IP in the Cloud: the China Perspective
Oct24

IP in the Cloud: the China Perspective

China is in the middle of a rapid shift towards cloud technologies. Execution of the 13th Five Year Plan will deliver substantial investment into cloud computing and the sector is undergoing unprecedented growth. Meanwhile, organisations operating in this digital economy face an increasingly complex intellectual property (IP) environment, as China becomes a global IP centre and scales up IP protection, enforcement and penalties for infringement. Indeed, the number of cloud-related IP lawsuits in China grew 158% between 2011 and 2016. Against this backdrop, organisations face an important question: how can they take advantage of the enormous opportunities presented by the cloud in a way that manages this complex IP landscape? In this post, Matt Pollins and Nick Beckett from CMS look at the practical steps organisations can take to protect themselves and succeed in the cloud. China’s “Internet Plus” economy and the role of cloud computing China is undergoing a rapid digital transformation. The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is well underway, as the Government’s “Internet Plus” initiative sees the integration of digital technologies into organisations in every industry across the nation. The 13th Five Year Plan, which prioritises digital technologies and innovations, is the driving force of this digital transformation. As part of the Plan, China’s broadband coverage will reach 70% of households by 2020. Mobile internet will reach around 85% of the population, adding a staggering 400 million additional internet users. Against these seismic shifts in technology development and adoption, the opportunity for organisations to leverage digital technologies to drive growth and improve services is clear – whether it is the shift towards cashless payments, the growth of tele-health or the explosion in e-commerce sales. And, not content with maximising the opportunities arising from growth in the domestic market, Chinese companies are going global, launching international enterprises, from e-commerce to digital media. At the core of China’s digital transformation is cloud computing. The sector has grown an average of 40% year-on-year since 2011 and there is no sign of the pace of cloud adoption slowing. China’s digital economy is being built on cloud services, often provided by third party cloud service providers. The cloud offers the opportunity to expand into new businesses and markets faster than ever before. However, this new opportunity comes with new challenges and, like every transaction with a supplier, customers need to assess any associated legal considerations. Like our previous posts on the position in Europe and South-East Asia, this post focuses on an often-overlooked legal consideration in moving to the cloud: IP. “Infringers will pay a heavy price”: China ramps up IP protection and enforcement China is fast becoming a global centre of innovation....

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The Hotel of the Future: Legal Considerations in Hotel Innovation
Oct17

The Hotel of the Future: Legal Considerations in Hotel Innovation

Imagine having your luggage checked straight to your hotel as you alight from your plane, and the next time you see it will be in your hotel room. Lugging of bags from the airport to the hotel may become a thing of the past. Or imagine using your phone to access your room as well as attractions, instead of having to juggle multiple access cards and tickets. This “Hotel of the Future” may soon be a reality, if the recommendations of Singapore’s Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC) are followed. The HIC was formed in February 2016 to oversee the industry’s adoption of innovative solutions, following the recommendations of the Hotel Industry Expert Panel Report. The HIC has released its Best Practices Guide for Hotels in July 2017, and they are currently evaluating submissions received for the Tourism Innovation Challenge for Hotels, a crowd-sourcing pitch exercise. In this post, we look at the opportunities that these developments bring for the hotel industry and comment on some of the key legal considerations for the “Hotel of the Future”, mapped to some of the HIC’s recommendations. The innovation opportunity The hotel sector is well positioned to reap the benefits that technology may bring, driven by rising demand from increasingly sophisticated travellers, and greater applicability of technology in providing a more seamless experience. Innovation will be fundamental in transforming the hotel sector towards productivity driven growth. This is especially important in light of the increased competition as seen in the rise in the number of hotel rooms in Singapore in recent years. Between 2012 and 2016, total available room nights rose by nearly 30% from 12,477,908 in 2012 to 16,161,862 in 2016, which dampened revenue by approximately 12% (average revenue per available room dropped from $226 in 2012 to $198.8 in 2016). Key legal considerations 1. Privacy and data protection – Responsible collection and usage of information As guests connect via a growing number of digital touchpoints, hotels will generate and collect more data than ever before, whether via wearable technology (for in-house payments, room access and even entry to attractions), targeted marketing (such as providing tailored sightseeing recommendations) or loyalty programmes. With all of this data comes the obligation to comply with data protection laws – including, in particular, the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Organisations need to have robust processes and systems in place. Not only is compliance a legal requirement but it is also good business practice. Taking steps such as being transparent about data collection practices, obtaining appropriate consents and keeping data secure will be key to building a trusted relationship with guests in the Hotel of the Future. Our...

