The Importance of Patent Ownership in Employment Contracts in Indonesia: A Case Study

patent-without backgroundToday’s blog post explains the importance of identifying patent ownership in employment contracts. The blog post gives a brief overview of patent protection in Indonesia followed by a case study demonstrating the need to be clear on patent ownership.

Patents in Indonesia

A patent is a right granted to the owner of an invention to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his permission. A patent may be obtained for a product or a process that gives a new technical solution to a problem or a new method of doing things, the composition of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work.

Indonesia adopts a ‘first-to–file’ patent system, meaning that the first person to file an IP right in the Indonesian jurisdiction will own that right once the application is granted. Two types of patent are recognized in Indonesia – ‘Standard Patents’ (for products and processes) and ‘Simple Patents’ (for products only). The process for obtaining a Simple Patent is supposed to be shorter, however, there is a reduced term of protection in this case, as indicated below. For all applications, applicants need to specify the scope of the protection sought and to explain how to work the invention by means of technical descriptions and drawings. Continue reading “The Importance of Patent Ownership in Employment Contracts in Indonesia: A Case Study” »

Handling Trade Secrets in China: IP Case Study

MP900387752In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at a rather overlooked means of IP protection, namely trade secrets. Even though, trade secrets are a type of IP that does not require formal registration, there are still some aspects to pay attention to when using trade secrets to protect your inventions in China. We’ve chosen a case study involving a Dutch SME to highlight some of these aspects. 

Trade Secrets in China 

Nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess trade secrets. Trade secrets are a valuable and highly useful form of intellectual property that are nevertheless often undervalued and overlooked by their owners. This is not least the case in the service sector where the relative value of trade secrets as intangible assets can be extremely high. For example, a logistics firm may not hold any patents or few trade marks and substantial copyrights, but the value of its operations could heavily derive from information contained within client lists and standard procedures.

A considerable advantage for trade secrets is that unlike some other forms of IP rights, such as patents and copyrights that have a finite term, trade secrets can theoretically enjoy an infinite term of protection so long as the trade secret remains just that – a secret. The main difference between protecting something by patent or as a trade secret is that, while technical information is publicly disclosed in patents, it is kept away from the public eye in trade secrets. A trade secret can last forever as long as the confidentiality measures that protect it continue to work. An invention patent typically expires after 20 years.

On the other hand, legal protection of trade secrets is easily lost. Once the information becomes public information, it no longer enjoys any legal protection. As a result, prevention is the golden rule when it comes to protecting your trade secrets, because once your secret is out, there is usually very little that you can do about it. China, like most other countries, provides a legal framework for the protection for trade secrets, and the law provides for remedies in the event that your trade secrets are unlawfully disclosed. Continue reading “Handling Trade Secrets in China: IP Case Study” »

Bad Faith Trade Mark Registration in China: a Case Study

shutterstock_81193486-520x345It is always important to register your trade mark in China, as IP rights are territorial and European trade marks will have no automatic protection in China. Oftentimes, European SMEs ask their local partners to take care of trade mark registration as local partners already have a good understanding of the registration process. However,  a case study of today’s blog post demonstrates that European SMEs should always be on top of their trade mark registration as local partners may sometimes register European SMEs’ trade mark in bad faith. 

Introduction

Intellectual property (IP) is a key factor in the competitiveness of business in the global economy and it is particularly relevant to the SMEs as they internationalise their business to areas such as China. Although SMEs often have limited time and resources, it is important to be aware of how IP can benefit the business. Besides helping the SMEs to protect their innovations from competitors, IP assets can also be an important source of cash-flow for SMEs through licensing deals, as well as a significant pull-factor when attracting investors.

Even though China’s IPR regime has improved over the years, counterfeiting and other IP infringements still persist in China. Thus, IP protection is of utmost importance when doing business in or with China. SMEs normally start with registering their trade mark in China when starting their business activities. Because they invest time and money into building the reputation of the company, it would be very damaging to business if someone else began using their name to sell their own products or services. Trade mark registration offers protection against infringers, as in most cases only companies with registered trade marks are able to enforce their rights in China. Continue reading “Bad Faith Trade Mark Registration in China: a Case Study” »

Trade Mark Protection in Myanmar: A Case Study

imageedit_1_8961851529In today’s blog post we are taking a look at the trade mark protection in Myanmar, a country that is in the process of modernizing its IP laws. Even though  Myanmar has published a new Draft Trade Mark Law back in 2015, the law has still not yet come to force and in the meantime EU SMEs still  need to protect their IP in Myanmar. This blog post offers some advice on how to protect your trade mark and the design of your package in Myanmar by focusing on a recent case study. 

Trade Mark Regime in Myanmar

Compared to other South-East Asian countries, Myanmar currently has the weakest IP laws and regulations in place. Myanmar is not yet a signatory of any multilateral trade mark treaty. However, in accordance with the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) , to which it has acceded, Myanmar is required to implement and comply with Articles 1-12, Article 19 of the Paris Convention and the terms of TRIPS by no later than 1st July 2021. Myanmar is now in the process of drafting several IP laws

Currently, there is still neither a particular statute nor law on trade marks, nor specific provisions regarding the registration of trade marks in Myanmar. However, the Penal Code of Myanmar defines a trade mark as “a mark used for denoting that goods are the manufactured merchandise of a particular person”. Likewise, the Private Industrial Enterprise Law provides that “a business is not allowed to distribute or sell its goods without trademark”. At present, foreign companies doing business in Myanmar have been relying on these laws to enforce their IP rights relating to trade mark. Continue reading “Trade Mark Protection in Myanmar: A Case Study” »

Enforcing IPR in China: a Case Study

courtEnforcing your IP rights in case of an infringement is one of the key factors of business success in China as the reputation of being litigious eventually discourages counterfeiters from infringing on your products. In today’s blog post we will take a look at how one French garment company dealt with IP infringements and what did the company learn from its experience.

Creative industry goods are valuable not only for their designs but often their trade marks too, and businesses should be aware that intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement can target either or both of these types of intangible assets. However, in actual cases of infringement enforcement processes are not always straightforward, and careful consideration and adaptation of strategies is necessary, as illustrated in this case study of a French garment designer.

Background

A French company “A” entered into a joint venture agreement with a Chinese company “B” in order to manufacture and export a seasonal garment collection to Europe. To minimise costs, the design of each individual piece of clothes was not been protected in China. However the trade mark appearing on the collar label was registered.

“A” was providing their new patterns to “B”, 3 to 4 months prior to the launch of their collection. “B” was then sub-contracting the manufacture of the garments to another factory of which “A” was not aware. The goods were then exported by “B” to “A”, who was receiving the goods for distribution in their stores. Additionally, “A” did not have any local representative in China to supervise and check production and quality.

After two or three collections were manufactured, the quality of the production started going down to the extent that “A” had to refuse entire shipments of goods. As the poor quality of the products was putting its business in jeopardy, “A” was forced to find an alternative way to manufacture the goods. Continue reading “Enforcing IPR in China: a Case Study” »