IP Considerations for the Manufacturing Industry in South-East Asia

cool20080814_015In today’s blog post we are looking into how to protect IP in the manufacturing industry in South-East Asia, which is currently offering many opportunities for the European SMEs. You’ll learn more about patent protection and industrial design protection, but also about brand protection, as your brand is equally important to your patent. 

Manufacturing is one of the key drivers of growth in South-East Asia, with more and more South-East Asian countries winning manufacturers over from China due to lower labour costs, rising domestic consumption and improving infrastructure. Well-known brands such as Coca-Cola and Coach have so far established plants in Myanmar and Vietnam, leveraging on the cheap labour market and growing domestic demand in these countries. In Cambodia, the textiles and footwear manufacturing industry alone generates approximately EUR 5 billion annually for the economy.

In the coming years, it is expected that the manufacturing industry in South-East Asia will continue to stay strong and even expand further. The expansion of the working-age population in South-East Asia will help to boost the manufacturing sector of these countries and keep the labour costs low. The transfer of technology into South-East Asia over time will also serve to increase the efficiency of countries in this region. As such, South-East Asia offers vast opportunities for EU SMEs that are looking to expand their presence in the region. In so doing, however, EU SMEs should be aware of the intellectual property risks that they will face when operating in this region, with respect to the advanced technology that may be transferred to this region as part of the collaboration and joint venture with SME’s local partners.
Continue reading “IP Considerations for the Manufacturing Industry in South-East Asia” »

Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China

MP900438585In today’s blog post we are discussing how to protect IP when seeking Chinese manufacturers and will address what it takes to design an NNN (non-use, non-disclosure, and non-circumvention agreements) which can pose enough of a credible threat to dissuade contract violations.

Defining protected information: keeping everyone on the same page

NNN agreements should clearly define which rights are being disclosed or licensed, their nature, and their scope. Clear mechanisms for identifying and marking, accounting for, and maintaining secrecy for this information (or indications of who will bear these responsibilities, what general types of information should be considered confidential, or processes for retroactively marking material as confidential) should be present. If desired, additional clauses can also outline what types of information will not be considered confidential. Naturally, before these types of information can be identified, an SME should first understand just what its trade secrets are. Conducting an IP assessment and audit can identify key IP which was otherwise taken for granted or not fully appreciated by the SME and can assign a value to the IP which will make calculating contract damages much easier.

While the contract is in force, these rules should be strictly followed. Over the course of the contract, additional IP may be generated as a result of the work of employees or independent innovations on the part of the manufacturer. NNN agreements can also include clauses which dictate that all such IP belongs to the SME and can thereby avoid future disputes. Note, however, that China places restrictions on the export of some technology—meaning that agreements automatically granting new IP to the SME could be struck down in court. Continue reading “Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China” »

Intellectuele eigendom toetsing bij buitenlandse overnames in China

denver-business-law-firm-intellectual-propertyIn onze meest recente blog-post, vertelt externe China IPR SME Helpdesk expert Reinout van Malenstein, als Senior Counsel werkend bij HFG Law & Intellectual Property, u meer over intellectuele eigendom toetsing bij buitenlands overnames in China. Voor bedrijven die geïnteresseerd zijn in dit onderwerp zal deze blog u meer vertellen hoe de huidige beleiedsstrategie CM2025 intellectueel eigendom in China zal beïnvloeden, en hoe u daar als Nederlands bedrijf in China het best mee om kunt gaan. Deze blog is geschreven in het Nederlands en is eerder gepubliceerd op China2025.nl, het China crowdblog.

Behoud de Nederlandse innovatieve eredivisie op het wereldtoneel

Zoals de European Union Chamber of Commerce in China de laatste jaren meerdere malen heeft aangegeven, is het zeer lastig voor Europese bedrijven om Chinese bedrijven over te nemen, terwijl dit omgekeerd relatief gemakkelijk is. De regelgeving in Nederland en Europa is gemaakt als fair level playing field voor binnenlandse en buitenlandse bedrijven. Dat is natuurlijk heel fair en ideaal, maar het is belangrijk dat Nederland en Europa zich realiseren dat China een andere agenda heeft, en dat Chinese ondernemingen in bepaalde sectoren worden beschermd ten opzichte van buitenlandse ondernemingen op de Chinese markt.

