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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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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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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IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector

Manufacture5Underpinned by the Chinese Government’s ambitious Manufacturing 2015 Plan, mechanical engineering sector is expected to offer many lucrative business opportunities in China for the European SMEs in the near future. SMEs wishing to do business in China should keep in mind that despite recent improvements in Chinese IP laws, counterfeiting and other IP infringements are still commonplace in China. Thus, European SMEs need to have a good IP protection strategy in place when entering China’s market. In today’s blog post we are taking a look at IP issues specific to the mechanical engineering sector and offer some first-hand advice on how you can protect your IP in China. 

China’s economic success has been built on manufacturing on a massive scale and despite the economic slow-down, manufacturing is still growing. For example, in the five years to 2015, electrical equipment and machinery manufacturing revenue has been increasing 10.1% annually to EUR 7.8 billion[1].

This has made China’s demand for machinery, tools and related technologies insatiable, making it a potential marketplace for Europe’s high quality products and innovative technologies.

Mechanical engineering sector is expected to see increased growth and opportunities for the European SMEs in the coming years as Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has recently unveiled its Manufacturing 2025 Plan, which aims at lifting china from the ‘big industrial country’ to the ‘powerful industrial country’. Manufacturing 2025 Plan aims at upgrading China’s manufacturing industry by making greater use of technologies like cloud computing. Manufacturing 2025 Plan is especially beneficial for the mechanical engineering sector as the government has chosen many relative industries like automated machine tools and robotics, aerospace and aeronautical equipment, new-energy and power equipment and agricultural equipment as some of the leading industries for the Plan.  These are also the areas, where European SMEs can expect most opportunities.

Unfortunately, IP infringements are still rampant in China. However, as China’s market develops, legislators and enforcement authorities have made progress in updating IPR practices and educating Chinese manufacturers. As a result, patent applications have rocketed and new IP registration procedures and IPR courts have made application and enforcement of IP rights more accessible for foreign actors. Furthermore, the Manufacturing 2025 Plan is expected to further improve the IPR environment.   Continue reading “IPR Protection Strategies in China for the Mechanical Engineering Sector” »

Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program and Patent Information Data Exchange Between Vietnam and Japan


patent-prosecution-highwayToday’s blog post has been kindly drafted for us by our IPR experts Mr. Max Ng and  Ms. Amira Nabila Budiyano from the Gateway Law Corporation, who will discuss the Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program between Vietnam and Japan. The Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program is important as it can accelerate the examination of patent applications in Vietnam. The experts will explain how the Patent Prosecution Highway works and how SMEs from Europe and around the world can benefit from the program.  

Background 

One of the problems currently faced by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (“NOIP”) is the increasing backlog of patent applications, which is one of the main reasons for the delayed examination of patent applications in Vietnam. This may adversely affect the quality of patent examination, as the bigger the backlog, the less time the examiners would have for reviewing the patent applications. The backlog of patent applications may further hinder the innovation process of the country while also posing a real concern to foreign businesses and investors wanting to venture into the Vietnam market. The Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program between the NOIP and the Japan Patent Office (“JPO”), which came into effect on 1 April 2016, is therefore a much welcomed move by the NOIP to cope with the increasing backlog and accelerate examination of patent applications in Vietnam. Continue reading “Patent Prosecution Highway Pilot Program and Patent Information Data Exchange Between Vietnam and Japan” »