Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Making IP financing work in Indonesia

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Jumping on the bandwagon of forward thinking IP plans, the Indonesian Creative Economy Agency is trying to set up a financing system for IP.  The aim is to enable banks to use IP as collateral for loans in the creative industries (focused on copyright especially).  Their attempts so far has stumbled at the point of valuation, there being a lack of IP valuers in Indonesia, and a lack of databases of rights.

The latter shouldn't be a problem for of course as there is a copyright office database which could be used. Malaysian bank Maybank has expressed interest in the system. The challenge is not the more traditional creative business sectors like F&B and crafts, but musicians and graphic artists. The Agency is working with the Indonesian Society of Appraisers on the valuation and royalty calculation side. Indonesia believes its overall creative sector is worth USD73 billion nationally.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

ASEAN EU IP cooperation

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The EU has launched the EUR5.5- million ARISE+IPR program designed to work on capacity building in IP matters in SE Asia. The EU IP Office base din Alicante will partner with ASEAN member countries to develop their IPR systems. This project is a successor to the longstandiang ECAP project.
The main focus will be working with ASEAN IP Offices in each country with a view to improving IP Office functions. In addition they will work on achieving the ASEAN Economic Community's (AEC) IP goals. While some level of regional cooperation already exists, now the AEC has an IPR Action Plan 2016-2025 (see here), to develop IP capabilities in the region. The EU ARISE+IPR project will focus on IP creation and commercialization, GI protection and generally promotion of IP in the region in support of AEC's IP goals.

This project launch comes in the middle of the negotiation of the EI Indonesia Free Trade agremeent which includes a number of draft IPR provisions.

Friday, March 30, 2018

ASEAN / Korean IP cooperation

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ASEAN, the 10 member economic bloc in SE Asia has a working group on IP. It is chaired at present by Dr Freddy Harris, who is also Director-General of the Directorate General of Intellectual Property in Indonesia.
This week all the region's IP  offices signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with South Korea.  The intent is to provide a framework for cooperation. They want to promote IP in each other's jurisdictions and create a mechanism for bilateral exchange and cooperation.
This is yet another example of bilateral cooperation in the Asian region. Korea is a major investor in the region as well as a heavy user of SE Asian IP systems. For example it is consistently around the 6th largest filer of Trademarks patents and designs in Indonesia.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Anti counterfeiting - industry activity in Cambodia

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Cambodia’s Intellectual Property Rights forum 2018, a conference on IP protection took place last month. Driven by European companies facing fake and parallel imports the aim was to discuss product issues relating to public health/safety and foreign investment.  Industries identified as affected include pharmaceutical, automotive and food and beverages. A large household goods company said that illegal products hurt their bottom line by 15-20% per year. A beverages company expressed concerns about smuggled or parallel products imported from Thailand. A pharma company said that parallel imports were the major threat. Lost taxes were repeatedly cited. Cambodia has a well-documented smuggling problem which contributes to the market distortions in the region. As a result counterfeiting can become a little lost in the issue of parallel imports.

Mr Op Rady, director of the IP Office in the Ministry of Commerce, explained some of the challenges: low IP awareness; limited resources and low official budgets. The Counter Counterfeit Committee of Cambodia advocated for better cooperation, information sharing and product/brand training. They provided examples of pharma and cosmetics actions they took in the last year.

Cambodia is turning its attention to the issue of fake goods. The country’s parallel goods and other problems are also significant.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Myanmar's Patent, Designs, Copyright and Trademark laws

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The Amyothar Hluttaw (Upper House of Myanmar's Parliament) passed the Trademark Law, Industrial Design Law, Patent Law and Copyright Law on February 15th, 2018. They will now be submitted to Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) and Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union of Myanmar), after which the Assembly then submits them to the President's Office for signature. The laws should all be enacted by around June 2018.

