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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

VIetnam's IP law amendments

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The fourth amendment to the IP laws of Vietnam came into force on 15th January this week. To do this Circular No. 16/2016 was issued in June 2016 by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) amending Circular No. 01/2007. This is the typical way that laws are amended in Vietnam by amendments to amendments.
Most of the changes relate to IP registration procedures at the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP). They inclide in relation to office actions, appeals, refusals, deadline compliance, PCT national phase entry, trademark disclaimers, Madrid based trademark procedures, definition of and specification for industrial designs.  
The new definition for designs is "A product being understood as an object, device, equipment, means, or part thereof for assembly or integration into a product, manufactured by any industrial or handicraft method, having a clear structure and function, circulated independently."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Indonesia and Madrid implementation

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Indonesia expects to be ready to be designated as a Madrid country as well as as accepting filings as a country of origin in January 2018. Further Implementing Regulations are expected in late December.  The IP office has established a Madrid Unit Team of 20 officials which has been receiving training on Madrid.

Indonesia will be adopting an 18-month deadline to examine the application and to notify the IB of any provisional refusal. Oppositions raised by third parties may be notified even after the 18-month time limit. Substantive examination will be processed according to the new Trademark law, so the same treatment as national applications.

At the moment the TMO is examining applications filed in October 2016 (a 13 month backlog). They say they expect to start examining applications filed under the new law in the next 2-3 months. The new Trademarks law came into effect in November 2016. That means Madrid and national applications should all be examined within the 18 period which will be a significant improvement on previous years.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Philippines copyright civil damages

A substantial civil copyright damages award has been made in the Manila Regional Trial Court. The case arose when a Filipino educational publisher St. Mary's Publishing Corp. brought a case for copyright infringement. Against Chinese company Fujian New Technology Color Making and Printing Company Limited and its Filipino distributors MY Intercontinental Trading Corporation together with its owner Tedwin T. Uy, and Allianz Marketing and Publishing Corporation. Textbooks printed in China and them sold by the local distributors to the Department of Education in Zamboanga province for use in several municipalities. 
The Manila court ordered the defendants to cease infringement and ordered them to pay P24.7 million (nearly USD500,000) in damages to a Filipino publisher after being found guilty of copyright infringement. The calculation included actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney's fees, and costs of the suit.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vietnam and technology investment

Vietnam continues to be a country of interest to technology owners in Asia; as the BBC reported this week start ups are increasing and the investment shift from China to Vietnam bodes well for economic growth.

A look at the patent filings there tells the story of growth with heavy Asian interest.  Patent filings in 2015 topped 5000 for the first time. Applications have been averaging 7% growth a year for the last 5 years. Japan files by far the most patents – in 2015 over a quarter of all the patents filed in Vietnam. The US was second, then Korea third. With China and Taiwan in the top 10 filers however, it is clear that Vietnam is a major market first and foremost for Asian technology companies.

Around 12% of the patents filed each year are by local applicants.  That is consistent with other emerging SEA countries.  A lack of support for local start ups, private R&D and technology business is typically blamed across the region.

The biggest technology areas are: pharma and chemistry, with the breakdown looking like this:


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The TPP death, rebirth and IP exclusion

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With the US departure, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement connecting Pacific nation economies lost its impetus. However it has now been reborn as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). With Singapore, Malayia, Vietnam  and Brunie from SE Asia, it remains important for the SE Asian region.

Most of the TPP commitments for goods, services, procurement and investment remain in the CPTPP. However a number of suspended provisions of the TPP remain outside the CPTPP, mainly those that apply to IPRs. These were US industry driven in many cases and include anti circumvention protection for copyright, patent extensions, protection of confidential data, and satellite and cable signal theft.

Another controversial provision allowing states to challenge non compliance on national interest grounds has been removed, ultimately an area relating to health and compulsory licensing.

Assuming no change the IP elements of the TPP are therefore dead and US industry's IP concerns in the region reduced in stature.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Attacking online advertising networks that support infringing websites

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Operation Creative is a UK initiative to disrupt infringing websites. It brings together the advertising industry and IP holders who identify and report IP infringing websites. Once verified, the site owner is contacted, and if they don’t act, then either the site may be suspended or if it cannot be then it is added to the Infringing Website List (IWL). The aim of the IWL is that advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries can voluntarily decide to cease advert placement on these illegal websites which in turn disrupts the sites’ advertising revenue.

The process has been rolled out in several other countries. The Hong Kong IWL was launched last Dec 2016. Recently they launched the same program in Vietnam and Malaysia last month. As of this month, their HK list only has 14 websites listed so far.

Now Indonesian industry, led by the the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) and a variety of local and international copyright holders have joined together to launch the same thing in Indonesia. Bekraf and local copyright organizations like Aprofi and Asiri would normally identify piracy websites and report them to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to get them blocked.  The latest issue of MPA Asia-Pacific Reporter revealed that 260 copyright-infringing websites for films and television shows have been blocked since 2015. The number is higher for music, but it is not yet an effective measure to combat online piracy. It also doesn't solve repetitive infringers and doesn't deal with the underlying financial benefit from advertising revenues.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Indonesia's IP deployment and development

An interesting analysis of Indonesia’s IP position was put forward by in September. WIPO puts forward a classic developing market situation then applied it to Indonesia.  Their analysis is broadly as follows:

General emerging market theme
Indonesia position
Low patent filings at home; patents by non-residents
Indonesia’s patent landscape is dominated by foreign applicants
When R&D or IP occures it is dominated by public sector
LIPI and a few universities dominate, few private sector applicants (pharma company Dexa and Wirya Innovasi - digital tech developer are top local PCT patentees in 2015); Indonesia has a low base of domestic inventions.
Some reliance on utility models, designs
More local applicants, especially in designs (packaging and apparel dominate) – but still highest in SEA region
More reliant on trademarks, but mostly only national reach
Many trademarks are filed by local traders – a majority in fact (previous OECD research agreed on this); few foreign TMs filed
At times important notable copyright sector
Indonesia has a strong music and film industry; with strong copyright industry associations. 
Large portions of economy not using the IP system
Limited manufacturing base, historic commodity focus of the economy, limited technology development by private sector

Indonesia proposes to develop a National IP strategy - see here. A lot can be learnt from the above analysis on what to focus on.

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.