Top 5 Misconceptions Start-ups Have about Patents in Singapore

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For Start-ups expanding in South-East Asia, IP protection should be considered one of its core priorities. Today’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by Ms. Chan Wai Yeng who is a patent specialist at Taylor Vinters Via LLC. Ms. Chan Wai Yeng will explore five common misconceptions regarding patenting – something which will be useful for any European Start-up looking to expand their business in South-East Asia, and Singapore in particular.

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Intellectual property protection is an important consideration for most start-ups. The exclusive monopoly that comes with patents can help start-ups carve a niche in a crowded marketplace. Patents have always been important to some industries like Big Pharma where they develop expensive drugs in lengthy R&D processes. They have become increasingly important and relevant to new business models and technologies in the technology sector.

While the concept of a patent is fairly simple to understand, there are several misconceptions about patents which I’d love to clarify. It is important to clarify these misconceptions before embarking on the intensive patenting process.

Myth 1: A patent applicant has rights to enforce his pending patent

It is a common mistake amongst first time patentees to think that once their patent application has been filed, they will immediately gain the rights to sue third parties for infringement of their patent. Rights to bring about a suit for infringement are in fact only available to the patent owner after his patent has been granted. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore indicates that patents filed in Singapore can take between 2 to 4 years to grant. Thus patentees should be aware that during the period when the patent is still pending, they are not able to take action against third parties that commercially exploits their invention.

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Patent Security Interest in China

patent-without backgroundToday’s blog post has been kindly drafted to you by our IPR expert Dr. Toby Mak from Tee & Howe Intellectual Property Attorneys and Ms. Constance Rhebergen from  Bracewell LLP .  In their article, which was first published in UK Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) Journal,  Dr. Mak  and Ms. Rhebergen give a detailed overview of China’s patent security interest market and explain how to register for patent security. Lending money to patentees with patent on mortgage is gaining popularity in China and this is something that European SMEs could also benefit from. 

In China, intellectual property assets, including patents, have certain similarities to other property rights such as real estate and tangible property, and the owner is able to dispose of such asset in any legally allowable manner. Typical transactions involving real estate include buying and selling, renting, and mortgaging. Although patents are extensively the subject of buying and selling (assignment), and renting (licensing), mortgaging (security interest or pledge) of patent rights is less common and often overlooked. Some top reasons contributing to this include the difficulty and expense in evaluation of security interest status of patents, instability of rights due to invalidation challenges, and the challenge of foreclosing upon a security interest to ensure realization (whether recovery of monies or transfer of secured asset), particularly compared to a required selling of real estate.

While intellectual property shares certain similarities with real estate and tangible property, the treatment of intellectual property differs in important aspects and is not intuitive.  Therefore, expertise regarding intellectual property security should be included in early stage development of strategy to ensure optimization of rights and value, both for financial institutions offering financing and companies involved in transactions.  Notably, while there is large group of patent attorneys knowledgeable about prosecution, managing security interests in patents is not necessarily part of their training.  Similarly, while corporate attorneys focus on security interests and financing, these specialist may be unversed in the unique aspects of intellectual property.  Identifying the right expert early in the process allows for structures and for drafting that will streamline efforts at a later date. Continue reading “Patent Security Interest in China” »

Trade Marks in China: Q&A for the International Comparative Legal Guide to Trade Marks 2017

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For any EU SME operating in China, Trade Marks will be an important IP asset to have. So in order to meet any questions you might have, our China IPR SME Helpdesk expert Mr. Charles Feng from East & Concord Partners based in Beijing has kindly drafted for us a very useful and informative blog post on Trade Mark Protection in China. In this comprehensive Trade Mark guide, our Q&A with Mr. Feng will give you all the answers you need on Trade Mark protection in China. 

1          Relevant Authorities and Legislation

1.1       What is the relevant trade mark authority in your jurisdiction?

The Trademark Office (“TMO”), which is affiliated with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, is the authorised government agency in charge of trademark administration including examinations of trademark applications, oppositions as well as the cancellation of trademark registrations for three years of non-use.  The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (“TRAB”) oversees the examination of various applications for appeals against the TMO’s decisions, as well as trademark invalidation matters.

In addition, local Administrations for Industry and Commerce (“AICs”) or Market Supervision Administrations (“MSAs”) are in charge of the administrative enforcement of trademark rights.

People’s Courts have jurisdiction over trials for trademark-related administrative or civil litigation.

