Design Rights Protection in South-East Asia

shutterstock_385731427In today’s blog post, we are discussing the protection of design rights in South-East Asia. You’ll learn how to protect the aesthetic aspects of your products or how to protect some aspects of your product packaging. The article also gives an overview on how to enforce your rights once an infringement has occurred.

It is essential for SMEs doing business in South-East Asia to protect their intellectual property rights, as poor IP strategy often leads to the end of business endeavor in the region. Design rights are useful, but oftentimes overlooked means of protecting IP in South-East Asia.

An industrial design right, also known as a design patent in certain jurisdictions, is an exclusive right, which protects designs which give a competitive edge to the owner over competitors due to their aesthetic appeal. Industrial designs can take the form of either two- or three-dimensional shapes, configuration or patterns. Prominent examples include the iPod, shape of the Coca Cola bottle, computer icons, and even the design of mobile applications.

To obtain industrial design protection, SMEs must file an application to register the design in all the countries they foresee business activities, since design rights like other IP rights are territorial. Like patents, protection for industrial rights lasts for a limited period and the duration can vary from country to country. Generally, protection lasts for at least 10 years. Continue reading “Design Rights Protection in South-East Asia” »

Protecting the Interior Design of Shops in China

6. Fashion and DesignIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look on how European SMEs could protect the interior design of shops in China, as it is not unprecedented that even the design of your shop may get copied. You’ll  learn more about trade dress, copyright and design patent protection as viable options for protecting the interior design of your shop. 

When Brent Hoberman, founder of online interior design and furniture store, made a trip to China one man was particularly keen to meet him. When they met, the man explained that he wanted to launch a web business but had no idea how to do it until he found and copied it. He only wished to express his appreciation personally to Mr Hoberman.

In 2011 the residents of Kunming, a city in the South-Western region of China were delighted to find an IKEA shop there. The copycat store is an enormous, multi-level shop that sells modern IKEA-like furniture and even copies the distinctive blue and yellow branding. The residents realized it was a fake, but have little choice as the closest real IKEA is in Chongqing, 940km away.

Store layouts, colours and designs become synonymous with a brand, so imitation of a store interior is very damaging to companies. At times it is increasingly difficult to separate the real from the fake.

There is a saying in China, 山高皇帝远 (shāngāo huángdìyuǎn), which means the mountains are high and the emperor is far away, a saying that perfectly encapsulates the reason why some counterfeiting still happens in China, particularly in faraway places such as Kunming. Continue reading “Protecting the Interior Design of Shops in China” »

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?” »

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” »