Inventor forced by Mindef to close company over patent rights


By Howard Lee

Facing a long-drawn and uphill lawsuit with the Ministry of Defence over a patent issue, Dr Ting Choon Meng, an innovator and medical professional, decided to withdraw his case due to mounting legal costs and a battle for which he saw no end in sight.

Even worse, given that Mindef is now demanding about S$580,000 in legal fees, to have his patent revoked and assign the rights to the Ministry, Dr Ting is looking at the very grim prospects of closing down his company Mobilestats Technologies Pte Ltd, the company holding the patent rights to his invention, the Station With Immediate First-Aid Treatment (SWIFT) vehicle.

"I am completely disheartened," said Dr Ting. "After this incident, suffice to say that I have lost confidence in Singapore's ability to be a global IP hub."

What made his case even more poignant is that Dr Ting was appointed to the board of directors for the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) since April 2013. He has since stepped down in January 2014, after he withdrew his case against Mindef.

“It has come to a point whereby I am honestly convinced that there is no true conviction right at the top of our government for Singapore to be transformed into a Global IP Hub,” he had written in his resignation letter.

“Recent events and processes in my own encounter have unfortunately shown me that without real conviction and internalization from the top, what we are trying to do in IPOS are but lip service.”

International certification for innovation

Dr Ting and his partners invented SWIFT, effectively a quick-deployment first aid station for crisis use, after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. Television footage of 9/11 made him realise that a vehicle-based medical facility would be a great game-changer in managing casualties during crises.

Subsequently, he applied for patent rights for his invention in no less than nine countries and successfully obtained the rights to intellectual property (IP) in almost all of them, including his home country Singapore.

His application to IPOS was filed on 27 December 2002, whereby it received a few rounds of checks through the reputed Danish Patent and Trademark Office, before it was finally approved on 6 July 2005.

Dr Ting and his partners continued to file for patent rights in eight other countries and regions, and received similar approvals in Australia, Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United States of America and Europe.

During the long journey of certifying the IP for SWIFT, Dr Ting and his partners presented the concept to Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force Singapore Civil Defence Force, Mr James Tan, in 2004 and was asked to help build a prototype for trial purposes.

swift vehicle

SCDF's SWIFT vehicle (Image by Kenneth Lai)

SCDF eventually called for a tender in 2006 for vendors to manufacture SWIFT, and within the tender documents, indicated that interested bidders need to first sign a licensing agreement with Mobilestats before SCDF would consider their bid. The SWIFT vehicles went on to serve its operational needs, and were publicised several times as an icon of “SCDF innovation”.

“It needs to be ruggedized”

However, Dr Ting had a less pleasant experience with Mindef. At a trade fair in 2005, Dr Ting spoke to BG (Dr) Wong Yue Sie, then chief of the SAF Medical Corps, about the SWIFT vehicle that was on display.

“He told me that changes would have to be made to the vehicle if it were to be adapted for SAF’s use,” recounted Dr Ting. “For example, the vehicle would have to be painted to camouflage and it needed to be ruggedized. I told him that such changes would not be a problem, but I informed him the vehicle was patented.”

“He told me that he would contact SCDF and said to me that, “maybe we can do it on our own” or words to that effect. I remember that clearly because I remember telling him that he could not do that because the vehicle was patented.”

Dr Ting never heard from Mindef since. However, in April 2009, the Defence Science and Technology Agency called a tender to procure a “Mobile First-Aid Post”. While the tender required bidders to obtain licensing agreements for IP, DSTA’s tender did not specifically mention Dr Ting’s SWIFT, as SCDF’s has done. The contract was eventually awarded to Syntech Engineers Pte Ltd for production, which did not contact Dr Ting or his partner about the patent.

MINDEF's SWIFT vehicle

MINDEF's SWIFT vehicle

“In fact, I didn’t know that they infringed our IP until we saw the vehicle exhibited at National Day Parade 2011,” said Dr Ting. It was supposedly the same vehicle that was featured in the 2011 National Day Parade, apparently as a fully operational model.

Intention to infringe?