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New opportunity for Singapore banks: MAS expands scope of permissible activities
Oct10

New opportunity for Singapore banks: MAS expands scope of permissible activities

On 29 September 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a public consultation paper to relax the anti-commingling rules for banks. This is a follow-up from the Minister for Finance’s announcement in June 2017 that these rules will be further adjusted. See our previous post on the announcement here. Since the introduction of the prohibition on banks to carry out non-financial businesses more than a decade ago (the anti-commingling rules), the banking landscape has evolved. Technological advancements have disrupted traditional banking business models. Today, consumers can access financial and related non-financial services seamlessly. Banks are also facing competition from non-financial players who are leveraging their large user bases to provide e-payments and other financial services. MAS acknowledges this new environment, and recognises that the anti-commingling rules can be simplified and adjusted. MAS’s proposals will allow banks to broaden and better integrate their financial services. Crucially, the adjusted rules will continue to ensure that banks remain focused on their core banking business and competencies, and avoid potential contagion from the conduct of non-financial businesses (the core policy objectives). The following are the key proposals under this public consultation paper: Streamlining the conditions to carry out non-financial businesses. Currently, banks are allowed to carry out non-financial businesses, but only upon compliance with certain minimum requirements. These requirements are onerous and include the requirement to obtain prior approval from the banks’ parent supervisory authorities. MAS proposes to simplify the rules by removing this requirement, subject to certain conditions. The primary condition is that the aggregate size of all non-financial businesses cannot exceed 10% of the bank’s capital funds. This is to limit contagion risks and ensure that banks remain focused on their core financial business. Broadening the scope of permissible non-financial businesses. MAS acknowledges that the online purchase of goods and services and the use of e-payment services are becoming increasingly integrated. Many non-financial entities are also starting to deliver financial services through their online platforms. MAS proposes to broaden the scope of permissible non-financial businesses to enable banks to better compete against such non-financial players in this new digital economy. The proposal allows banks to engage in: (i) operating online platforms that match buyers and sellers of consumer goods or services; (ii) sale of consumer goods or services via online platforms; and (iii) any business incidental to (i) and (ii) including the provision of logistic services to deliver goods to consumers. MAS also proposes to allow banks to engage in: (i) sale of software or systems originally developed by the bank for its financial business; and (ii) entering into tie-ups to sell or provide products or services (which the counterparty...

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3 Things you need to know about Singapore’s proposed changes to Data Protection
Jul31

3 Things you need to know about Singapore’s proposed changes to Data Protection

On 27 July 2017, the Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore (PDPC) issued a public consultation paper on managing personal data in the digital economy. The consultation paper seeks to greater facilitate the use of personal data in the digital economy through changes to the consent requirements and at the same time seeks to ensure that security standards are uplifted through the introduction of mandatory breach notification. The consultation paper is a step in the right direction for Singapore on its Smart Nation journey given the importance of data analytics in the digital economy, whilst the mandatory breach notification provisions align the Singapore data protection regime with that of Singapore’s draft Cybersecurity Bill which was recently introduced. The consultation paper demonstrates that the PDPC recognises the importance of data for innovation and growth, and has proposed changes to ensure the regulatory environment keeps pace with evolving technology in enabling innovation, while ensuring effective protection for individuals’ personal data in the changing landscape. The following are the 3 key things you need to know about the PDPC’s proposed changes: Notification of purpose can be sufficient. Although the PDPC proposes that organisations should still seek consent for collecting, using and disclosing personal data where practicable, it recognises the need to cater to circumstances where consent is not feasible or desirable, and where the collection, use or disclosure would benefit the public. The PDPC recommends that notifying individuals of the purpose can be sufficient where: (i) it is impractical to obtain consent (and deemed consent does not apply); and (ii) the collection, use or disclosure of personal data is not expected to have any adverse impact on individuals. However, when using this exception, organisations have to conduct a risk and impact assessment and put in place measures to identify and mitigate the risks that may arise. Consent (or notification) not needed where it is for a legitimate purpose. Under the current personal data protection regime, except for where an exemption applies, organisations are not allowed to collect, use or disclose personal data without consent even for a legitimate purpose if this is not expressly provided for or required under any written law (e.g. the sharing and use of personal data to detect and prevent fraudulent activities). As such, the PDPC proposes to update the law so that organisations will be able to collect, use or disclose personal data without consent where: (i) it is not desirable or appropriate to obtain consent; and (ii) the benefits to the public clearly outweigh any adverse or risks to the individual. Again, when relying on this exception, organisations have to conduct a risk and impact assessment...

