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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fake cops in Manila

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The Philippines National Police are facing a problem of fake uniforms. Criminal have apparently been passing themselves off as police, especially by using fake badges and insignia. 
Now the PNP chief has issued a circular directing their units to take more care and control the circulation of uniforms, badges and the like. There is already an executive order from 2000 prohibiting the manufacture sale and distribution of fake police uniforms and badges. The military have also joined the debate issuing a statement last week too. Republic Act 493 prohibits civilians from wearing, using, manufacturing, and selling military uniforms, insignia, medals, and badges prescribed only for soldiers and policemen.  They also pointed out that the IP Code allows them to take action. 
At least they realise they can use the trademark and unfair competition laws to stop this (regardless of special regulations, circulars etc). After all they enforce the criminal aspects of these IP laws. Or maybe they are not confident in their own enforcement of the IP laws to protect their own IP!  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Madrid is coming to Indonesia

On October 2, 2017 Indonesia deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol at WIPO.   Indonesia becomes the 100th member of Madrid. The Protocol is due to come into force after 3 months on 2 January 2018. A Draft Government Regulation on the application of Madrid to Indonesia’s trademark system has been drafted and will be signed by the President.
The TMO has been working for some time to prepare itself for Madrid following the trademark law amendments in November 2016. However there is still a backlog of about 10,000+ applications that have not been examined. The TMO has recruited another 20 new examiners this year. An increasing volume of marks are being published, so the race is on to catch up by year end to be ready for Madrid in early 2018.  


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Myanmar's future IP office

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Myanmar’s proposal for the establishment its IP department is now becoming clearer. The government plans to set up an Intellectual Property Committee led by the Ministry of Education (which incorporates the old Ministry of Science and Technology), including various NGOs and experts as well as the Director General of the IP Department. The Committee’s function will be to set national IP policies and plans, review international IP agreements to consider acceding to and through various working groups perform various other IP related functions such as overseeing issues and taking action relating to IP infringement.

The IP Department (which sits under the Committee) functions will include government coordination, implementing the Committee’s policies and plans and reporting to the Committee, as well as liasing with overseas IP bodies, setting fees, running the IP registries, IP publication and other functions.

The Director General appoints the registrars and examiners for each IP registry. Each Registrar will run the application and registration processes, including granting IP rights and oppositions. The IPO will also have a IP Policy & Planning department as well as Education & Awareness, and the usual administrative functions.

New suggestions on the transition from the existing deposit system to the new system are being made now. It appears some form of re-filing will be needed, the precise scope and effect of which will be revealed in new regulations.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Indonesia starts on a national IP strategy

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Indonesia's IP Office has started formulating a Intellectual Property National Strategy. They ran a Focus Group Discussion attended by representatives of the IPO, other ministries and Indonesia's IP Attorneys Association (AKHKI) recently.  The Ministry of Law has established a team of National Expert. Their first activity is to conduct a study to review current national policies, as well as to identify the best way to align IP national strategy with other development priorities.

Many countries now use national IP strategies to help drive innovation. China started to do it a decade ago and several other SE Asian nations do the same thing including the Philippines and Vietnam.  A previous OCED study concluded that Indonesian trademark based industries are central to the economy. the International Trademarks Association has also published a study indicating the importance of trademark related industries to the local economies in the SEA region. Ecommerce is now proving a major new economic driver in Indonesia, with VC funded start ups turning into huge businesses. If the team of National Experts can draw all these elements together, many important Indonesian business sectors can benefit.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SEA governments take on the Gods!

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Taiwan based games studio Digital Crafter and UK based games distributor PQube are running into problems with their online game Fight of Gods. The game is a deity-based brawlfest. Buddha, Odin, Zeus, Moses, and Jesus all duke it out to determine “who will lead us to enlightenment.” The game is distributed through PC gaming distribution platform Steam.

First the game got blocked in Malaysia, where the Malaysian government prevented all access to Steam for a day to force Steam to remove access to Fight of Gods. Steam has now geo-blocked the game in Malaysia. Indonesia’s IT Ministry has now issued a warning to Steam to remove it too. A  geo block has been requested within 48 hours, according to Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, director general of Information Application at the IT Ministry. The grounds are that the game might inflame religious tensions.

Of course these bans are bringing more attention to the game and driving up its popularity.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Monkey selfie case concludes

Naruto the monkey has finally won through. David Slater is a photographer who was working with macaques in Sulawesi several years ago when a monkey grabbed his camera and took some photos including the now famous selfie - see here for previous reports. As owner of the camera Slater tried to assert his rights to the photo. In court PETA asserted that non humans can own IP rights. At least full equal rights have over many years vested slowly, so by logical extension animals, even AI programs may one day own IP. 

Well a deal has been done which allows the court case to die quietly. In fact the laws are relatively clear that humans must on IP. Anyway there was limited financial value to the case. Naruto was awarded a percentage of Slater’s future royalties for the photo. These will probably be limited one expects, so probably there is a little face saving around this. 

IP Komodo applauds all cases involving Indonesian animals naturally. He wonders who owns copyright in his blog now?  And which rights organization he needs to threaten to bite to collect his royalties?! Pass the answers to Naruto as well please!

Copyright royalty collections in Vietnam

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Collection of copyright royalties for music paid in public is a complex business. There are multiple rights involved and multiple copyright owners. In SE Asian countries a number of disputes have played out as copyright owners, royalty organisations and businesses utilising music work out who should pay what, to whom and why. 

In Vietnam a backlash put on hold attempts by the Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) to collect its royalties. VCPMC is a non-profit collective copyright management association. It represents 4,000 songwriters and copyright holders of Vietnamese music, and through its international associations another 4 million overseas authors and composers. 

The issue began in May when the VCPMC began demanding royalties from smaller hotels in central Vietnam. Hotels claimed they were unaware of these fees. Many refused claiming there was no music in many of them. One important issue was music being played on TVs in hotel rooms. However VCPMC had been charging 4 and 5-star hotels in major cities music licensing fees for many years. They also ran events to inform hotel owners of copyright rules. 

So due to the backlash in May, the Copyright Office of Vietnam instructed the VCPMC to temporarily halt collections. It began to mediate and devise a clearer plan for music royalty collection. The Ministry of Culture this week announced the resumption of collections. So the VCPMC will be charging all hotels VND25,000 ($1.1) per year for each room equipped with a TV. 80% of royalties  go to copyright holders and the remainder funds the VCPMC. 
Now for the hard part. The VCPMC expects hotels to collect lists of songs played and submit them so that payment can be calculated. How they will do this and which songs it applies to they have not explained. Perhaps a flat fee may have been easier.