ISTMA 2021 Round-up

A YEAR IN REVIEW: What have we accomplished this year and what’s ahead for 2022?

Dear ISTMA Members

As 2021 draws to a close, I would like to share an update on our Institute’s activities this past year and what we can look forward to in 2022. Despite the on-going restrictions due to the pandemic, we have been able to deliver many of the planned activities as well as react to new challenges as an Institute. Here are some of the highlights.

The Register of Trade Mark Agents

One of the aims of our Institute is to establish and maintain a Register of Trade Mark Agents in Singapore. The work relating to this is in progress and all current members who renew in 2022 will be included on the Register of Trade Mark Agents having met the eligibility criteria at the time of applying for membership.  We will shortly introduce an ISTMA Code of Code for Registered Trade Mark Agents which will apply for all members listed as a Registered Trade Mark Agent.

ISTMA Updates

The ISTMA Secretariat regularly circulated new case authorities, IPOS Updates on case law, Practise Directions and Circulars. ISTMA Updates regularly include publicity and information for panel discussions and webinars hosted by our sister organisations such as WIPO, CITMA and the IP Academy as well as information on major events such as IP Week in August 2021 for which ISTMA is a proud sponsor.

Engagement with IPOS

In August 2021, we submitted a six-page paper on the Public Consultation IP Amendment Bill, addressing specific issues relating changes in trade mark examination procedure. Thank you to all members who participated in providing their feedback.

We hosted the first ISTMA-IPOS Online Dialogue on 29th October 2021 which was attended by a majority of our members. We can all agree it was nice to see so many of the examiners from IPOS in attendance and to have a fruitful interactive session. Some of the issues discussed included the examination of slogan trade marks, absolute ground objections, the reliance of foreign precedents, best practices for addressing specification objections and future plans to integrate AI into the trade mark examination process. Thank you to all members who put forward their questions and participated in the Dialogue.

It is ISTMA’s objective that we use the Dialogue to create a friendly working understanding between trade mark agents and examiners and also as a platform where we can speak frankly about common problems. We hope to make the ISTMA-IPOS Dialogue a regular event.

We also plan to organise a similar Dialogue with the Hearing & Mediation Division of IPOS to discuss best practices in inter partes proceedings.

Webinars with WIPO & CITMA

We had a joint webinar with WIPO on 16th March 2021 on updates for Madrid Protocol filings and resolving disputes using WIPO services. This was our first ever webinar offered to ISTMA members. Mr. Peter Wilmott, Ms. Chiara Accornero and Ms. Aurea Plana provided some useful tips for navigating the Madrid Protocol system.

We also hosted a webinar for CITMA on the 13th of April 2021. It was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to CITMA’s Council, Ms. Tania Clark and Ms. Kate O’Rourke. Ms. Clark and Ms. O’Rourke provided their insights on Brexit and impact of Trade Marks in the EU & the UK through clear and succinct presentations on the trade mark law post-Brexit.

2022 Events

As with 2021, we plan to provide a rich programme of events for 2022. While our online meetings and webinars will continue, we are also extremely keen to see members in-person and I am sure you are keen to see each other once again.

We plan to continue working with IPOS, WIPO and CITMA on future content for webinars. If you have any specific topics you would find useful as a subject for a webinar, do let the ISTMA Secretariat know! We are open to suggestions!

National Liaisons & Partnerships

We are working on new publicity initiatives with the Ministry of Law and the Law Society of Singapore to enhance our recognition with these bodies.

 We will also work on a plan to align our Institute with recent government initiatives such as the Singapore IP Strategy (SIPS) 2030 which is a national strategy that supports enterprises and the wider innovation community and IP Grow, an initiative by IPOS International to bring together IP-related service providers and innovators across ASEAN for information exchange, networking and collaboration opportunities.

International Liaisons & Partnerships

In January 2021, we wrote to IP associations in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia to introduce our Institute. We also engaged with Marques in April 2021 to introduce ourselves with a view to jointly work with them on future collaborations for a webinar. We plan to continue this outreach programme and hope to have further meetings in the new year with other organisations we have approached.

Membership Renewals

We will shortly launch our 2022 membership renewal.  A notice will be sent to each of you to advise you of the subscription fee for 2022 and invite you/your firm to pay. Please lookout for the official communication and please note that the deadline for payments will be 31 December 2021 but as ever, we welcome earlier renewal payments! If you have any queries regarding your membership or the renewal notice, please contact

There is a lot of work ahead and many opportunities to enhance our visibility and impact as an association. I wish to thank our Council Members who have worked so very hard on our webinars and outreach programmes this past year. As an Institute which first launched in August 2019, we are certainly going places and this is down to the hard work and dedication of our team of ten. Likewise, we are grateful to you, our members, for your participation in ISTMA’s initiatives and for being so supportive this past year.

Finally, wish you all a safe and wonderful time over the festive period. Merry Christmas and a very happy 2022 ahead!

Yours sincerely,

Murgiana Haq

President, ISTMA