Vietnam: A New Dawn for Vietnam Domain Name Disputes?

shutterstock_167099189Today’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk external IPR expert Mr. Thomas J. Treutler from Tilleke & Gibbins and IPR expert Mr. Loc Xuan Le from T&G Law Firm LLC (TGVN), a licensed law firm and IP agent that partners with Tilleke & Gibbins for local filings in Vietnam. Mr Treutler and Mr. Le discuss the decision by Vietnam Internet Network Information Center to withdraw from the internet domain name registry the domain name www.bmw.com.vn, which had been used by a cyber-squatter. Both experts will also explain the implications of this decision to companies, including European SMEs worried about their internet domain names in Vietnam. This article appeared first in Managing IP Magazine.

April 21, 2017, was an important milestone in the settlement of IP infringement cases relating to “.vn” domain names in Vietnam. This was the day the domain name <www.bmw.com.vn> was withdrawn by the national domain name management agency, the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC), taking control of the domain away from the registrant by “flicking a switch” at the registry. It marked the first time under recently passed legislation that VNNIC had withdrawn a domain name at the request of the intellectual property infringement settlement agency, the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

In this case, the BMW Group, owner of the world-famous BMW trademark and many <bmw> domain names, alleged that <www.bmw.com.vn> had been registered, appropriated, and used in bad faith by a cyber-squatter. The domain name had been registered by the infringing party for 12 years and BMW’s earlier attempts to regain the domain name had been unsuccessful.

Continue reading “Vietnam: A New Dawn for Vietnam Domain Name Disputes?” »

Indonesia Joins the Madrid Protocol

shutterstock_56485213More good news for the European SMEs wishing to register their trade mark in South-East Asian countries, as in addition to Thailand, Indonesia has also joined the Madrid Protocol. Today’s blog post explaining Indonesia’a accession to Madrid Protocol has been kindly drafted for us by our South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk external expert Ms. Wongrat Ratanaprayul from Tilleke & Gibbins. 

On October 2, 2017, Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights submitted its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol, making Indonesia the 100th member state under the treaty. As a result, brand owners will be able to seek protection under the Madrid Protocol from January 2, 2018, onwards.

Once the Madrid System comes into force in Indonesia, the owner of an existing International Trademark Registration (IR) will be able to expand the scope of their protection by filing a subsequent designation to its existing IR, in order to seek additional protection in Indonesia. In addition, trademark owners will be able to file an IR in any other member country designating Indonesia, and trademark owners in Indonesia will similarly be able to file an International Trademark Application to seek protection of their trademark in any other member countries.

Indonesia has opted for an 18-month deadline, within which the registrar is obliged to issue a notification of refusal of international registrations. However, in the case where an opposition is raised by a third party, the Directorate General of Intellectual Property may notify the World Intellectual Property Organization of a notification of refusal after the expiry of the 18-month time limit.   Continue reading “Indonesia Joins the Madrid Protocol” »

China IPR SME Helpdesk External Expert Charles Feng Interviewed by South China Morning Post regarding Intellectual Property Protection for Foreign-invested Companies in China

trademarkToday we would like to share with you an interview with China IPR SME Helpdesk external expert Mr. Charles Feng  from East & Concord Partners that was published in South China Morning Post. You will find the link below following the interview summary kindly drafted by East & Concord Partners. 

In August 2017, US President Donald Trump executed an administrative order to initiate an investigation against China in accordance with Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, on the basis that “China has stolen plenty of intellectual properties from American companies as well as forced American companies which plan to enter Chinese market to build unfair joint venture relationship with Chinese companies”. Thereafter, on September 8, 2017, twelve Chinese government authorities related to intellectual property protection, including State Intellectual Property Office (“SIPO”), Ministry of Public Security (“MPS”), State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”) and Supreme People’s Procuratorate (“SPP”), jointly issued the Action Plan on Intellectual Property Protection for Foreign-invested Companies, initiating a four-month nationwide campaign from September 2017 to December 2017 to combat infringements and criminal violations against intellectual property rights of foreign-invested companies. Whether a coincidence or not, the above two news may seem a little opposite, which draws much attention on the intellectual property protection for foreign-invested companies in China.

