Category Archives: Singapore

Mindef Claims Inventor’s Patent is Invalid and Pushes Blame to Its Vendor

It was reported last week that Ministry of Defence (Mindef) was trying to force an inventor to give up the patent for his invention and to give it the Mindef. Mindef also wants the inventor to pay them S$580,000 in legal fees. 

But Mindef has come out against the claims. It made its rebuttal on the Facebook page of its online magazine CyberPioneer.

“It sounds like a great story, but all these accusations are false and baseless,” Mindef said.

Mindef also insists that the inventor, Dr Ting Choon Meng’s, patents are invalid.

“MINDEF did not infringe any patent as you can’t infringe a patent that was never valid in the first place.

“The Court has considered all factors and ruled that the patent is invalid.”

However, a commenter on CyberPioneer’s Facebook page said, “I’m pretty sure the patent was valid before the court ruling. At the very least, the patent is valid in 11 other countries.”

Indeed, Dr Ting had said told The Online Citizen previously that he and his partners had filed for patent rights in Australia, Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United States of America and Europe, as well as Singapore, and have gotten patents for them. 

Not only that, Ai Lin Lim-Eng also commented that, “At page 5-1, the tender document states that “Please be informed that the interested bidder shall have to complete a licensing agreement with Mobilestats (MS) before they can proceed. This is because the Singapore patent is still in force by MS.””

Mobilestats Technologies is the company that Mr Ting owns which holds the patent rights. But Mr Ting is now forced to sell off or close his company because of Mindef’s actions. 

Mindef also pushed the blame onto its vendors.

“Most importantly, MINDEF is just a buyer, not the manufacturer. If MobileStats believes it has a valid case, it should pursue the matter with the manufacturer, not the user.

“The case was actually a commercial dispute between MobileStats Technologies and Syntech Engineers, which supplied the mobile BCS to MINDEF.

“As the manufacturer of the mobile BCS, the supplier, not the consumer, is responsible for honouring valid patents.”

But Mr Ting had previously said that he had taken Mindef to court because “I can’t take it up with the vendor – they will just throw it back to Mindef, because they set out the tender. In any case, it was Mindef who drew up the specifications, they decided on the vehicle, so they should uphold the IP.”

But Mindef said: “All of MINDEF’s suppliers are required to uphold Intellectual Property laws and obtain the necessary licenses so that MINDEF is free to use the products that we have paid for.

However, one commenter called out Mindef’s contradictory claims.

“What about the other allegations such as the email about Mindef telling Syntech to screw the IP. Now they are claiming they have nothing to do with the manufacturer,” the commenter said.

Apparently, Syntech had once wanted to sent a letter to Mindef but accidentally addressed it to Mr Ting.

Syntech said: “We noted your concern with regards to the possible infringement of their patent rights under their SG Publication Number 113446. Together with our legal advisors, we have studied their patent design as compared to our Medical Shelter design submitted under Tender Ref No. 7108105610. We have conclude that there is no infringement of their patent rights. Moreover, we have also concluded that their patent lacked novelty and/or inventive step… As such, it will be very difficult for them to defend their patent rights.”

To Mr Ting, “It’s clear that Mindef is aware of potential infringement and had asked Syntech about it, but the company has decided not to obtain the IP license from us.” 

“Why did Mindef let that happen?” Mr Ting asked. 

“Instead, they have effectively decided that our IP can be contested. And this was after IPOS has certified the patent!”

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But Mindef continued to defend its actions. 

“MINDEF’s actions were correct and above board,” it said.

But perhaps what Mindef said next reveals why Mindef has taken such offensive actions against Mr Ting.

“All of MINDEF’s suppliers are required to uphold Intellectual Property laws and obtain the necessary licenses so that MINDEF is free to use the products that we have paid for.

Mindef also said, “$580K was the amount that the court decided MobileStats should reimburse MINDEF for our legal fees. Not a single cent will be kept by MINDEF. The money will go to Syntech, the BCS vendor, who honoured their legal obligation to MINDEF and bore the cost of the legal proceedings.”

However, one commenter noted: “I am not a lawyer, but if MINDEF’s claim is true, then this should be an open-and-shut case. It has not responded to MobileStats’ claims of feet dragging, explained how the case took so long to resolve and how it managed to spend more than half a million dollars defending itself.”

“This article is evasive on the dragging of the case,” another commenter, Kok Peng Chan, said.

Finally, EyKs Sim said, “Self contradicting responses, patent is valid in multiple countries before mindef infringed it. They should have challenged the patent to get it revoked before they start procurement. Are they the authority to decide if a patent is valid? No. And now they try to tell everyone the patent was never valid in the first place. ?.?

