Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) received a boost today when it was granted Plant Varieties Protection (PVP) for Temasek Rice by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
The PVP distinguishes Temasek Rice – a “bred in Singapore” rice variety – from more than 40,000 varieties of the Oryza sativa species globally. A top quality, non-genetically modified rice variety, Temasek Rice is highly aromatic and produces more yield than its original variety. It also has unique characteristics, including stronger resistance against bacterial and fungal diseases, as well as extreme weather conditions.
Temasek Rice has already obtained patent and trade mark protection for the technology related to the cultivation of the rice as well as of the “Temasek Rice” brand.
The PVP will give breeders and institutes such as TLL up to 25 years of exclusive control over the production, reproduction, sale, import and export of Temasek Rice. Together with patent protection for the technology related to the development of this particular rice variety and trademark protection for the “Temasek Rice” brand, the PVP will provide TLL with an even stronger position to protect its innovative rice variety, find partners with greater confidence and potentially enter over 70 overseas markets including China, the US and Vietnam. This will support Singapore’s vision of becoming a leading urban agriculture and aquaculture technology hub with a food production model that can be exported to the region.
Fuelled by new innovations in processes and products, the food and agri-tech sector has grown rapidly, and is estimated at US$5 trillion globally. Singapore’s food and agri-tech sector is also on an upward trajectory, receiving US$84 million in investments last year, marking a significant year-on-year increase of 82%. The Singapore government has also recognised the importance of innovation in the sector, pledging US$105 million towards food research in an update to the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan. Underpinning the innovation ecosystem, Singapore’s robust IP regime supports the national ambition to strengthen the infrastructure for agri-tech innovation.
Demand for IP protection of plant varieties has increased globally in tandem with worldwide investment into the agri-tech sector, where PVP applications swelled 11.7% in 2017 – the largest growth seen in 15 years. To position Singapore for the opportunity in the global agricultural market, IPOS has strengthened its in-house plant varieties examination capability to support innovative agri-tech enterprises using IP and other intangible assets to expand overseas.
Daren Tang (邓鸿森), Chief Executive of IPOS (新加坡知识产权局局长), said: “One of the promising areas of growth for Singapore is in agri-tech and urban farming. Our land-scarce and highly urbanised environment, together with our strong IP regime and government support, provides the right environment for innovative approaches and solutions in these sectors. Plant Varieties Protection is still relatively unknown and untapped in Singapore, but will help encourage innovative agri-tech enterprises and breeders to develop new plant breeds that will address local needs, as well as use Singapore as a hub to enter into other markets.”
Peter Chia (谢龙民), Chief Executive Officer (首席执行长兼董事) of TLL (淡马锡生命科学研究院), said: “The need to produce food sustainably for an ever growing and demanding consumer base in Asia drives the scientists in TLL to work with farmers, regulators and business enterprises to come up with new knowledge and innovative solutions to address productivity issues that often plague agriculture. The Plant Varieties Protection accorded to Temasek Rice is a strong recognition of the innovation that has gone into the development of the Temasek Rice and forms a critical part of our rice IP portfolio. It also helps to strengthen our belief that Singapore, with its strong IP regime, can and will play an increasingly important role in helping to address global food security challenges.”
 Source: Ricepedia by the International Rice Research Institute, AfricaRice and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture
 There are other benefits for PVP protection. Refer to IPOS website for details.
 Source: The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). As of 14 February 2019, there are 75 members in UPOV.
 Source: AgFunder AgriFood Tech Investing Report by AgFunder
 Source: National Research Foundation
 Source: World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 by WIPO