The CPTPP – What to Expect?

denver-business-law-firm-intellectual-propertyToday’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk external expert Mr. Manh Hung Tran from BMVN International LLC, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International. In his article, Mr. Manh Hung Tran discusses what signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership means to its signatories in terms of IPR protection. 

At the November 2017 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, the 11 countries remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) took a significant step forward to finalize a new agreement now referred to as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In the absence of a key player – the United States – this new cross-border deal, the CPTPP is reported to have largely incorporated the TPP on the one hand but “suspended” certain intellectual property provisions on the other hand, in hopes of reviving them when the United States re-joins the agreement at some point in the future. Thus, although the final text has not been published, it is highly likely that the CPTPP has ceased the effect of many IP-related and/or drug-specific articles that the United States rigorously promoted when the TPP was being negotiated.

In light of the above, we think that the following important issues in Chapter 18 of the TPP, which concerns intellectual property, may have been included in the list of suspended provisions of the CPTPP. Continue reading “The CPTPP – What to Expect?” »

Marking Your Territory: Choosing a Trade Mark in China

trademarkChoosing a Chinese equivalent for your brand name can oftentimes be a challenging task.  In today’s blog post we’re taking a closer look at what you need to know when choosing your trade mark in China.  We are using the famous New Balance case to offer some tips on how to choose a good trade mark in China. 

In one of the most famous trade mark infringement case, New Balance Trading (China) – the Chinese affiliate of US sports footwear brand, New Balance – was ordered by a Guangzhou court to pay RMB98 million in compensation (equivalent to approximately EUR14.3 million), and to publicly apologise to Chinese businessman, Mr Yuelin Zhou, for trademark infringement. The trade mark in question was “新百伦”, or “Xin Bai Lun”, a Chinese transliteration of “New Balance”. This case serves as a sharp reminder of how vital it is for foreign brands to register a Chinese trade mark in China, and how cutting corners may result in high financial penalties later down the line. This article takes a look at how to best choose a Chiniese name for your brand when doing business in China.

Chinese consumer culture: why choose a Chinese name?

China possesses one third of the world’s consumers and is the largest market for luxury goods in the world. Between 2010 and 2014, European Union (EU) imports to China grew by around 12% on average annually.

Taking time to carefully consider a Chinese trade mark when importing a brand to China is important for several reasons. Firstly, because foreign brands or company names are often difficult to pronounce – or carry different meanings – in Chinese. If a company fails to provide its own Chinese name or trade mark, Chinese consumers will choose their own. Secondly, in a country where each character holds its own distinctive meaning, the characters used in a foreign branded trade mark, along with the sound, tone and look of Chinese characters, can significantly impact a brand’s reputation. Continue reading “Marking Your Territory: Choosing a Trade Mark in China” »

IP Protection in the Philippines for the Food and Beverage Industry

shutterstock_173260598In Today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection in the Philippines in the food and beverage sector, which has recently also started to offer many business opportunities for European SMEs. You will learn more about how to protect your brand and your precious recipes. Besides brand protection, package design is also important in the Philippines, as consumers often make their purchasing decisions based on the attractiveness of the packaging. Finally, we’re also discussing the options for Geographical Indications’ protection.  

The Philippines’ rapidly growing food & beverage industry is one of the biggest contributors to nation’s economy making up about half of its manufacturing sector and contributing about 23-24% of the country’s GDP[1]. The Philippines is one of the Asia’s largest producers of food, with the value of food processing sector exceeding 24 billion EUR.[2] Given the Philippines’ government’s commitment to further developing the food and beverage industry as one of the priority industries and opening it further up to foreign investments, the Philippines’ F&B industry has become more attractive for European SMEs.

Propelled by increasing disposable income amongst the upper and middle classes and the proliferation of retail and shopping centers as well as by highly urbanized population, the Philippine’s domestic food and beverages market looks quite promising for the European SMEs. The Philippines’ consumers appreciate the high quality and healthy nature of European food and beverage products. As a general trend, the Philippines’ young and fast-growing consumer base is gradually becoming more health-conscious and is increasingly willing to try out new products. As the spending power of the upper-middle and middle class is increasing, there is also greater demand for imported premium products, which offers many business opportunities for the European SMEs.  Continue reading “IP Protection in the Philippines for the Food and Beverage Industry” »

Practical tips for protecting your IP in China and South-East Asia

dreamstime_m_24720610Protecting your IP is extremely important when doing business in China or in South-East Asia, as inadequate IP strategy can often lead to the end of your business endeavor in both regions,  since counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in China and South-East Asia. In today’s blog post you can find some practical tips for protecting your IP in China and in South-East Asia,  allowing you to draft a sound IP strategy for both regions.

China and the majority of South-East Asian countries have recently shown considerable efforts in creating stronger intellectual property rights (IPR) protection systems and in bringing their existing intellectual property laws in line with, or closer to, international standards. However, counterfeiting, trade mark infringements and other IPR infringements remain one of the major issues both in China and in the South-East Asian region. When European SMEs enter these markets, there are some key points they need to look out for in order to ensure their IPR is effectively protected.

IP Laws are territorial, register your IP

European SMEs should be aware that IP laws are territorial (and this applies in both South-East Asia and China), meaning that IPR are only enforceable upon valid domestic registration. SMEs planning to enter the South-East Asian and Chinese markets are faced with the question of when to register their trade mark, patents or designs. The answer is as soon as a company considers internationalizing its sales and activities, they should take steps to register their trade marks and other IP in the countries of destination. Obtaining the relevant information and taking advance action is the key to effective protection. Continue reading “Practical tips for protecting your IP in China and South-East Asia” »

IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector

200As water management is becoming an ever more pressing issue for the Philippines, there are also more opportunities for European SMEs to find promising business opportunities in the Philippines’ water management sector, especially  as European top-notch technology is highly sought after. With every opportunity also comes a risk, especially as counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the Philippines. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how European SMEs, wishing to do business in the Philippines’  water management sector, can best protect their IP. 

For a country surrounded by the ocean, it comes as no surprise that water is a priority sector in the Philippines. A large majority of its 7,000 islands directly deals with water management challenges: while some islands have water-sources still left unexplored, others are actively searching for solutions in light of a decreased water-quality. The quality of the Pasig River flowing through Manila is notorious even for international standards, especially as progress to revive its water-quality has been slow and without considerable success. This is further enhanced in light of ongoing trends related to climate change, where a combination of rising sea-levels and an ever-present risk for natural disasters – like 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan – continuously shapes how people live and engage with water.

The range of solutions needed in the Philippines is not limited to just more traditional approaches of dikes or hydro-dams. Its geographical set-up in combination with local livelihoods highly dependent on water forces European companies providing water-related services to often look for case-specific and dynamic solutions. From electricity-generation, to water-sanitation, waste-water management or disaster risk reduction, this often results in a quite complex and innovative solution where European technology can play a central role. As European companies start to tap into this promising market, they should not neglect protecting their IP rights in the Philippines a good IP strategy can make the difference between succeeding or failing in the Philippines’ market, while counterfeiting and other IP violations are still relatively commonplace in the country. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector” »