“So if Mindef were right, SCDF, IPOS, Minlaw and patent office from other countries were wrong. Probability of that? They still don’t have to balls to challenge IPOS to revoke the patent with the court papers.”

 

Singapore Dollar at Record High Against Malaysia Ringgit Traded at RM2.70 Today

The Singapore Dollar rose to record highs against the Malaysia Ringgit again today (Jan 20) with the Sing dollar trading at 2.70 ringgit briefly today.

The strong Sing dollar is helped by the weakening Ringgit as Malaysian PM Najib Razak just cut the country’s economic growth forecast for 2015 and noted that their budget deficit would be even larger than previously estimated.

At the end of the trading day today, the Sing Dollar was trading for 2.6827 ringgit up again from the 2.6773 that it was trading at the start of the day.

At one point during the day, it traded at RM 2.7019 around 5pm.

Malaysia has also been hit by the falling oil prices as it is a net exporter of oil.

The ringgit also fell against the US dollar with 1 USD trading at RM3.6153.

 

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10 Stupid Laws in Singapore

1. Chewing gum in MRT – if you chew gum in MRT you will be severly fine as some people jammed the gum on the door causing it to malfunction. Started by LKY almost 20 years ago and so far no one dares to over turn the mandate.

2. Drinking water in MRT- if you drink water in the train, you can be fined up to $500.

3. Town council bill default – you can go to jail if you owe too many months of town council bill. After discharge, still have to pay up – this despite the town council surplus has hit $2 billion and counting.

4. Maintenance default for divorced – if you default on two months of maintenance for your previous family, you can be hauled to court of which you can go to jail if you still refuse to pay.

5. Charging handphone at MRT station – if you charge your phone ilkegally at a MRT station socket, you can be fined in court. Someone was fined last year for doing that while she charged her phone in a MRT station power socket. Most rìdiculous and lacking in compassion.

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6. Drinking beer in public area – a absurd law is going to be passed that disallows beer drinking after 10.30pm in the public area. Shops are also banned from selling alcohol after that hour. Almost N Korea style minus the cold up north.

7. One-man protest is illegal – freedom of speech is so severely curtailed that you can’t make a political statement publicly and you can be hauled to court even if its done as a solo effort.

8. Criticism of political leaders – there is little tolerance when the public criticise political leaders openly. Lawsuits will be thrown at the offender. Defamation lawsuit is such a popular dirty word in Singapore nowadays. When they can’t defend themselves well enough, they will sue.

9. Non-schooling of children – you can be hauled to court if you don’t admit your school-going children to primary school education. However, so far, no one is publicly charged in court for that offence.

10. Fined for small mistake in accounting – this is applicable to opposition party MPs or activists who are scritinised for the simplest of mistakes in filing compulsory tax returns so that they can be hauled to court for mismanagement.

 

Gilbert Goh

*Article first appeared on https://www.facebook.com/goh.gilbert/posts/10153607593823975

 

Vivian Balakrishnan: We want the Govt to Have Access to All your Data

Minister in charge of the Smart Nation Programme, Vivian Balakrishnan, explained that the government is moving toward a more “open data architecture” where the government will have more access to your personal data.

The idea is part of the move towards a smart nation and it will mean that more data is available for verification with the government, the private sector and individuals.

Some of the data that could be synced includes income status, healthcare records, immigration records and more.

Other, less personal data is also aimed at being integrated where infrastructure monitors and sensors can be accessed to give more insights into planning.

Dr Balakrishnan gave an example of handling floods where sensors in drains can give simultaneous collection of data about drainage situations in various canals and storm water drains to determine where improvements could be made.

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However, it is clear that the open data policy is expected to include personal data too as Dr Balakrishnan also explained that it was about “openness, trust and sharing”. He said that the move was about a collective commitment to honesty and transparency.

Other data which may be consolidated and analysed by the government includes statistics and survey results.

While there may be benefits of such “open data”, there is also concerns about the privacy of Singaporeans.

If the plans go ahead, it could mean that all data given to government agencies could potentially be accessed by any other government agency without the further need for you consent.

For example, your income data from IRAS, healthcare status, CPF information and more could be access by any other body authorised to share this data.

DR Balakrishnan said that they are aware of this problem and they are looking at how to protect people’s data by anonymising the data

“We also have to be mindful that there are national security implications, and we have got to be very careful that you do not have sensitive data falling into the wrong hands,” he added. 

 

PM Lee: The Current Opposition in Parliament is Providing “Healthy” Checks and Balances

Responding to a question in an interview with Singapore media (14 Jan) on how he saw democracy here evolving over the next few decades amid calls for more political diversity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong believes that while politics in Singapore will not remain static, how it changes will depend on the voters and the way new People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs) and ministers bond with them. 

He also drew a comparison with Britain and the United States, where different regions are strongholds of competing political parties, and they tilt one way or the other but “never completely topple over”.