In preparation for its recent article Lessons from Donald Trump and Michael Jordan on Trademarking in China focusing on current status and strategies of trademark protection in China for foreign-invested companies, South China Morning Post (“SCMP”) interviewed several well-known experts in this field, including Charles Feng, partner of East & Concord Partners, and Liao Fei, partner at international law firm King & Wood Mallesons. Continue reading “China IPR SME Helpdesk External Expert Charles Feng Interviewed by South China Morning Post regarding Intellectual Property Protection for Foreign-invested Companies in China” »

An Introduction to Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement in China and South-East Asia

Quote

This article is written by our China IP Expert, Ms Alessandra Chies, on the occasion of the Texworld Trade Fair, the No.1 European Trade Fair for Worldwide Apparel Sourcing which this year took place in Paris on 18-21 September. It gathered over 600 international suppliers, companies and EU SMEs, as well as about 950 fabrics manufacturers from 27 countries. 90px-Aguayos This article provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to Intellectual Property protection and enforcement in China and South-East Asia, and summarizes the main talking points discussed by Alessandra Chies at Texworld on 18 September 2017. 

Intellectual Property (IP) protection is a primary method for securing a return on investment in innovation, offering to IP owners a competitive edge that others will not have. SMEs invest a tremendous amount of time, passion and monetary efforts in R&D and marketing, but often fail to consider that, in most countries, the only way to enjoy exclusive rights over their creative efforts and their business identity (trademark) is through IPRs registration. Considering that in the textile sector one single product can brilliantly encompass almost all form of IP rights, understanding and defending them is a paramount objective: a Patent for the new man-made yarn, the Design for an innovative texture of the fabric, the Copyright for the drawing painted on it, the Trade-secret for the dying procedure and the Trademark as representation of the business identity, all in one small piece of cloth.

The point is that Trademarks, Designs, Patents, are territorial rights and most countries adopt the first to file principle: this means in practice that the IPRs belong to their creator only if their creator was the first one to register it in that Country. And each Country in the world has its set of rules, its peculiarities, its advantages and pitfalls. Without being secured through registration, with the assistance of lawyers, expert in the jurisdiction, your IPRs can be freely exploited by anybody else. Considering the importance of the China market and the wonderful opportunities it offers in terms of production abilities, raw and semi-processed materials and the growing purchasing power and awareness of Chinese consumers, SMEs cannot afford to put-off investments in IP registration and enforcement in China and in the South-East Asian countries that are slowly but steadily emerging. Continue reading “An Introduction to Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement in China and South-East Asia” »

Thailand Joins Madrid Protocol

Quote

On August 7, 2017, the Thai government officially deposited the instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with the WIPO, marking the starting date of the three-month period before the Protocol becomes effective in Thailand. Consequently, the Madrid System will come into effect for Thailand (the 99th member) as from November 7, 2017.

In its instrument, the government makes declarations on three issues. Firstly, a period to issue provisional refusal will be extended to eighteen months, with further extension possible in case of an opposition. Secondly, an individual fee to be specified in Ministerial Regulations to be issued by virtue of the accession will apply to international applications/registrations designating Thailand. Thirdly, recordal of a license agreements with the International Bureau will not be effective with regard to Thai applications/registrations.

After this deposition, the next step is to issue Ministerial Regulations to elaborate on the process. It is anticipated that the Regulations will contain the following details:

  • All documents submitted through the Thai Trademark Office to the International Bureau must be in English. If the Thai Office finds an international application incorrect or incomplete, the applicant will have to remedy it within 15 days upon receipt of a notice. Otherwise, the Thai Office may not be able to forward the application to the International Bureau within 120 days and the date of filing with the Thai Office will not be considered as the filing date of the international application. If the applicant does not comply with the Thai Office’s notice within 120 days, the application will be deemed abandoned.
  • For an international application designating Thailand, the Thai Trademark Office will translate the necessary content into Thai. In case of provisional refusal, the applicant is required to appoint an agent in Thailand to deal with it.  The response may have to be in Thai. In case of failure to respond, the Thai Office may partially accept the application for the goods/services in relation to which the refusal does not apply.

Continue reading “Thailand Joins Madrid Protocol” »