One of the most important features introduced by the new laws is that Myanmar will now apply the first-to-file rule for all IPRs, instead of the first-to-use rule, as in the past. Therefore, it is critical to apply for your IPRs as early as practical in order to secure protection in that country.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Indonesia's criminal code amendments

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Indonesia’s criminal code is being amended at present. There are a number of controversial provisions in the draft being debated by Parliament. The IP provisions however ought not have been controversial.  At present all IPR crimes and their criminal penalties are set out in the separate individual IPR laws (Trademark, Copyright etc). However the draft new criminal code proposes to add a new set of offences.

S574 1a sets our a new offence of counterfeiting intellectual property, which applies to trademarks, copyrights, patents or designs. Penalties are increased and infringing articles can be confiscated and destroyed.   Secondly commercial activities are specifically mentioned, including offer for sale as separate crimes.  In addition there are expanded specific trademark offences such as “Attaching counterfeited trademarks to goods” and “Using authentic trademarks on goods or packaging, even though such trademarks have not been designated for use with such goods”.

This creates an odd situation. The IP laws introduced specific IP crimes which overrode the existing criminal provisions, as part of WTO TRIPS compliance in 2001.  Now additional crimes are added in the new Criminal Code. This is likely to cause confusion as to which applies. In theory the Criminal Code adds its own offences, but mostly they replicate situations covered by the crimes set out in the IPR laws. Also there are few definitions and interpretations in the Criminal Code for IPR matters, such as there are in the specific IPR laws. One can assume those relying on the Criminal Code may look to the IPR laws, but then why create overlapping duplicated offences?

Possibly the Criminal Code offences will have slightly wider application, when the IPR law criminal provisions are narrower.  The major difference however is that the criminal provisions in the IPR laws must be based on a complaint from the rights holder. This was controversial at the time and has probably led to a reduction in IPR enforcement as the authorities could no longer act alone. These new Criminal Code offences allow authorities to undertake their own investigations and prosecutions, without the IPR owner’s involvement.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Online protection in Indonesia

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News about Indonesia’s cyberblocking system may interest IP holders.
The government launched a web crawling system developed by telecoms company Telkom (which is part state owned and part public) to identify illegal digital content. It started operations in January, with 44 servers crawling the web for undesirable content on the web and other internet platforms. Alerts are created and inappropriate material is blocked. So far the main focus has been pornography. The Ministry of Communication and Information oversees the project and they blocked 72,407 pornographic sites in January.  Other areas they look at are illegal gambling and incitement to crimes (especially terrorism related).
The same ministry is also able to  remove content based on complaints from the public (e.g. social media problems), or rights holders for infringing products.
Fake news and online hoaxing is also a problem. This week the Police Directorate of Cyber Crimes arrested a teacher for using Facebook to spread fake news story that the Indonesian Communist Party (a banned old bogeyman of Indonesia’s political past) was coming to slaughter Muslims.
There may be ongoing concerns about censorship and too much control by the government, but rights holders will  be encouraged that the country’s online activities are improving and in some ways better than offline enforcement.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Myanmar IP law saga slowly heads to conclusion

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With Myanmar's IP laws promised for many years, but still not enacted, the slow pace of government in contrast to business is being exposed. The IP law drafts are still with the Parliament. The Law Drafting Committee passed the Draft IP Laws to the Parliament on January 17, 2018 for a final debate.  The hope is now that the laws will be enacted in the coming few months. They will still need a period before coming into force, then there is the preparation of the relevant subordinate rules and regulations. But at least 2018 now appears to be the year they will be enacted. 

In another twist the primary Ministry will be changed from Ministry of Education (formerly known as the Ministry of Science and Technology) to the Ministry of Commence and as a result, right now, Ministry of Commerce is preparing the new IP infrastructure including transferring staff from the MOE.

The launch of the Fashion Designers Entrepreneur Association in February was a reason for that industry to criticise the lack of IP progress. Mogok Pauk Pauk, vice-chair of the association complained to the media "people are copying our designs and ....destroying our trade because they have money and we don’t have copyright,” she said.

This will be an important year for Myanmar and IP development.