But in Singapore, he said: “We are flat. The tallest mountain in Singapore is Bukit Timah, so you make one small change, the sky can change. That is not a comfortable position to be in, but that is the way our society is and we have to know that.” 

When asked what he felt was a healthy version of checks and balances in Parliament, Mr Lee said voters should elect the best person to represent them.

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He elaborated that the system has made provisions that there will be different voices as there was no possibility of Parliament being all-PAP, with Non-Constituency and Nominated MPs.  

But voters should ensure those they elect are up to the mark. “A person who sits in Parliament and is not competent is not going to be a check on the Government. A person who can be in Parliament and can raise questions, ask and debate and intelligently question what is the Government doing and why are you doing this and not doing that – that is what you need when you are talking about checks and balances.”

*Article first appeared on https://www.reach.gov.sg/YourSay/DiscussionForum/tabid/101/mode/1/Defaul…

Khaw Boon Wan: We Plan to Continue Wasting Taxpayer Money on Gardens by the Bay

In Parliament, Workers’ Party’s NCMP Gerald Giam asked the Minister for National Development whether there were any plans to make Gardens by the Bay Self-Sustainable.

Khaw Boon Wan blankly replied no, Gardens By the Bay would continue to receive grants from the Government and there are absolutely no plans for it to be self-sustainable.

Khaw pointed out that 90% of the recreational space at Gardens by the Bay is Free to the public and it is actually a national public garden for Singaporeans to enjoy.

He said that “Since its opening, it has run a wide range of non-ticketed programmes and activities to reach out to our local community.”

Khaw Boon Wan said that the government gives grants to Gardens by the Bay to offset the operating expenses.

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Indeed, the cost of upkeep for Gardens by the Bay is actually huge.

The Gardens cost over $1 Billion to build and the yearly upkeep costs are over $53 Million.

Entry costs to the Super Trees’ tree-top walk is only about $20 per visitor and this is not even close to enough to cover the upkeep costs.

Khaw Boon Wan did not however explain how much revenue Gardens by the Bay was able to make. It is currently unknown just how much taxpayer money is spent to maintain this garden each year. 

 

Related:

$53 MILLION TO MAINTAIN GARDENS BY THE BAY EVERY YEAR?

KHAW BOON WAN: COST FOR GARDENS BY THE BAY WITHIN BUDGET

Khaw Boon Wan: HDB Continues to Lose Money Building HDB Flats for Singaporeans

Khaw Boon Wan, the Minister of National Development explained that HDB will continue to see a rising net deficit over the next few years.

He said that this was still due to the ramping up of supply of HDB flats since FY2013.

Khaw Boon Wan was responding to a question about the implications of the HDB’s deficit.

Minister Khaw again insisted that the government loses money when they sell HDB Flats to buyers.

He explained that the CPF housing grants are paid out by the government and the construction and land costs of the HDB flat are greater than the prices paid by buyers after grants.

He said that the Home Ownership Programme and the spike in supply and upgrading programs since 2013 has continued to make HDB’s deficit bigger.

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He did not indicate what would happen in the future or what HDB’s deficit meant.

While HDB may be making losses from the sale of flats, it is questionable whether this is still true for the government as a whole.

HDB pays for the construction costs, land and is responsible for housing grants and collects only the final price that flats are sold to buyers for.

While it may be true that the balance sheet for these transactions is negative, land is actually bought by HDB from the Singapore Land Authority, another government body.

What is the profit that the Singapore Land authority is making on the land sold to HDB? If this is deducted from HDB’s deficit, would HDB really still be making losses each year?

 

Islamic State Militants Demand $200 Million Ransom for Japanese Captives

The extremist Islamic State militant group on Tuesday demanded ransom for the release of two Japanese captives, the Associated Press reported. 

According to the AP, the group released a purported video online threatening to kill the Japanese hostages including Japanese journalist Haruna Yukawa within 74 hours unless a random of $200 million (around 23.6 billion yen) is paid.

In Tokyo, a Foreign Ministry source said Japan is aware of the information but is still trying to verify the ransom demand.

The prime minister’s office said it has set up a task force to deal with the latest information.

The other hostage in the video was identified as Kenji Goto Jogo, the AP said.

It is the first time the group has threatened Japanese captives. The group has beheaded other foreign hostages.

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Yukawa, 42, is believed to have been captured in Marea, about 30 kilometers north of Aleppo, on Aug. 14, 2014 by the Islamic State group when he was traveling with rebel fighters including those of the Islamic Front.

Yukawa, from Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, was reportedly captured when fighting broke out between the rebel fighters and the Islamic State extremists.

