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 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” »

IP Protection Strategies in China for Start-ups

growthIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how start-ups, planning to set up their activities in China or have their products produced in China,  could best protect their IP rights. You will learn more about the importance of patent protection and trade mark protection and why these types of IP are essential for the start-ups.

For small start-ups the prospect of where to even start with an IP strategy can oftentimes be a daunting task as other concerns like building a good team, structuring the company, attracting investment and developing the product tend to take up all the time and attention of the business owners. At the same time, a robust IP Strategy is crucial for business’ success when planning to enter the lucrative market of China. Besides helping the start-ups to protect their innovations from competitors, IP assets can also be a significant pull-factor when attracting investors.

Protect your inventions with patents

Patent protection in extremely important for start-ups as patents protect innovations, limit competition and help to defend against claims of infringement by other companies producing similar products. Furthermore, patents can attract investors, which is fundamental for start-ups. Thus it is important to apply for patent protection in China when planning to enter its market. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies in China for Start-ups” »

IP Considerations in Thailand for Healthcare and Medical Technologies Sector

medic-563423_1920In Today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at the IP protection in Thailand’s healthcare and medical technologies sector that similarly to Singapore, covered last week, has been offering promising business opportunities for the European SMEs. You will learn more about what types of IP are connected to the healthcare industry and how you can best protect these types of IP in Thailand.

Being one of the leading destinations for medical tourism in Asia Pacific region with the ambition of becoming the international key driver of medical devices growth, Thailand offers many promising opportunities business opportunities to European SMEs engaged in healthcare and medical technologies sector, whose topnotch technology is increasingly sought after. Furthermore, as Thai population is aging rapidly, with the expectation that by 2025 people over 60 will make up 22% of the whole population, the demand for medical devices and technologies will increase considerably[1].

European SMEs who are engaged in the field of diagnostic imaging, orthopaedics & prosthetics and dental products can expect to find plenty of business opportunities in Thailand, as these areas are currently developing fastest in the country. Furthermore, as 85.2% of the medical device market in Thailand is supplied by imports[2], there will also be business opportunities for European SMEs engaged in other areas of healthcare and medical technologies industry. Due to good geographical location, Thailand could also serve as a springboard to Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Intellectual Property Rights are very relevant in the healthcare and medical sector as companies operating in the field heavily rely on technology, software, and brand reputation. Not only a way to help protect innovations and new products from competitors, IP assets can also be an important source of cash-flow through licensing deals or selling IP, as well as a significant pull-factor when attracting investors. European SMEs should also not forget to pay attention to protecting their IP, because IP infringements are still commonplace in Thailand. 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 Thailand’s market, says Valentina Salmoiraghi, IP Business Advisor. Continue reading “IP Considerations in Thailand for Healthcare and Medical Technologies Sector” »