Handling of Trade Secrets in South-East Asia: Focus on Thailand

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fgjTrade secrets are an excellent but often under-exploited means of IP protection for the SMEs. In Today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at trade secret protection in South-East Asia in general as well as in Thailand in particular. You will learn about general trade secret protection requirements and trends in South-East Asia and will get a closer overview of trade secret protection in Thailand in particular. 

Trade secrets are a highly valuable form of intellectual property that nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess. However, they are frequently overlooked by businesses, partly because there is confusion about what actually constitutes a trade secret. So what is a trade secret?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), any confidential business information that is of considerable commercial value to businesses and that provides an enterprise with a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. In practice, this could be:

  • sales methods
  • distribution methods
  • consumer profiles
  • advertising plans
  • pricing strategies
  • lists of suppliers and clients
  • manufacturing processes

In other words, more often than not trade secrets are the ‘know-how’ that a business builds up over time. Typically, the longer the SME is in business the more valuable its trade secrets will become, and the more its business grows the more its competitors will seek to discover this valuable working knowledge. Therefore, it is increasingly important to take steps to protect trade secrets. Continue reading “Handling of Trade Secrets in South-East Asia: Focus on Thailand” »

Intellectual Property Rights Protection for EU SMEs related to Smart City Solutions

Lily Pictures - v01Smart City Solutions have become the hot topic throughout South-East Asia and the European SMEs engaged in the industries connected to Smart City Solutions are expected to find many promising business opportunities in the region. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection related to Smart City Solutions in Vietnam. You will learn about whether to protect your inventions with patents or whether you should rely on trade secrets.  

With the rapid development of Vietnam’s cities has come a growing urban integration of information systems. This enhances the city’s efficiency as well as the quality of life of its citizens for many crucial metropolitan features such as mobility, healthcare, waste management, energy, or water-access[1]. Online interconnected systems and a reliance on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) features play a key role in these advancements[2]. The province of Binh Duong, for instance, has started cooperating with the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group to develop the necessary ICT infrastructure with local government agencies.

The importance of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in such context then becomes apparent. By combining a growing demand for high-tech solutions to tackle urban challenges with a tech-savvy population, Vietnam’s cities provide plenty of opportunities for European SMEs to expand their businesses. Yet European SMEs dealing with smart solutions should be mindful of possible IPR risks at hand. They often provide highly innovative niche solutions, but for many urban problems, a solution can only be made successful through a combination of interdependent technologies. In effect, European SMEs may need to expose their innovations to third parties on a regular basis, thus increasing the risks of IP infringement if proper measures are not taken in advance, says Valentina Salmoiraghi, IP Business Advisor. Continue reading “Intellectual Property Rights Protection for EU SMEs related to Smart City Solutions” »

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?” »

How to use the Patent Cooperation Treaty: Focusing on South-East Asia

patent-without backgroundIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how to use the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) when applying for patents in multiple South-East Asian Countries. You will learn what are the benefits of the PCT and what is requested in the international as well as national phases of application. 

What is the PCT?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is a multilateral treaty that was established in Washington in 1970 and is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The treaty makes it possible to obtain simultaneous patent protection for an invention in each PCT Contracting State by filing an international patent application. An application may be filed by a national citizen or a resident of a PCT Contracting State. All European countries, as well as China, are contracting parties to the PCT and in South-East Asia, all nations except for Cambodia and Myanmar are contracting parties.

Filing an international PCT application automatically includes all countries bound by the PCT. The application has the same effect in each country as if a national patent application had been filed with the national patent office. Therefore if an SME wishes to enter into several different South-East Asian markets, it would be time –efficient to file an international PCT application rather than preparing several different applications for individual countries. Continue reading “How to use the Patent Cooperation Treaty: Focusing on South-East Asia” »

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” »