addressed Gromark’s and GK Laboratory’s IP rights in other jurisdictions before new disputes crop up in the future.


Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Law firms

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