Dr Ting decided to pursue the legal route with Mindef. “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.”

Syntech Mindef fax

Fax sent to Dr Ting's lawyers

Curiously, in the exchange of legal letters, Dr Ting received a letter from Syntech, dated March 2009 and addressed to Mindef, outlined the company’s clear intent not to pay any heed to Dr Ting’s patent. Syntech wrote:

“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.”

“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,” said Dr Ting. “Why did Mindef let that happen? Instead, they have effectively decided that our IP can be contested. And this was after IPOS has certified the patent!”

War of attrition

What Dr Ting did not count on was that the case would drag on for two years, costing him a fortune that effectively outweighed any licensing fee he would have been able to obtain from a successful case.

“It’s a war of attrition,” he said. “Mindef not only had the Attorney General defending them, they also contracted Wong and Leow. Why did they need so many lawyers? They kept delaying the case, claiming that their witness was not available. Meanwhile, every delay cost me in legal fees. I have no more money to fight this case.”

Eventually, Dr Ting decided to drop the case in January 2014, as the legal cost was too high for him to bear.

Just as perturbing was Mindef’s actions to “settle” the case. Dr Ting had offered them settlement terms indicating that each party pay for their legal fees, that he would not claim IP license fees for the vehicles Mindef has already built and allowing them royalty-free use for up to three years. However, charges will apply for subsequent vehicles built by Mindef. Fairly reasonable, he thought.

However, just two weeks before the scheduled trial, Mindef dropped a bombshell with their “counter-offer”: Dr Ting had to pay for Mindef legal costs, drop all claims to IP, and surrender his patent for SWIFT in Singapore as well as for the other seven countries the patent is registered in. This meant that Dr Ting not only lost the right to claim damages for the original infringement, but can no longer exercise his patent rights to SWIFT with other developers anywhere else in the world.

Just as strangely, although the courts awarded Mindef the right to revoke Dr Ting’s patent for SWIFT in October 2014, he heard from his sources that the agency has to date not gone to IPOS to complete the revocation.

“When I dropped the case, my conditions was that I would not claim for the vehicles Mindef has made, so long as they stop infringing on my IP,” said Dr Ting. “Instead, they countered by demanding that I pay their legal fees, and grant them free use of the patent.”

Meanwhile, Wong and Leow LLC slapped him with a legal bill of about S$580,000. Dr Ting had no more money to pay, and would likely have to put the company in receivership. Which means any party that takes over Mobilestats would still have the IP rights to SWIFT, until Mindef chooses to revoke it with IPOS.

“I honestly have no idea what Mindef is now planning to do with the IP for SWIFT,” said Dr Ting. “What I do know is that Mindef has produced up to 58 copies of the same vehicles. What for? I was a battalion commander in the Medical Corps before, and by my estimate, the entire SAF would only need about 12 to 14 SWIFT vehicles for its entire operational needs. Why produce 58?”

In its response to this article, MINDEF has issued a response on 20 January stating,

1. MINDEF did not infringe any patent as one can't infringe a patent that was never valid in the first place.
2. 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. MINDEF's actions were correct and above board. 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 it have paid for.
3. As to the clarification on whether did MINDEF sought to destroy MobileStats with the prolonged court case and the demand for the payment of $580K, it gave a non-answer by stating that the case was not initated by it and gave no response to the point that it took two years for them to come up with a key witness and that they never submitted any evidence to support their case.

Editor's note: An earlier version of the Article had made statements against Wong & Leow LLC which were false and without foundation and that the Article has therefore since been corrected. TOC unreservedly apologises to Wong & Leow LLC for the statements.

  • sharkAttack777

    This is what happens when government are deeply inovlved in businesses. The line is not clear as to who should be doing the regulatory enforcement and who should be doing the business.

    • Soo Bon Yee

      This is one reason why our “little red dot” failed in creativity and innovation. Local inventors and scientists preferred to send their new products to the States and let other do the patent registrations.

      • GUSSIE91

        only FT inventors are approved by the govt, because all Singaporeans has been labelled DAFT………..