A video clip posted on the YouTube video-sharing service last year showed a man lying on his back on the ground with blood trickling down his face being questioned in English, at one point at knifepoint. He identifies himself as Haruna Yukawa and says he is from Japan.

Yukawa is repeatedly asked why he is carrying a gun and if he is a soldier. He says he is “no soldier” and that he is “half journalist, half doctor.” 

Source: AP

 

PM Lee’s Memory is Not Working

In what many would consider PM’s opening salvo in the GE campaign (though not me for the reasons stated here, I’ve changed my mind and think an election will be held next yr), our constructive, nation-building media, over the week end, carried reports of an iaudience  PM gave them.

Don’t know about you but lots of his comments upset me because they are self-serving rubbish that flies against the facts. As even thinking a lot  about them now gets my blood pressure into stroke territory, I’ll confine myself to commenting on a few of his commentss every day.

How not to depend on govt? 

PM said that S’poreans should only rely on the govt as a last resort: they should do things for themselves and not rely on govt.

Well when 37% of an ordinary working S’poreans’s monthly salary goes into his or hers CPF account, and the uses that the money, can be used is dictated by the govt, how not to depend on the govt?

And the high prices of private residential property (remember the state controls the supply of land) means that “affordable” public housing is the only option for S’poreans resulting in about 82% of S’poreans living in HDB flats. Again how not to depend on govt?

The govt designs the CPF system so that most S’poreans are dependent on the govt. So PM is at best being disengenous..

Electing gd MPs?

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He should the best check and balance to his govt is to elect gd MPs.

Seems he has forgotten that the GRC system forces us to select a team of MPs some of whom are problematic: think the eye doctor who looks down on people that are not paid well and Kate Spade Tin.

His advice is only applicable in SMCs., not GRCs. where voters have to take a team, and where one or two ministers always head the team.

Immigration woes our fault?

PM said he regrets the fact that “Singapore did not build up its infrastructure quickly enough in anticipation of a population growth driven mainly by an influx of foreign workers”

This is what someone posted on Facebook

Come on PM, It is NOT Spore..it is the Govt U led that COCK up..after all WHO approves the policies and are decision makers that allows foreign workers to “tsunami” in here..Sporeans arh? …so let call a spade a spade….Your Cabinet Team LOST the PLOT, so imo, the BUCK stops with U, PM. U cock up BIG TIME. Period.

If this is the opening barrage of the GE, PM is firing blanks, not facts.

 

Cynical Investor

*The writer blogs at https://atans1.wordpress.com/

 

Pope Defends Artificial Contraception, says Catholics Do Not Need to Breed like Rabbits

Pope Francis has said that good Catholics do not have to breed “like rabbits”, defending the Church’s stance on artificial contraception and appealing to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to practise responsible parenting.

Speaking to journalists on his flight back from the Philippines, the Pope said that he once asked a mother of seven children who was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans”.

“She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” the Pope said. “Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.”

Pope Francis said creating new life was “part of the sacrament of marriage” and in Manila strongly defended his predecessor Paul VI’s outlawing of artificial contraception for Catholics in 1968. Following the church’s teachings did not mean “Christians should have children one after the other”, he said.

His comments came at the end of a trip to the Philippines, the Catholic Church’s Asian stronghold, which last year passed a family planning law after a 15-year battle by the Church to block state-sanctioned contraception.

The law allows the government to begin distributing free contraceptives to millions of poor Filipinos.

It was a rare loss for the Church, which has for centuries been one of the nation’s most powerful institutions and continues to count more than 80 per cent of the nation’s 100 million people as Catholics.

The Pope said that his predecessor had foreseen the rise in policies restricting childbirth.

“Paul VI was worried by the growth of neo-Malthusianism” (which advocates restricting the number of children the poor can have) which tried “put a control on humanity… he was a prophet,” he said.

“The key teaching of the Church is responsible parenthood. And how do we get that? By dialogue. There are marriage groups in the Church, experts and pastors,” he added.

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In 2013, six months after becoming pope, Francis urged the Church to drop its “obsession” with contraception, divorce, gays and abortion, in an interview signalling a dramatic shift in the Vatican’s tone.

The Argentine Pope has brought a series of fresh perspectives to the notoriously rigid Church since he took over, signalling a strong reformist drive.

He stressed at the time that the Church’s official position had not changed, but said that it should “always keep in mind the individual”.

Pope Francis’ papacy – he is the first Jesuit pope and the first from South America – has marked a series of breaks with Vatican tradition.

The Pope has become known for his humility and concern for the poor, and has reached out to non-believers and those in other religions. He regularly picks up the phone to call ordinary people who write to him.

His latest comments are not the first this month to attract attention for their candour.

Last week when discussing the deadly attack by Islamist gunmen angered by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Prophet Muhammad, the Pope said: “If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched.”

Source: AFP