IP Considerations in South-East Asia for the Food and Beverages Industry

gi-pictureIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection in the food and beverage sector in South-East Asia, a sector that has recently seen a  lot of attention from the European SMEs as it offers many promising business opportunities. In this blog post you’ll learn more about branding, protecting your product packaging and protecting your authentic products from specific geographical region with Geographical Indications. 

South-East Asia is home to more than 600 million people and it is the third largest market in the world, with ten countries integrated in a common market under the ASEAN Economic Community. South-East Asia also has high economic growth between 3-10 percent per annum, which is driven primarily by consumption, due to the large population and a growing middle-class.

With higher disposable incomes and increasing health-consciousness, today’s consumers in South-East Asia are seeking healthier food and beverage choices. They tend to look for higher quality products, including those imported from overseas. This has opened up a range of attractive opportunities for European as European products are generally considered to be of high quality. However, diversity and regulatory affairs can sometimes be challenging in various local markets. South-East Asia has a wide mix of cultures, religions, customs, culinary preferences, and demographics that greatly impacts the F&B sector. For example, Indonesia and Malaysia have large Muslim populations, which could provide many business opportunities for halal-certified F&B products manufactured in Europe. Conversely, there are limited opportunities for imported wines and spirits in Indonesia and Malaysia due to the religious limitations on alcohol consumption.

European SMEs should, however, not forget to pay attention to protecting their IP, because despite the fact that most South-East Asian countries have good IP laws and regulations in place, IP infringements are relatively commonplace throughout South-East Asia. Well-managed IP is often a key factor for business success and neglecting these rights could be costly. Thus, a comprehensive IPR strategy is needed, when entering South-East Asia’s markets. Continue reading “IP Considerations in South-East Asia for the Food and Beverages Industry” »

IP Protection in Thailand for the Tourism Industry

shutterstock_85716494As the summer is fast approaching, many European companies engaged in tourism industry are looking for opportunities to expand their business into South-East Asian countries. Thailand, for example, offers many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs in tourism industry as tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in there. However, European SMEs should not let the summer’s heat take their focus away from IP protection when planning their move to Thailand, because IPR infringements are still commonplace in Thailand. Today’s blog post, thus, discusses IP Protection in Thailand, focusing particularly on the tourism industry.

Tourism industry in Thailand continues to offer many lucrative opportunities to European SMEs as Thailand remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region due to its white sandy beaches, abundant tropical nature, inexpensive accommodation and well-developed transport and communication infrastructure. Underpinned by government’s and private sector stakeholders’ recent efforts to market Thailand around the globe, the industry has grown to become one of the country’s most productive and sustainable industries, contributing a total of EUR 69bn towards the economy in 2014, making up more than 19% of the GDP of Thailand.[1]

SMEs engaged in tourism need to pay special attention to protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights, because despite recent improvements in Thailand’s IP legal framework, IP infringements are still relatively common in the country. IP rights are a key factor for business success and neglecting to register them in Thailand could easily end SMEs’ business endeavor in the country. Thus, a robust IPR strategy is needed, when entering the lucrative market of Thailand.  Continue reading “IP Protection in Thailand for the Tourism Industry” »

IP Protection for the Tourism Industry in Malaysia

tourism in MalaysiaThe first warm days of the fast-approaching spring bring along with them the desire to travel and discover new places. Many European SMEs are also  thinking about setting up their own businesses within the tourism industry in South-East Asia and particularly in Malaysia, where the tourism industry is rapidly growing. In today’s blog post we are, therefore, taking a closer look at IP protection in  the tourism industry, focusing on brand protection – the cornerstone of IP protection in the tourism industry- and the protection of internet domain names.  

Underpinned by Malaysian government’s dedication of making tourism the cornerstone of its long-term economic planning, the tourism sector is booming in Malaysia. This year, the tourism sector is expected to bring in more than EUR 22 billion, which signifies an increase of nearly 70% on 2012 levels.[1] As the government is expected to further augment tourism-related funds in coming years, plenty of business opportunities will arise for the European SMEs in Malaysian tourism sector.

SMEs engaged in tourism need to pay special attention to protecting their intellectual property (IP) rights, because IP infringements are still relatively common in Malaysia. IP rights are a key factor for business success and neglecting to register them in Malaysia could easily end SMEs’ business endeavor in the country. Thus, a robust IPR strategy is needed, when entering the lucrative market of Malaysia.  Continue reading “IP Protection for the Tourism Industry in Malaysia” »

Trade Mark Protection in Brunei Darussalam

shutterstock_152628707Last week we learned about Patent protection in Brunei Darussalam. To give you the complete overview of basic IP rights in the country, today’s blog post discusses Trade Mark protection in Brunei Darussalam. You will learn how to register your Trade Mark in Brunei Darussalam, which is very important, as IP right are territorial and your European Trade Mark is not automatically protected in Brunei Darussalam. You will also learn what IP protection is available in Brunei Darussalam for your Trade Mark and what you can do in the case of an IP infringement. 

Background for EU SMEs

Brunei Darussalam is one of the 10 countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Despite being one of the smallest ASEAN countries, it is also one of the wealthiest nations in the South-East Asian region. Brunei Darussalam has an annual GDP of EUR 10.6 billion[1] and most of its revenue comes from the exports of crude oil and natural gas.

The European Union is Brunei Darussalam’s 5th largest trading partner. The EU’s Key exports to Brunei Darussalam include pearls, precious metals, transport equipment and machinery and appliances. The EU’s key imports from Brunei Darussalam include machinery and appliances, optical and photographic instruments, pearls and precious metals.

Brunei Darussalam’s legal system is based on English Common Law and since the year 2000, Brunei Darussalam has passed various legislations on trade marks, industrial designs, copyright and patents. Brunei Darussalam’s IP legal system is in compliance with international standards, complying with international agreements and treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It is a member of a number of conventions including the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Brunei Darussalam is also a signatory of the TRIPS agreement. Brunei Darussalam is currently in talks to join the Madrid Protocol in the near future.

Trade Marks in Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam functions under the first-to-file system, which means that the first person who registers a trade mark in Brunei Darussalam, will have the right to that trade mark regardless of the trade mark’s first use. To be eligible for registration, a trademark must be visually perceptible and capable of being represented graphically. This means that the current Trade Mark Act would not recognize sounds and smells as trade marks. Continue reading “Trade Mark Protection in Brunei Darussalam” »

IP Considerations for App Developers in South-East Asia

8585049088_9d1dbcdf1f_kAs the market for smartphones is rapidly growing in South-East Asia and many European companies wish to enter the lucrative market of apps, it is time to take a look at how the European SMEs can best protect their valuable intellectual property when entering the South-East Asian markets. 

In a world of increasingly affordable smartphone technology and rapidly expanding connectivity, the digital marketplace makes room for new players on the scene: the app developers. Third party’s apps have become a core part of the smartphone package, providing users with almost limitless potential for productivity, utility, education and leisure, and apps serving as a huge part of smartphone marketing strategy and user attraction.

With the number of smartphones overtaking non-smartphones back in 2013 and total worldwide app related revenues set to top $45 billion this year, app development is an increasingly attractive industry for software producers. Continue reading “IP Considerations for App Developers in South-East Asia” »