        • nelsonmandala

          now u knuw why simwongwho migrate his manufacturin to melaka

          • GUSSIE91

            yup………unless you are PAP supporters the govt will keep you alive above the water level.

      • ovipconsult

        This is what I would do… cos the government in the US protects the IP to their death… and they have a court system to make sure you will have justice…. small businesses actually take on large businesses in such court cases… the most important thing is theIP… cos it’s money driving hardwork… and it’s the IP that matters…. and IP will create jobs!

    • GUSSIE91

      dude………only one ultimate power in Singapore to control our entire life, that is PMO w/their expensive ministers, the rest are just slaves.

    • Peh Ben

      conflict of interests. How can you fight a case with government?They got the power and money…Its better to patent it in US and sell it there first. Once the market is there no one can take the business away from you. Singapore is not the right place. Lesson learnt…

    • Samson

      You and all the people who know about this will still vote PAP wat. So why would they care line clear or not clear.

  • Soo Bon Yee

    You can’t win a case in the Singapore against a government agency. Look at the infringement of cloth hangers by HDB. The poor guys had to pay cost and lost his IP. I can only advise you to look for a strong international financial institution and sell off your patent/s. You don’t have the backings to retain what you come up with. Internationally, you can see most inventors/scientists sold their invention/discoveries to a third party. Medical product was one very obvious case. As for this case, I can only said, good luck and take care, because integrity is cheap.

  • Sam Chia

    A fundraising page should be set up to help Dr Ting fight the case in court. The key is really to get a judgement for such a case in SG where a small business owner who has proper IP registered fight against large/gov organisations. Good lessons can be learned from both side even if the case is lost.
    But I really cannot stand the fact that a small owner is made helpless to fight because of the $$$. Is it really a case of NO $$ NO JUSTICE?

    • More like “No Connections, no justice.” Oops; I forgot that, here, that’s the same thing.

      • Sam Chia

        I also agree with No Connections No Justice 🙂
        In this case, what is disheartening is that someone of Dr Ting caliber who is a “Dr” + “BOD” of iPOS (connections) + Solid understanding of the IP process + obtain IP rights can end up in such a bad state. Can you imagine someone who does not have these?

        • Easily. It’s a big part of the reason why my company is planning on moving all our (Web software) development activities to the Philippines this year, after three years of beating our heads against the boulder of neutronium that is Singapore’s tech “industry” and, particularly, its appointed overlords. If you want to innovate; if you want to compete outside our little Potemkin village of a kleptocracy; if you want to serve and delight customers (like ours) outside of Greater China; then Singapore is a death trap… at least until some absolutely cathartic change here occurs and is worked through.

          I’ve been in Singapore off and on longer than most Singaporeans I know have been alive. I’ve loved this place for years and years and years. But I submit that our de facto national motto is no longer Majulah Singapura.

          Sal si puedes.

          • Soccerbetting2

            Philippines have natural disasters like super powerful typhoons , Philippines also have guerilla fighters that have weapons more powerful than the police guns . Singapore is not really a totally safe place but at least a safer place to invest . And to invest in Philippines may be more risky with all the guerillas there . Are you a SIngaporean or PR ? Be careful when in Philippines , Ello hate Singaporean and maybe also hate Singaporean PR, so don’t meet Ello when in Philippines . Who knows what Ello will do to SIngaporean when they are there in Philippines ?

          • They’re making peace with the guerrillas; those left now are mostly zealot offshoots of zealot offshoots of the original movement that all parties have an interest in winding down and moving past. Singapore is a safe place, like a supermax prison is a safe place to wander the halls; everything is locked down so tightly, and real power rests in places that are not always visible. The Philippines has the advantages of having fought a revolution against corruption in living memory, and of now having a system where corruption, though real, is not Leegalised and formalised. It can be beaten. When it’s baked into the system, it’s much harder. I’ve never met a Filipino who hated SIngaporeans. I’ve also never met a Filipino who had much use for egotistical blowhards with marginal-at-best competence who relied on clannish, ethnic connections to do everything and sat down on the floor and cried when things didn’t go their way. That describes far too many Singaporeans I have known professionally, personally and politically to a T.

