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” »

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” »

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from Major E-Commerce Sites in China

2. Credit CardDespite the fact that Chinese IP laws have improved a lot in the past years, counterfeiting still exists in China. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how European SMEs can fight against counterfeits on China’s major e-commerce sites like Taobao and Jingdong. This blog post offers some advice on how to find counterfeits of your product online and explains the mechanisms that exist for removing counterfeits from major e-commerce websites.

China: Counterfeit goods and the internet

The internet has become a popular and easy channel for product distribution around the world. It has created a marketplace of more than half a billion users in China, more than a third of the world’s total online population, and is still expanding. Apart from being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by illegal and unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights.

As the internet provides a convenient platform for counterfeits, we recommend that every European SME (especially those with successful products) should monitor Chinese e-commerce sites for infringing products. By moving quickly you will be able to have infringing products removed from sale and preserve your market share. Although some companies find that internet monitoring is time consuming but you may find yourself at high risk if you sell your product on the Chinese market, manufacture your product in China or even if you have a popular product on sale in Europe.

This guide provides you with information on the regulations governing e-commerce and a practical introduction on how to have infringing products removed from two popular Chinese e-commerce sites: Alibaba and Taobao.

Continue reading “How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from Major E-Commerce Sites in China” »

Indonesia: New Notice Allows for Revival of Lapsed Patents

patent-without backgroundGood news for the European SMEs whose patents in Indonesia have lapsed because of non-payment, it is now possible to revive these patents. Today’s blog post explaining the decision of Indonesia’s Directorate General of Intellectual Property about the revival of lapsed patents has  been kindly drafted for us by our South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk external expert Ms. Wongrat Ratanaprayul from Tilleke & Gibbins. 

Indonesia’s Directorate General of Intellectual Property issued a notice on December 28, 2017, addressing the revival of null and void patents. The notice allows patent holders, licensees, and intellectual property consultants to revive patents that have lapsed due to non-payment of annuities.

It is now possible to revive a lapsed patent by completing payment of annuity fees that were not paid on time according to the law. In order to do so, the patent holder must submit a declaration stating that they will not take any legal action against another party for infringement of the revived patent during the lapsed period.

There is no explanation as to whether third parties must immediately cease practicing a previously lapsed patent once it has been revived, or whether the patent owner would have the ability to take legal action against such a third party for ongoing infringement once the patent has been revived.

This notice leaves serious concerns about what happens to third parties who have started lawfully using a patent after it has lapsed. Since no further detail on this notice is available, the business implications for such third parties could be tremendous.

For holders of lapsed patents, however, the ability to recover such rights is a significant opportunity. Patent owners should therefore review their patent portfolios in Indonesia and assess whether to take advantage of this new opportunity to revive lapsed patents. Continue reading “Indonesia: New Notice Allows for Revival of Lapsed Patents” »