IP Considerations for the Manufacturing Industry in South-East Asia

cool20080814_015In today’s blog post we are looking into how to protect IP in the manufacturing industry in South-East Asia, which is currently offering many opportunities for the European SMEs. You’ll learn more about patent protection and industrial design protection, but also about brand protection, as your brand is equally important to your patent. 

Manufacturing is one of the key drivers of growth in South-East Asia, with more and more South-East Asian countries winning manufacturers over from China due to lower labour costs, rising domestic consumption and improving infrastructure. Well-known brands such as Coca-Cola and Coach have so far established plants in Myanmar and Vietnam, leveraging on the cheap labour market and growing domestic demand in these countries. In Cambodia, the textiles and footwear manufacturing industry alone generates approximately EUR 5 billion annually for the economy.

In the coming years, it is expected that the manufacturing industry in South-East Asia will continue to stay strong and even expand further. The expansion of the working-age population in South-East Asia will help to boost the manufacturing sector of these countries and keep the labour costs low. The transfer of technology into South-East Asia over time will also serve to increase the efficiency of countries in this region. As such, South-East Asia offers vast opportunities for EU SMEs that are looking to expand their presence in the region. In so doing, however, EU SMEs should be aware of the intellectual property risks that they will face when operating in this region, with respect to the advanced technology that may be transferred to this region as part of the collaboration and joint venture with SME’s local partners.
Continue reading “IP Considerations for the Manufacturing Industry in South-East Asia” »

IP Considerations in the Medical Device & Healthcare Industry in South-East Asia

the-device-1822457_1920In today’s blog post we are discussing how to best protect your IP in the medical device and healthcare sector in South-East Asia. You will learn more about patent protection, design protection and trade mark protection in this industry. Since medical device and healthcare industry is very R&D intensive, we are also discussing how to protect your IP while conducting R&D activities in South-East Asia.  

Rapid demographic changes and health reforms within South-East Asia are expected to create enormous demands in the health care market in the near future. Growth in average annual healthcare expenditure between 2014-18 is expected to be around 11% of GDP in ASEAN – but with highly varied rates among the countries: Vietnam with the highest at 6.6% and Myanmar with the lowest at 1.8%.[1] At the same time, amongst many South-East Asia countries, local pharmaceuticals are not well trusted, making way for foreign players with strong brands to establish significant market share in South-East Asia. This offers many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs engaged in medical device and healthcare industries, as European brands with high and positive brand recognition are expected to be favored by local governments and clinicians over their lesser-known competitors.

The healthcare industry in South-East Asia also serves a rapidly growing medical tourism industry which is expanding globally at a rate of about 25% and it is claimed that nearly a third of all medical tourists in the world receive medical attention in South-East Asia[2]. Furthermore, many South-East Asian countries like Thailand and Singapore aspire to become the medical and healthcare hubs in the region, offering various opportunities for the European SMEs.

Even though, IP laws and regulations have improved a lot in South-East Asia over the past five years, counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the region. EU SMEs would therefore benefit from understanding the different intellectual property rights that are relevant to the medical device & healthcare industry and determine the effective way to protect their IP rights in South-East Asia. Continue reading “IP Considerations in the Medical Device & Healthcare Industry in South-East Asia” »

Structural changes in IPR registration and Enforcement bodies in China

EU SMEs should be made aware of important changes made to the structure of Intellectual Property registration, management and enforcement governing bodies in China which were announced in the context of the annual plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (also known as ‘Two Sessions’) which took place in early March. The restructuring of IP management and enforcement bodies is part of a wider reorganization of China’s  ministries and agencies in order to increase their efficiency. The date at which these changes will come into effect has not yet been announced.

The following existing entities are to merge together and fall under the umbrella of a newly created State Market Supervision Administration (SMSA):

  • State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO): This is the Chinese patent office and it is also in charge of the IP foreign affairs. This is the entity at which European SMEs register their patents in China.
  • State Administration of Industry and Commerce’s Function of Trademark Management: Currently Trademark registration is handled before CTMO (China Trade Mark Office), which is under SAIC (State Administration of Industry and Commerce).
  • General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine’s Function of “Place of Origin” Label Management (AQSIQ): They are currently in charge of Geographical Indications. GIs are registered here in China by the regional organisations responsible for these GIs.

Continue reading “Structural changes in IPR registration and Enforcement bodies in China” »

Chinese Court Issues First GUI Case Decision

17471462035_4b3ff87149_kToday’s blog post has been kindly shared with us by Ferrante Intellectual Property. The article discusses a recent Beijing IP Court case on the Graphical User Interface infringement. In it’s first ruling of the kind, the the IP Court has decided that the GUI cannot be protected separately from the type of the device it is applied to under the design patent protection. 

The Beijing IP Court issued a decision on the very first Graphical User Interface (GUI) infringement case in China. The lawsuit was lodged by Qihu 360 Inc. (Qihu) against Beijing Jiangmin Technology Co., Ltd (Jiangmin). Qihu claimed that the externalizing interface of Jiangmin’s software was identical to Qihu’s GUI design of “Computer with GUI” and that Jiangmin’s behaviour constituted patent infringement. In its decision, the Beijing IP Court dismisses Qihu’s claim and found that in determining the protection scope of a GUI design patent, the GUI design and that of the product using GUI shall be both considered. Hence, it held that the protection scope of Qihu’s GUI design patent shall be limited to the product of computer. Since Jiangmin’s software does not belong to the same or similar category of computer, Jiangmin’s behavior of providing the software does not constitute patent infringement. In this specific case, the users downloaded the software on their computers, which according to the Court does not constitute patent infringement. Even considering Jiangmin’s software as an “intermedium”, Jiangmin’s behavior of providing the software does not constitute indirect patent infringement. The decision gave rise to many debates, with experts arguing that existing patent law and regulations fail to properly protect GUI design. Continue reading “Chinese Court Issues First GUI Case Decision” »

IP Protection for the ICT Industry in Malaysia

board-453758_1920In today’s blog post we are discussing IP protection in Malaysia’s ICT industry, which has recently been offering many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs. You’ll  learn more about patent and design protection and how to ensure that your brand is safe from counterfeiting. 

Malaysia has a booming ICT industry with the ICT sector being forecasted to contribute about 20% to the country’s GDP by 2020.[1] The ICT sector is being further supported by Malaysian government that has taken special interest in developing the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. The government namely hopes that adoption of cloud computing and building on the National Broadband Initiative, would accelerate Malaysia’s development into an advanced economy[2].

As the government is investing heavily into ICT- related projects like developing smart city infrastructure or strengthening cybersecurity, the ICT sector will offer many promising business opportunities for the European SMEs whose top-notch technology and know-how are highly sought after through encouragement of foreign investments in the ICT sector.

European ICT companies should, however, pay attention to protecting their IP rights when planning their business strategy for Malaysia’s market, because IP infringements are still relatively common in the country. Well-managed IP is often a key factor for business success and neglecting to register IP rights in Malaysia could easily end SMEs’ business endeavor in the country. Thus, a robust IPR strategy is needed, when entering Malaysia’s market. Continue reading “IP Protection for the ICT Industry in Malaysia” »