            I don’t know what anybody or anything will do when we’re there. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s done here, as different from what is claimed to be done here. Why have a Parliament when an MP can be on the board of 47 different GLCs and rake in millions? I remember when we had a Government that put every effort into leading us; the current one seems far more intent on and competent at looting us. If you really want to live in the next province-level city of China after the Old Man dies, then stay right where you are. Anybody who cares anything about their future, especially their future in dealing with the real modern world, is executing or at least has a Plan B.

          • Chem Po

            Jeff, welcome to the Philippines. I’m Singaporean but forced by the high cost of living in Singapore to semi-retire here in the Phils.

            Soccerbetting2’s negativities on the Phils are the views of most typical Singaporeans who got all those ideas from what they read in the papers, however well-intentioned he may be. What he mentioned is true, however I’m sure you are not going to wander around in the forests where the NPA guerillas lurk, nor move around in the sleazy places where you will end up seeking the police’s help, only to be taken advantage of by the guys in uniform.

            The reality is this Jeff. Phils is a nice place to visit or retire, but it is not business-friendly for foreigners. And this is not for those security reasons mentioned by Soccerbetting2. There are lots of things here that does not make business sense. Most importantly and for starters, foreigners cannot own more than 40% equity in the company. Other woes— the frequency of brown outs, the looming power shortages, the convulated legal environment — never mind the corrupt justices, the legal processes can drive you crazy, corruption is systemic — Filipinos are warm hearted people, but due to poverty, almost everyone has greasy hands including all your employees, almost every one outside of you company that you want to deal with – they are scheming and looking out for ways to skim something out of the deal, etc. There are many many more no-nos at the micro level which I won’t elaborate here. Anyway, good luck to you.

          • nelsonmandala

            tiz 1 i 102% fully agreeded with u..most of the locals pinnoys r FREELOADERS

          • Demonstrating yet again one of the main reasons for our move: our product is a communication tool used by anglophones, and we live or die by our English-language capability. Were we to remain in Singapore, we would die.

          • Chem Po, thanks for the reply. I’m aware of the business limitations and nonsensibilities. We know it’s not going to be entirely smooth sailing; we know it’s not going to be as easy or sensible or transparent as if we were to open a dev centre in Australia or the UK or wherever. I’ve done this sort of thing before (with other companies, in other SE Asian countries). I (and my CEO and Board) hope that we’ve set our success criteria flexibly enough, and to be honest, low enough that we’ll be able to do this.

            But the reality is that we can’t grow our dev centre in Singapore, yet our business operations are more firmly rooted here. I’ve had enough experience with multi-time-zone teams to know that that means we need to be someplace within a couple of hours of GMT+8. What’s killing us, more than anything else, is access to competent, English-fluent technical talent; the number of countries where that’s readily available within two time zones of here, as you likely know, can be counted on one hand. We have no choice, and I would be disillusioned if the Philippine people and orgs we’ve been in contact with haven’t figured that out. The Singaporeans clearly have, and PAP Pte Ltd doesn’t care; their business model, assuming that people (and small companies) are entirely-interchangeable parts of negligible individual value, has so far been extremely profitable for them. We can’t work that way.

            Thanks for the good-luck wishes, and with all the fish I’ll be eating there, Douglas Adams certainly comes to mind as I write this. Take care.

          • Lim Meng Yong

            Yeah! 42!

          • Samson

            I know of a very wealthy Londoner who bought the whole beach in Phils to retire in. By the way, the typical Singaporean thinks the whole world outside of Singapore is not safe. US got guns, UK got riots, Canada got snow storm, Oz got racists, Johore got mugging….. Only Sg is safest place in the world!

          • Singapore is “safe” in the same sense that the secure areas of an American-style “SuperMax” prison are safe: everything is so locked down, and those who are permitted access continually are reminded that any lapse in approved behaviour will have Consequences.

