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Sinking Your Teeth into Bitcoin

Gregory Vijayendran and Ronald JJ Wong from the Commercial Litigation Practice wrote an article titled "Sinking Your Teeth Into Bitcoin", published in the May 2014 issue of The Singapore Law Gazette.

In the article, they begin by setting out a primer to Bitcoins, which is a nascent and novel form of cryptocurrency. They discuss plausible legal characterisations of this novel phenomenon from regulatory, intellectual property, contractual rights, choses in action and proprietary interest angles. Various plausible private law issues are then considered in the context of possible scenarios involving Bitcoin theft, insolvency of Bitcoin exchanges and defective Bitcoin transactions.

Their analysis traverses the laws of restitution, property, tracing and following, and the torts of conversion, unlawful means conspiracy and the causing loss by unlawful means. In the course of their analysis, they highlight a plethora of unsettled juridical and philosophical issues arising from the interface between the present state of the law and a novel phenomenon such as Bitcoin.

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Judging between Conflicting Expert Evidence – Understanding the Scientific Method and its Impact on Apprehending Expert Evidence

Ronald JJ Wong from the Commercial Litigation Practice authored an article, "Judging between Conflicting Expert Evidence – Understanding the Scientific Method and its Impact on Apprehending Expert Evidence" in the recent issue of the Singapore Academy of Law Journal [(2014) 26 SAcLJ 169-214].

He begins the article with a survey of historical developments in the philosophy of science and epistemology viz the scientific method, noting that most contemporary thinkers and scientists view the scientific method as social, contingent and debatable. Applying this to the way the law apprehends expert evidence (including evidence on fields of knowledge other than science), he sketches the relevant procedural rules and guidelines on the admissibility of expert evidence before setting out a taxonomy of four plausible categories of conflicts in expert evidence and the different approaches that the Singapore courts have taken in respect of such conflicts. He suggests that where there are conflicts over methodology or theory, the courts should consider whether there are demarcations of dominant and subordinate paradigms of methodology or theory and whether there is sufficient justificatory force in rebutting the dominant paradigm; where there is no clear dominant paradigm, the courts should rely on neutral reasoning processes such as the burden of proof to resolve evidentiary issues. He concludes by highlighting the case study of a recent Singapore High Court decision as an exemplification of the approach to conflicting expert evidence he had proposed in his article.

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Singapore's New IP Regime a Boost for Business

Lau Kok Keng, the head of the Firm's Intellectual Property Practice, wrote an article titled "Singapore's new IP Regime a boost for businesses" for the 20 June 2014 issue of The Business Times.

Kok Keng discussed Singapore's Intellectual Property Master Plan with focus on two of the three strategic outcomes set out in the Plan which are highly pertinent to businesses seeking to leverage IP for future growth. They are the establishment of a hub for "quality IP filings" and the setting up of a hub for "IP transactions and management". The first involves transforming Singapore's patent registration regime from a 'self-assessment' to a ‘positive assessment’ system. Unlike the 'self-assessment' system where the grant of patent application was not contingent upon the outcome of a substantive examination, the 'positive assessment' system only grants patent applications for inventions which have undergone a positive substantive examination. The second relates to IP financing scheme, which allows banks to accept IP assets as collaterals for bank loans. Both these key initiatives are inter-dependent.

He highlighted that the shift to a 'positive grant' system serves to strengthen and improve the quality of granted Singapore patents. This in turn offers opportunities to businesses holding such patents the chance to monetise their intangible business assets and qualify for the IP financing scheme. Given the significant impact an adverse substantive examination report can have on the value of a patent, Kok Keng advised applicants to proactively seek a positive substantive examination report during the application phase.

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Client Updates for June 2014

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Client Updates for May 2014

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