China Manufacturing 2025

De bescherming van bepaalde markten en het doel om in bepaalde sectoren controle te verkrijgen over intellectuele eigendom blijkt duidelijk uit China Manufacturing 2025 (CM2025). CM2025 is door de Chinese overheid in 2015 ingevoerd als lange termijn strategie om China op het internationale toneel tot innovatieve speler te maken. In dit beleid verandert China van goedkoop land met betrekking tot het produceren van goederen in een innovatief land. Een strategie à la Apple: “made in China, designed in California“, maar dan in die zin dat de grote winsten van de intellectuele eigendom naar China gaan en niet naar buitenlandse bedrijven. Fijn voor China in dit beleid, is dat veel grote Chinese spelers op de markt staatsbedrijven zijn, en dus makkelijk kunnen inspelen op voorgeschoteld beleid van de overheid. Continue reading “Intellectuele eigendom toetsing bij buitenlandse overnames in China” »

IP Considerations in the Medical Device & Healthcare Industry in South-East Asia

the-device-1822457_1920In today’s blog post we are discussing how to best protect your IP in the medical device and healthcare sector in South-East Asia. You will learn more about patent protection, design protection and trade mark protection in this industry. Since medical device and healthcare industry is very R&D intensive, we are also discussing how to protect your IP while conducting R&D activities in South-East Asia.  

Rapid demographic changes and health reforms within South-East Asia are expected to create enormous demands in the health care market in the near future. Growth in average annual healthcare expenditure between 2014-18 is expected to be around 11% of GDP in ASEAN – but with highly varied rates among the countries: Vietnam with the highest at 6.6% and Myanmar with the lowest at 1.8%.[1] At the same time, amongst many South-East Asia countries, local pharmaceuticals are not well trusted, making way for foreign players with strong brands to establish significant market share in South-East Asia. This offers many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs engaged in medical device and healthcare industries, as European brands with high and positive brand recognition are expected to be favored by local governments and clinicians over their lesser-known competitors.

The healthcare industry in South-East Asia also serves a rapidly growing medical tourism industry which is expanding globally at a rate of about 25% and it is claimed that nearly a third of all medical tourists in the world receive medical attention in South-East Asia[2]. Furthermore, many South-East Asian countries like Thailand and Singapore aspire to become the medical and healthcare hubs in the region, offering various opportunities for the European SMEs.

Even though, IP laws and regulations have improved a lot in South-East Asia over the past five years, counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the region. EU SMEs would therefore benefit from understanding the different intellectual property rights that are relevant to the medical device & healthcare industry and determine the effective way to protect their IP rights in South-East Asia. Continue reading “IP Considerations in the Medical Device & Healthcare Industry in South-East Asia” »

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in South-East Asia

2. Credit CardE-commerce has also been growing in South-East Asia and it’s attracting many European Companies. Together with the growth of e-commerce, the presence of counterfeit goods on these e-commerce sites has also been growing. In today’s blog post we are discussing how to remove counterfeits from the major e-commerce sites like Lazada in South-East Asia. 

A growing middle class coupled with increasing internet access has led to fast-paced e-commerce growth in South-East Asia in the past decades. The middle-class population of ASEAN, according to expert estimates, may grow from 190 million in 2012 to 400 million in 2020[1] . Additionally, there are approximately 200 million people in South-East Asia with access to the internet and this number is expected to grow three-fold by 2025. E-commerce in South-East Asia can thus offer many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs.

Besides being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights of others. The explosive growth in access to the internet has resulted in counterfeiters to move their illegal activities online. Online e-commerce websites might become easy and anonymous options for counterfeiters to reach out to potential customers as well as popular social media platforms. A recent study reported that 20% of 750,000 posts on the popular social media platform Instagram alone in relation to well-known fashion brands involved the offer of counterfeit products for sales, with many of the vendors identified to be based in China, Malaysia and Indonesia among others[2]. Continue reading “How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in South-East Asia” »