            By contrast, innovation depends on risk, on uncertainty, on what the Singaporean has been indoctrinated to think of as “danger”. You never learn from doing things right the first time; all learning is from mistakes — whether yours or others. Not being permitted to make such mistakes, and thereby not being allowed to authentically learn anything except what has been pre-ordained from On High, has been proven to be a singularly effective way to prevent innovation; a death trap for cultural or social evolution of any kind. What we have in its place is, too largely, devolution.

          • Samson

            I have just heard a very successful Western entrepreneur said in an interview on tv, “If you cannot accept risk and failure, how can you progress?”

          • You can’t. But this society doesn’t *want* progress; it’s spent decades trying to build a Randian imitation of Shanghai in the 1920s, ruled like Shanghai of the 1970s. Anything that smacks of modernity, that threatens to benefit the common man as much as or (the horror!) more than the Connected elites, is denounced as being “against Asian values”, of which the PAP is the sole arbiter.

            China tried Maoism and it didn’t work. They’re trying “our” system now and it’s breaking down (go visit Tianjin or any of a dozen other empty, multi-billion-dollar cities to see what I mean). We need something better, and we need it before the Old Man dies and we really do get sucked in as “the next province-level city of China”.

          • nelsonmandala

            p.s. when our singtel invest in phillippines..the gureillas threathen to chopdown the telephone line poles if singtel dunt pay them a ransom…

    • How much would be enough to fight of MINDEF and put them to shame? I shudder at the thought. Law is sadly, not ethics.

      • People also have a tendency to forget the PAP Pte Ltd “principle” that reminds us that “the truth is no defence”. If being right doesn’t at least increase your chances of victory, then unlimited funding (matching what is brought to bear against you) is utterly pointless.

    • Soo Bon Yee

      Yes, you have a point. The only way to fight the “protected” unethical is get support from the masses. We will need Singaporean’s power to defend the weak and helpless. Can DR. Ting step up and let us has his view’s and make a decision.

  • Andrew Leung

    The company should have sued Syntech for copyright infringement and BG (Dr) Wong Yue Sie, then chief of the SAF Medical Corps for theft of intellectual property instead of MINDEF. Dr Ting must find a buyer/investor for your medical vehicle company or patent and make money from other countries sales. Please complain to all the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organisations on the behavior of MINDEF and the Singapore government. Please forward to all the scientists and medical companies the practice of the Singapore government and ask them not to do any research for Singapore government companies.

  • NonEntity

    this is not the 1st time the SG Government has done this sort of things… think if you want to file a patent, it will be safer to file it elsewhere if possible…

  • Andrew Leung

    This is a case of bullying by the government and civil servants. The company must start a petition to PM Lee/CPIB to investigate the case against the SAF Medical Corps and its procurement branch. The SAF Medical Officer’s lack of ethics in theft of medical technology and current usage of stolen technology is hypocritical.

  • KhengWah Koh

    Dr Ting and his team are pioneers in wearable medtech, way before wearable tech became a buzz word. He sold his clinics many years ago to fund his passion for medtech innovation and his company has sweat to build up many patent rights. He’s the kind of guy whose passion rubs on people who meet him. As a budding technopreneur myself, it’s painful to watch this video, seeing him so frustrated and disappointed. If his company gets shut down because of this legal case with Mindef, it will be a big blow to Singapore still young technopreneurship ecosystem.

    • Samson

      But you and Dr Ting will still vote PAP right? Then don’t complain.

  • PikuChoo

    MINDEF procured 58 such vehicles when 14 (max) would suffice for our requirements? Something doesn’t smell right here. Perhaps that additional 20% manpower for CPIB should take a closer look…

    And in any event, WHY is MINDEF trying to shortchange a SINGAPOREAN company? I would like to think that the “good” general was trying to save taxpayer’s money. But if that is truly the case, the general should start by telling Mindef to cut his own (unnecessarily) high salary first.

    • liangjwc1

      Now then the former commander of Medical Corps realised there are more than enough of such vehicles at MINDEF and yet don’t know why?
      Like I said before spending all these billions of dollars on expensive toys (including F35) and bodyguards for what/who?
      Just scrap NS, enemies are already here or landed (including people stealing patents?).