1.2       What is the relevant trade mark legislation in your jurisdiction?

The most fundamental legislations include the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC Trademark Law”), the Implementing Regulations of the PRC Trademark Law as well as multiple Judicial Interpretations related to trademark law which are issued by the Supreme People’s Court.

In addition, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of PRC provides protection to unregistered marks such as distinctive names, packaging or decoration of famous goods.  The criminal code provides protection against counterfeiting activities where the illegal turnover exceeds a certain amount.

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CALISSONS EN DANGER – DES LEÇONS À TIRER ET À RETENIR

Le blogue d’aujourd’hui a été rédigé pour nous par notre expert  en propriété intellectuelle Maître Philippe Girard-Foley de GIRARD-FOLEY & Associates en réponse à la couverture médiatique de l’affaire de Calissons d’Aix. Dans cet article de blogue  Maître Girard-Foley explique le cas en détail et donne quelques conseils sur quelles mesures pourraient être prises pour protéger la marque.

Introduction 

Les médias français résonnent de nouvelles alarmantes concernant l’appropriation des Calissons d’Aix par « la Chine » qui démontrent une grave méconnaissance du sujet. Il paraît urgent de réintroduire dans ce débat un peu de rationalité, ne serait-ce que pour le bénéfice des fabricants concernés et de producteurs français placés dans des conditions semblables de supposée vulnérabilité.

Une marque sans valeur ?

Une marque « Calissons d’Aix » ne vaut rigoureusement rien en Chine sur le plan commercial. Ceci pour la simple et pourtant évidente raison que les mots la constituant sont  incompréhensibles et impossibles à mémoriser pour un consommateur chinois.

La seule valeur de cette marque pourrait être de nuisance, faisant obstacle à l’entrée sur le marché chinois du produit authentique, ce qui serait donc une valeur de rachat.

En termes commerciaux, ce qui compte est (i) la translittération en langue chinoise, basée sur un concept ou sur une analogie phonique, car celle-ci est reconnaissable par le consommateur chinois et (ii) la marque figurative de l’apparence distinctive du calisson. Continue reading “CALISSONS EN DANGER – DES LEÇONS À TIRER ET À RETENIR” »

COP 21, COP 22 et la protection juridique de la “Technologie Verte”

clean-techAvec l’entrée en vigueur de l’Accord de Paris, les PME européennes engagées dans les technologies vertes auront de nombreuses opportunités d’affaires dans le monde entier. Cependant, lorsqu’ils entrent dans les marchés lucratifs de la Chine ou de l’Asie du Sud-Est, les entreprises doivent accorder une attention particulière aux droits de propriété intellectuelle, car la contrefaçon et les autres formes de violation des droits de propriété intellectuelle persistent encore dans ces régions. Cet article de blogue  explore la protection de la propriété intellectuelle dans l’industrie des technologies propres et a été  rédigé pour nous par notre expert en propriété intellectuelle Maître Philippe Girard-Foley de GIRARD-FOLEY & Associates.

Introduction 

Alors que s’ouvre la COP 22 visant à mettre en œuvre les principes de l’Accord de Paris sur le climat entré en vigueur le 4 novembre dernier, une question qui se pose aux juristes est celle de la protection des avancées technologiques dans ce domaine. Les technologies vertes visent un objectif qui dépasse le seul profit mais n’en demeurent pas moins une branche de l’industrie, confrontée aux mêmes contraintes de rentabilité et de succès. Comme l’industrie “traditionnelle”, l’industrie verte a besoin de la propriété intellectuelle pour assurer la protection du retour sur investissement technologique et commercial. Mais la propriété intellectuelle s’est elle adaptée aux spécificités de cette industrie? Quelles sont les questions que doivent se poser les industriels de la technologie verte en matière de propriété intellectuelle? Cet article, basé sur une présentation de son auteur dans le cadre d’un webinar organisé le 7 octobre 2016 par le South-Asia IPR SME Helpdesk, un programme co-financé par l’Union Européenne et par la Chambre de Commerce Européenne en Malaisie, tente d’apporter des réponses pratiques à ces questions.

  1. Technologie verte et propriété intellectuelle : une affaire de choix

1.1. La technologie verte étant d’apparition récente, est par essence une industrie d’innovation.

Il en résulte une plus grande dépendance quant à la protection que peut offrir la propriété intellectuelle, mais aussi:

1.1.1. un coût plus important avant la mise sur le marché, ceci résultant :

  • du contenu élevé en recherche & développement (“R&D”) dans le produit final; et
  • de la nécessité de recourir, avec le brevet, à un mode de protection des actifs immatériels onéreux.

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