Intellectual property rights (IPR). (Chapter 16) According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the protection of copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets under the free trade agreement goes further than previous free trade agreements. The free trade agreement also improves the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Non-discrimination obligations apply to all types of intellectual property. The ESTV ensures the government`s participation in the settlement of disputes between trademarks and Internet domain names (important to prevent cyber-squatting of domain names protected by trademark law). It also applies the „first in-time, first-in-right“ principle to trademarks and geographical indicators (place names) applied to products. This means that the first to register a trademark will have the first right to use that name, phrase or geographical name. It also streamlines the trademark filing process by allowing applicants to use their own national patent/trademark offices to file trademark applications. Questions were also raised regarding the legal power to impose immigration legislation. Some questioned whether sections 106 and 107 of the legislation would allow an international body to repeal decisions taken by officials of the Ministry of Internal Security or the Attorney General regarding the denial of Singapore visa applicants. The USTR responds that the body established by the ESTV would be bi-national and would only deal with cases submitted by a party to the agreement for which there is a model of infringement. The free trade agreement links investor protection to standards developed under customary international law, but environmentalists and business representatives say they differ from what that standard means and whether it sets parameters that exceed or do not exceed the standards of U.S.
law (TPA or expedited legislation does not exceed negotiators). With respect to indirect expropriation, the free trade agreement contains the test used by the U.S. Supreme Court for regulatory revenue. The Singapore Free Trade Agreement differs from the various clarifications in NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) by requiring Singapore and the United States to treat investors in accordance with „law of international usage“ and not „international law“. The latter was the wording of NAFTA, which was read by participants in the NAFTA discussion to include obligations under other international agreements such as the World Trade Organization. Such interpretations are explicitly rejected in the Singapore Free Trade Agreement by the inclusion of a text stipulating that a violation of other provisions of the Free Trade Agreement or other international agreements does not constitute a violation of the minimum standard of treatment. The free trade agreement also contains language taken from the NAFTA clarification, which states that the minimum international law standard for the treatment of foreigners is the standard to which investors must be accorded and that the commitments made in the agreement to ensure „fair and equitable“ treatment and „full protection and security“ do not create substantive obligations beyond that standard. (27) The text of the Free Trade Agreement on electronic commerce makes mandatory a number of commitments which are now only voluntary or temporary within the World Trade Organisation.
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