  • Nikko Asia

    This is a case of tyranny by the mighty. Then the MIW’s ahould stop saying that locals have no creativity or talent. Instead of supporting local SME’s they appropriate their technology. How to progress with such robber barons?

  • susu

    This is horrible, let’s vote them out in 2015, i just wonder why God still never punish them.

  • Han

    Feeling frustrated

  • Peh Ben

    Maybe they want to sell….this going to affect their popularity once again.

  • mouseking

    How will our smes grow in this kind of environment?

    • Nutcase

      This government don’t need SMEs to grow all they needed is to get couple of multinationals and fill it with FTs that would already satisfy their growth target.

  • Food for thought

    If Albert Einstein spent all his time dealings with IPs, would he still come up with that much inventions / Innovations?

  • If one of the directors of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) cannot defend his own patent rights, what are the chances for the rest of us who would like to protect copyrights of their design work?

  • Roger Lim

    This is outrageous! For the sake of Justice and Singapore’s reputation and integrity, a full scale investigation must be undertaken by the authorities on what actually happened, otherwise the integrity, reputation and authority of this government will be undermined.

    • Samson

      The integrity, reputation and authority of this government have already been undermined umpteen times.

  • Samson

    This is the reason Sg needs casino and population ponzu scheme. Only 50 yrs and we are regressing. Nothing solid will materialise under Dictatorial regime.

  • Samson

    If not for the internet, Dr Ting is a dead duck. Now you people see why the Govt must strangle TOC, TRE, TRS etc through funding? Ironically these media that the Govt is trying to suppress are the only channels that give the oppressed people some hope.

  • Nutcase

    According to a master plan of developing Singapore as a Global IP Hub in Asia, how on earth can that be if the Ministry Of Defence do not uphold patent rights accorded to Dr. Ting.

  • Tan Alan

    Worse than communist PRC! … absolute powers corrupt absolutely!

  • Andrew Leung

    DSTA is trying to steal the design and market it themselves. Dr Ting should write to all the business, defence and medical device industry magazines to warn them of doing business in Singapore. The Minister of Defence must apologise to Dr Ting and make all restitutions and pay the legal fees, costs and damages.

    • Ting Choon Meng

      Thanks Andrew, all that I ask for now is a letter of apology and respect IP from now on.

      • Tan Peng Leng

        Dear Dr Ting. For whatever reasons that made you lost the case, you have made yourself known to many of us here. While there is nothing much that I can do for your predicament, nevertheless, I believe you are a fighter and will not give things up easily. Let us hope that things will turn out better in the days to come!

  • Mikhail Mukin

    What exactly is the invention? “Vehicle based medical facility” can not be an invention – this is “common sense”.

    • Glenn Chong

      Unfortunately, common sense is not so common lar… MINDEF so creative meh? what is so innovative or inventive about a mobile medical facility? there were already such facilities since the 1800s during the Civil War except that they were drawn by horses. And there was even a show about this in the 70s or 80s right? just google MASH.

  • buck low

    A typical business dilemma in Singapore. Government is the biggest customers but your balls will be squeezed dry.

  • ghormax

    After talking to a former government official about IP, I know it is only taken seriously if it is in the benefit of the government. Of course, to the outside an image of perfect IP protection is maintained.

  • Andrew Leung

    MINDEF is trying to cover up their dirty deeds of stealing other people’s invention and trying to make money out of other people’s work and even try to destroy him and rob him of all his intellectual property and make him a bankrupt. The DSTA copied wholesale the design and abet Syntech to profiteer from Dr Ting and extort him using legal means to obtain all the patents for themselves. The Defence Minister must come clean with the public on the corruption in the military and the defence industry.

    • PikuChoo

      That is (one) of the head scratching part. WHY would MINDEF want to take possession of Dr Ting’s patents as part of the settlement?

      If MINDEF’s intention is to head-off future challenges wrt to Dr Ting’s IP (from whichever party that buys it over), then that is explicit acknowledgement that Dr Ting’s patents has legal merit. In which case, MINDEF has no legal standing in their case against Dr Ting.

