IP Considerations in Fashion, Design and Lifestyle industry in South-East Asia

fashion2In today’s blog post we are discussing IP protection in fashion, design and lifestyle sector, as this sector is offering more and more business opportunities to  European SMEs in South-East Asia. You’ll learn how to protect your brand in South-East Asia as well as how to protect your design and other creative works.  

The fashion, design and lifestyle sector is a significant driver in South-East Asia’s creative economy. The global fashion industry has traditionally been one of the most lucrative industries, with sales generated in the trillions globally. This is especially true in South-East Asia, where consumers gravitate towards fashion and do not shy away from paying top dollar for luxury fashion products. Singapore, for instance, holds a 2% share of the world apparel market and their fashion industry generates sales of USD3.6 billion[1] (approx. EUR3.1 billion). In Indonesia, it contributed about USD49.3 trillion (approx. EUR42.8 trillion) to the GDP, with the fashion industry alone accounting for 28% of total earnings in the creative economy[2].

Among the South-East Asian countries, the design and lifestyle industry is classified as emerging industries especially in Singapore where, an ad hoc organization, the Design Singapore Council, was established in 2003 to help develop the nation’s design sector, following the Economic Review Committee’s report which identified the creative industry as one of the three new sectors for economic growth of the country.  Similarly, the Thai government is making investments to further strengthen its fashion industry, as for example it is actively supporting the “Bangkok Fashion City” project launched in February 2004, which aims to turn Bangkok into a fashion hub in the South East Asia region and into a world fashion centre.[3]

Given the potential for growth in the fashion, design and lifestyle economy in the South-East Asia region, there is tremendous value in understanding how SMEs can protect their intellectual property in the region. Even though, IP laws and regulations have been considerably improved in most South-East Asian Countries, counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the region and thus a comprehensive IP strategy is needed before starting business in the fashion and lifestyle industry in South-East Asia. Continue reading “IP Considerations in Fashion, Design and Lifestyle industry in South-East Asia” »

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” »