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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Copyright Protection in Myanmar

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Country’s Background for European SMEs

Myanmar is an emerging market showing steady growth rates since the country set itself on a course of political liberalisation. Despite being one of the poorest ASEAN nations, the country’s economy grew at around 8.5% in the 2014/2015 fiscal year, with economic reforms bolstering consumer and investor confidence. The service sector was the main driver of growth thanks to expansions in telecommunications and transportation. Myanmar is an emerging economy with a GDP of $64.3 billion, which is attracting more and more foreign investments. Its 53.4 million strong population is mainly occupied in the agricultural sector. However, the garment and mining industries, as well as wood products also take up a significant part of the economy.

EU imports for Myanmar are dominated by the textile industry, accounting for nearly 80% in 2011, making it the 29th largest trading partner for the EU for clothing. Agricultural products also play a significant role in Myanmar’s exports to the EU. EU exports to Myanmar on the other hand are dominated by machinery and transport equipment. EU exports to Myanmar have risen steadily since its increasing political liberalisation.

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IP TIPS and WATCH-OUTS in Indonesia

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indonesiaIn this blog post, we will provide you with all the basics you need to successfully protect your Intellectual Property Rights in Indonesia. Known for its diverse and rapidly growing market, Indonesia provides opportunities for many European SMEs interested to expand their business into South-East Asia. This blog post will give a concise overview of IP tips and watch-outs for Indonesia – enjoy.

General IP TIPS and WATCH-OUTS in Indonesia

  • Indonesia recognises ‘well–known’ trade marks (recognition of this is made on a case-by-case basis), but only to the extent that they may be used to prevent a third party from registering a similar trade mark, at least in theory. Often, ‘bad-faith’ registrations (intentionally registering someone else’s pre-existing IP) get registered by third parties and the rightful owner has to go through the expensive process of filing proceedings in the commercial court to cancel these bad-faith registrations.
  • When the need arises to enforce rights through the authorities, it is best that IP rights owners be aware of recent media coverage of corruption cases in Indonesia. The fact that corruption cases have been surfaced demonstrates the government’s efforts at cleaning up corruption cases; however it is still worth discussing a potential corruption risk with your attorney when enforcing your rights via the authorities.
  • Because IP rights enforcement in Indonesia can still be problematic, it is essential to register your rights there in order to stand a chance of defending them. Intellectual Property Rights are territorial in nature, which means that registrations in one country’s jurisdiction are not automatically enforceable in others, and therefore registrations in multiple countries may be necessary, particularly for businesses looking to internationalise. Indonesia operates under a ‘first-to file’ system, meaning that the first person to file an IP right in the Indonesian jurisdiction will own that right once the application is granted.

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IP Protection Strategies in the Philippines for the Logistics and Transportation Industry

Logistics3In today’s blog post we will discuss the IP protection in the Logistics and Transportation industry –  one of the fast-growing industries in the Philippines that is also expected to offer promising business opportunities to European SMEs whose top-notch technology is especially sought after. The blog post offers some practical tips on IP protection to keep in mind before entering the promising market of the Philippines. 

The logistics and transportation industry in the Philippines is growing steadily due to strong economic growth in the country and gradual increase in domestic demand fueled by the rise of the country’s middle class and increase in remittances from workers abroad. According to various studies, the industry is expected to grow as much as 16.7% by 2020.[1] Opportunities for logistics providers also continue to expand thanks to the steady growth in the Philippine’s e-commerce sector.

However, transportation costs in the Philippines are still significantly higher than in many other ASEAN countries, notably in Malaysia and Thailand. This is due to the geographic challenges that the Philippines faces as a conglomerate of islands, but also due to unclear regulations imposed by different government agencies that sometimes induce informal payments.[2] The transportation and logistics industry also faces some infrastructural challenges as the country still suffers from congestion on the roads in urban areas and at seaports. For example, clearance time for shipments at ports is more than twice as long in the Philippines than in many of its neighboring countries.

On the other hand, this year the Philippine government has put forward an ambitious plan of modernizing and improving the country’s infrastructure such as building new roads, railways, airports and improving the situation of seaports.  The government has also committed itself to improving the regulations and to fight corruption in transportation sector.[3] This means that the transportation and logistics industry would offer lucrative business opportunities for European SMEs in the near future.

European logistics and transportation SMEs wishing to enter the Philippines’ market need to keep in mind that despite the improvements in the Philippines’ IP laws and regulations, counterfeiting and other IP infringements are still commonplace in the country and thus a robust IP strategy is needed to grow their business in the Philippines. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies in the Philippines for the Logistics and Transportation Industry” »

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” »