      • Andrew Leung

        MINDEF/DSTA wants to sell the product around the world and they need to secure the patents so as to sue other people if they copy their stolen designs. They are trying to finish off Dr Ting but are in no hurry because they did not have the buyers yet.

  • Andrew Leung

    MINDEF spent $580K of taxpayer money to bankrupt a Singaporean inventor. We do not want to be part of this sordid affair. We do not need Dr Ting to pay any legal fees to MINDEF. The Defence Minister must stop this nonsense and pay him the royalties for the 58 vehicles.

  • Samson

    Looks like all good people go down, all rotten eggs go up and get paid $mils. Still vote PAP lah, PAP da best of da best – bcos LHL say so – we have arrived – Sg is first world nation.

  • Govindasamy

    It is one thing to have some rich and powerful individuals suppressing others in such legal/ financial strangulation. But to have MINDEF acting in this manner, gives me, a citizen, a sense of hopelessness for this government. This is bully of the highest order. Majulah apa lah?

  • Bill Claxton

    So distressing. Ting’s conxlusion is right, the govt tender process has zero respect for vendor’s IP. The calling agency owns the vendor, more or less outright.

  • Andrew Leung

    MINDEF looked with lust on Dr Ting’s invention and tried to make 58 copies of it. Syntech and DSTA did not file a patent to protect their copied design and instead tried to steal even the copyright so that when they sell the vehicle to others, they can use it as proof of originality. The Minister of Law must remove the Judge of this case as an incompetent, biased or a co-conspirator of a government and defence contractor scheme to defraud Dr Ting. The Minister of Law must protect his own integrity and reputation if he wants to continue to be a Law Minister and greater protection of IP rights in Singapore as IP Hub.

  • Andrew Leung

    Dr Ting must ask SCDF to confirm whether the MINDEF and Syntech vehicle is similar in design or vastly technologically superior. The Singapore Medical Council, NUS Medical School, NUS Law School etc and other leading Medical and Defence Industry leaders based in Singapore should give a professional opinion on whether Dr Ting’s vehicle lacks any novelty or inventive step.

  • Andrew Leung

    Dr Ting must ask the Law Minister to arrange for a few free mediation sessions between the 3 parties. This shows that the Singapore government leadership, political system and management is corrupt and dysfunctional. The President must be allowed to be involved in the running of the State affairs and political life to act as a check and balance on any corruption of the Military, Judiciary, Defence and Law Ministers who refuse to do anything to help the citizens who are the tax-payers. The IPOS leadership have also refused to lift a finger or open their mouth to help their own Ex-Board Member. If the President and the Chief Judge do not speak up for Dr Ting then it means that Singapore is a very corrupt nation.

  • Andrew Leung

    The Law Minister must ask the Defence Minister why does the SAF need 58 vehicles, what are the scenarios they are planning for, operational needs and current usage details of the vehicles. Have the SAF Medical Corps and DSTA inflated the number of vehicle purchases required and kept some undertable commission rebates for themselves and spent extra tax dollars. The Law Minister must ask the Attorney General to show why he thinks that Dr Ting’s design lacks novelty and inventive step and needs to surrender all the IP rights to MINDEF. The PM must ask the CPIB to investigate this case for government abuse by SAF Medical Corp and Defence Procurement Branch. The whole world is watching Singapore’s IP market and Legal environment and the integrity of the PM, Defence and Law Minister. I hope the intellectual scholars at MINDEF/DSTA have not surrendered their integrity and reasoning for the needs of the State and violate the rights and properties of the people.

  • Andrew Leung

    The DSTA did not even bother to add any additional novelty and inventive step capability or feature and copied Dr Ting’s design wholesale. They even doubted their own design specs and need to seek additional reassurance from their crooked vendor Syntech and their crooked lawyers Wong and Leow on their design originality. This is a sign of their sin-conscious behavior that says “thou shall not steal” and lack of design capability and originality. They are just cheap sourcing and trying to rip off others design and make use of the State legal means to commit outright theft and seizure.

