a file with the word patent on it

Faster patent approvals can drive faster innovations in the region. Source: Shutterstock

How Singapore’s fast-track patents will help fintech innovations

IT TAKES a lot of hard work for a product to go from an idea to a reality. However, if someone steals your efforts and claims it as their own, that becomes money in other people’s pockets.

Applying for a patent can protect you against idea thefts, except the process can take up to two years. That is lost time that you could’ve used to engage with your customers.

Singapore introduced faster approvals for fintech patents just over a month ago, which will help remove these kinds of roadblocks.

Under the Fintech Fast Track (FTFT) initiative, patents can be granted in six months. This will encourage faster innovations, as businesses can bring their products to market more quickly.

Patents are important because it ensures users maintain the rights to their innovations while preventing others from exploiting them.

Unlike copyright, which in the case of software protects the code itself, patents protect the concept or functionality available on the software.

This means that a third party who replicate a similar function, even if using a totally different set of code, would be in violation of your patent. Patents tend to last for 20 years from the date of filing.

For businesses, this is crucial for distinguishing your offerings from others. If you are selling a piece of software or a service with a particularly unique feature, patents prevent other companies from copying it.

Currently, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is only opening FTFT for 12 months starting April 26.

It will accept innovations related to electronic payments, investment platforms, insurance technology, blockchain, banking, security, fraud, and authentication, among others.

In the Southeast Asian region, the growth of fintech companies is in line with the region’s appetite for going cashless. Singapore itself is a top ranking fintech hub, as identified in the 2018 IFZ Global FinTech Rankings by Thomson Reuters.

Singapore itself has also been investing in fintech innovations. The Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS) poured US$169.8 million into the industry through the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme.

For Singapore to roll out FTFT, this will encourage faster innovation within the region, enabling users to enjoy more convenience in using financial services