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Introducing Singapore’s new draft Cybersecurity Bill
Jul12

Introducing Singapore’s new draft Cybersecurity Bill

On 10 July 2017, Singapore’s long-awaited draft Cybersecurity Bill was introduced. This is a timely development, especially in view of recent cybersecurity attacks such as the Advanced Persistent Threat attacks targeting two of Singapore’s universities and the global WannaCry and Petya / Petna malware attacks. As a small and highly connected nation, Singapore is dependent on info-communications technology, and cybersecurity threats need to be taken seriously. Attacks on critical information infrastructure (CII) systems that manage utilities, healthcare, transportation and other essential services can lead to disruptions that can cripple Singapore’s economy and lead to loss of life. Even though the current Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) already has some provisions on cybersecurity, it primarily concerns cybercrime such as e-commerce scams and hacking. This draft Cybersecurity Bill caters more broadly to the security of a computer or computer system against unauthorised access or malicious acts, to preserve their availability and integrity, or the confidentiality of information stored or processed in them. The intention behind the draft Cybersecurity Bill is to have a coordinated national approach to cybersecurity, and ensure that CIIs across all sectors are protected consistently. Its provisions will apply equally to both public and private sectors. The following are the key provisions under the draft Cybersecurity Bill: Appointment of Commissioner and Powers. The powers of the Cybersecurity Bill will vest in the Commissioner of Cybersecurity, who has various functions including the overseeing and maintenance of cybersecurity in Singapore. Critical Information Infrastructure. CIIs are computers or computer systems that are necessary for the continuous delivery of essential services that Singapore relies on, the loss or compromise of which will lead to a debilitating impact on national security, defence, foreign relations, economy, public health, public safety or public order of Singapore. Currently, essential services have been identified in 11 sectors, including utilities, banking and finance, media, info-communications, healthcare and transportation. The owners of CIIs, which are defined as persons with, amongst others, effective control over the operations of the CII, have certain statutory duties, including the duty to comply with codes and directions, to conduct audits and risk assessments, to report cybersecurity incidents including any incident that occurs in respect of the CII and any incident that occurs in respect of any computer or computer system under the owner’s control that is interconnected with or communicates with the CII, and to participate in cybersecurity exercises. Responses to Cybersecurity Threats and Incidents. If there is a cybersecurity threat or incident, the Commissioner can choose to investigate it in order to determine its impact, to prevent further harm and to prevent further incidents. These investigative powers can be delegated to authorised...

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Next step in Singapore’s payments journey
Jul03

Next step in Singapore’s payments journey

As Singapore moves towards a Smart Nation and a cashless society, our electronic payments system has also developed to allow consumers to send and receive money easily. The most recent development in this journey is PayNow, which allows bank customers to transfer funds using only the recipient’s mobile number or Singapore NRIC/FIN. Technology has transformed the way Singaporeans use financial services, and surveys show that 94% of Singaporeans have used mobile and internet banking to access their bank accounts. In addition, one in five consumers in South-East Asia use digital wallets, with Singapore being the top adopter in the region. Electronic payments are becoming more common, and Unified Point-of-Sale (UPOS) terminals are being used at major supermarkets across Singapore. Even traditionally cash-based hawker centres are catching up to this trend, and some are undergoing a trial to accept contactless cards or QR codes which customers can scan with their phones to make payments. MAS is also reviewing the regulatory framework for payments, and it recently proposed an activity-based regulatory regime for payments that will align requirements to the specific payment activities undertaken by businesses. It will be interesting to see how new developments such as PayNow will shape the industry feedback MAS receives on this proposal as well as the second round of public consultation. In addition, stakeholders in the payments ecosystem also have the opportunity to chart Singapore’s epayments journey, as MAS has also established a Payments Council under its leadership, which will function as a forum for the payments industry and businesses to discuss payment strategies and cross-cutting issues, and promote inter-operable payment solutions. With the recent launch of PayNow, transferring funds is not only fast and secure, but also convenient and efficient. PayNow rides on existing infrastructure used by Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST), which allows customers of 19 participating banks to make interbank fund transfers almost immediately and at no cost. Before PayNow, under FAST, transferring funds was almost immediate, but transferors need to know the recipient’s bank and account number. There is also no need for PayNow users to have a mobile wallet, which is required by existing solutions such as DBS’ PayLah!. Looking ahead, PayNow will soon also be introduced for transactions between individuals and businesses, and there is also potential for it to be implemented across South-East Asia. Making payments convenient, fast and secure is a key component in Singapore’s goal to become a Smart Nation, and PayNow is a step in the right direction. We are hopeful that the uptake of PayNow will be swift amongst Singaporeans, and that there will be continued innovations in the payments space in the near...

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