  • Andrew Leung

    Syntech should at least make an effort to vary a few different designs and models of the 58 vehicles for different medical procedures. I also highly recommend them to design a suitable Police Mobile Command Centre Vehicle and copy the designs from USA companies and offer it to the Minister of Home Affairs to watch out for riots, football hooligans from Malaysia, terrorism watch at Stadiums and other areas of operations like violent FTs at Boat Quay, Red Light district monitoring at Geylang etc.

  • Andrew Leung

    The MInister of Information and the Arts, Education Minister, Health Minister and Trade and Industry Minister etc must speak up against MINDEF/DSTA for violating the IP of Dr Ting. The IPOS Board of Directors must apologize to Dr Ting for failure to protect his IP and integrity. They have failed in their mission. All the Universities/Polys/ITEs and other Business, Legal, Scientific, Arts Community must speak up against tyranny by corporations and government monopoly. Singapore must evolve and understand the implications of not growing and diversifying the local talent pool and continue business as usual politics and lip service. The Government is becoming parasitic and unable to innovate and cannibalising others invention and business. Singapore needs more business ethics and government oversight committees.

  • Wayne Wong

    Does any remember the inventor of food-from-van biz? Something like Govt. giving this operator lotss hassle & later licensing similar concept ?

  • Samuel Ng

    anyone knows who the directors and shareholders of “Syntech Engineers Pte Ltd”???

  • Samson

    Why is this Govt so hard up for $$$sss? They don’t even need to take care of citizens!

  • Yes!

    Dr Ting said “I was a battalion commander in the Medical Corps before, and by my estimate, the entire SAF would only need about 12 to 14 SWIFT vehicles for its entire operational needs. Why produce 58?””

    Answer: Mindef was already planning to sell these SWIFT vehicles to the other countries where you already have secured your patents. That’s why they demand that you withdraw the patents from all the other countries. Singapore law favours them here – this is Mindef – but they cannot be sure that they can win in the other countries.

    • liangjwc

      Mindef is set up to do business and making more money?
      That’s another reason why I said scrap NS.

  • Yes!

    Advice to Dr Ling: Start building and selling to US, and the other countries where you have the patent. Do it quick. Forget about Singapore. This case has disappointed many Singaporeans.

    • Samson

      Might as well advise Dr Ting to go live in US.

  • Ten Seth

    Now you all know why nobody wants to be a creative person and invent things in Singapore?!! Wait kena like this guy and “robbed” of all their intellectual properties. How to win?

  • Loke Siew Ken

    Dear Dr Ting,
    You are a good man. Thanks for saving my children’s grandma. I don’t think you remember but many thanks. You must fight on. I am just wondering what is Minister Shamugum doing to help you. The latest letter from AGC probably tells us nothing is being done. As they say, no one is above the law. If someone files for a patent and is approved, then everyone must respect it. SCDF did, why not Syntech/MINDEF. Playing the “war of attrition” is basically as they say in Hokkien “chow kah”. I know you are a amicable man. Simple apology is enough, but damage is done. A steal is a steal. For the sake of showing maturity as a SG50 nation, please have some dignity. Own up to a mistake.

    Dr Teng, if you wanna raise funds to fight this let me know. I promise to give.


  • Jane Wang

    Please read Patent Act S55. There is a defence for government to use any patent in non-commercial purpose or in national emergency. Imagine when war started and government wants to use his invention to save citizens, and this Dr. Ding does not allow, what will be the consequence?

    Source: I am studying IP Law

    • But Mindef didn’t need to void his patent or shut down his company to use the patent under S55. That’s a red herring, far-future counsellor!

      • Jane Wang

        Jeff, S55 is for fair use of invention by government. For patent revocation, it is under patent act s80(1). It is normal action for defendant to use invalidity as a counter claim. Not only sg government is doing that, but also everyone else.

    • liangjwc1

      Why need to study IP Law?
      Just go and buy a degree on IP Law will do, fast and cheap.

      • Jane Wang

        Tell me where to buy? Can you buy to become a lawyer? Have you become one then?

        • liangjwc1

          You can ask Nisha or foreigners to help you, I am not qualified.
          I don’t need to become one, just that your understanding of the case, what difference if you buy one?