ISTMA President’s Report 2020

Presented at ISTMA’s Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) on 30th March 2021 via Zoom

Murgiana Haq
Murgiana Haq

President, ISTMA

Our first Council was formed on 31 August 2020 as our General Elections was postponed to that date due to the Pandemic restrictions. The Council for 2020-2022 comprises of the following Councillors who were elected unopposed on 31 August 2020.

  • Murgiana Haq – President
  • Moi Sok Ling – Vice President
  • Tasneem Haq – Secretary
  • Catherine Lee – Treasurer


  • Lim Ai Ming
  • Jo-Ann See
  • Tan Kee Leng
  • Soh Kar Liang
  • Boo Yee Swan
  • Yvonne Tan

It has been only 7 months since the first Council was formed, and our Council held meetings every 5 weeks. To date we held 5 Council meetings via ZOOM. At the first Council Meeting we formed the following Committees:

  • Capability development /Education & Training
  • Membership and Media
  • Professional issues and Ethics

The Membership and Media Committee launched a membership drive by inviting IP practitioners, in particular those who were invited to our inaugural launch, to join our Institute.

To facilitate members to get to know each other better, a “Getting to Know You” campaign was launched in which members are invited to share lighted hearted or interesting snippets about him / herself. We received positive responses and accordingly got to know some members better as these insights did put a personal touch to their names. The membership drive and the campaign are still on-going and I do encourage members to participate so that we may get to know you better.

The Professional issues and Ethics Committee started their program by first initiating an introductory meeting with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”). The meeting was held virtually via Zoom on the 28th October with the IPOS CEO Rena Lee and 5 other officers. We introduced our Institute and our objectives and explored areas in which we could collaborate with IPOS and also touched on the subject of regulating the trade mark profession by legislation or under an accreditation scheme. IPOS wanted to know more about an accreditation scheme and we are working on an accreditation framework to discuss with IPOS as a possibility as well as the legislation involved.

We also sent introductory letters to sister organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. We look forward to collaborating with them on matters of mutual interest.

The Capability Development /Education and Training Committee embarked on their work and started to arrange webinars. The first webinar was held on 16 March 2021 jointly with WIPO on “Updates of the Madrid system and resolving disputes using WIPO services”. We hope to continue our collaboration with WIPO with successive webinars, possibly for in- depth sessions such as common mistakes in completing the Madrid Application forms and another webinar to walk us step by step through WIPO mediation and arbitration. In this way, we hope to get wider participation by reaching out to paralegals, trade mark executives and lawyers. Council will be discussing these potential topics in detail in forthcoming meetings. Our special thanks to Yee Swan and her team for their hard work in holding this webinar.

Our next webinar with the Chartered Institute of TM agents (CITMA), UK is on 13 April 2021 and is arranged by Kee Leng and her team The topic is on the impact of BREXIT on trade marks in the EU and UK .This webinar is especially important for members with clients who own CTM registrations before 31 Dec 2020 to know the standards UK Trade Mark Office will apply now that they are out of the EU. Going forward, we hope to have an insight as to the English Courts treatment of EU trade mark principles post BREXIT. I strongly encourage you to join this webinar on the 13th of April 2021.
On 25th and 26th of March 2021, I had the pleasure to join CITMA’s Spring Meeting as an invited guest. It was an interesting two-day event covering a variety of topics, such as exhaustion of rights after Brexit, UK case law updates, what’s new in the Madrid system and a look at a post Brexit future. CITMA created a virtual Conference and the technology utilised using avatars was fascinating.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to all Councillors for their dedication and hard work in discharging their responsibilities. All our Councillors have demonstrated remarkable team spirit.

For the information of our members our Council is very much a DIY team. Despite our full-time work, we did everything ourselves, such as creating our website and maintaining it with regular news. My special thanks go to Soh Kar Liang for his techy skills in creating and maintaining our beautiful website, our Secretary Tasneem for her devotion to communicating with all members and keeping you updated and Treasurer Catherine for her diligence in keeping our finances healthy. All our Councillors have gone the extra mile to make our Institute a vibrant one. I am honoured to have such a great team and I enjoy working with each of them.

Finally, I thank our fellow members for your support and I do encourage your active participation, feedback and suggestions to help us develop our Institute into a vibrant and relevant one.

31 March 2021