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” »

Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China

MP900438585In today’s blog post we are discussing how to protect IP when seeking Chinese manufacturers and will address what it takes to design an NNN (non-use, non-disclosure, and non-circumvention agreements) which can pose enough of a credible threat to dissuade contract violations.

Defining protected information: keeping everyone on the same page

NNN agreements should clearly define which rights are being disclosed or licensed, their nature, and their scope. Clear mechanisms for identifying and marking, accounting for, and maintaining secrecy for this information (or indications of who will bear these responsibilities, what general types of information should be considered confidential, or processes for retroactively marking material as confidential) should be present. If desired, additional clauses can also outline what types of information will not be considered confidential. Naturally, before these types of information can be identified, an SME should first understand just what its trade secrets are. Conducting an IP assessment and audit can identify key IP which was otherwise taken for granted or not fully appreciated by the SME and can assign a value to the IP which will make calculating contract damages much easier.

While the contract is in force, these rules should be strictly followed. Over the course of the contract, additional IP may be generated as a result of the work of employees or independent innovations on the part of the manufacturer. NNN agreements can also include clauses which dictate that all such IP belongs to the SME and can thereby avoid future disputes. Note, however, that China places restrictions on the export of some technology—meaning that agreements automatically granting new IP to the SME could be struck down in court. Continue reading “Writing a Good Manufacturing Non-disclosure Agreement in China” »

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” »

Protecting R&D Innovations in the Philippines

Mech Eng 2In today’s blog post we are discussing how to protect your IP in the Philippines while conducting R&D activities. You’ll learn more about Non-Disclosure contracts and patents and how to protect your new IP that is being created in the Philippines. 

Many European SMEs may not consider that they conduct any research and development (R&D) in the Philippines because they do not have a laboratory or research facility there, but in reality, a high proportion of these companies engage in activities which fall under at least one of the terms: research or development.

Some examples of R&D might include an SME that enters into a contract with a local company to use their engineers to develop a prototype into a commercial product or application; or an SME that works with local researchers in a Philippine university to design a digital database that is to be accessible via the Internet to users in Europe.

Even though the Philippines has its problems with R&D, as according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, published by the World Economic Forum, it ranked 83rd out of 138 countries in terms of technological readiness[1], the Philippines’ government is committed to making the country an ‘active player’ in the global knowledge economy[2]. This means that European SMEs can have promising business opportunities in the Philippines’ R&D sector as their know-how will be highly sought after.

IP is a critical consideration for European SMEs that come to the Philippines wishing to tap into this increasingly high-tech production network, or the talent pool for technology development. When engaging in R&D in the Philippines, new intellectual property is being created, the rights to which need to be clearly defined from the outset to avoid disagreements later. Continue reading “Protecting R&D Innovations in the Philippines” »

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” »