IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector

200As water management is becoming an ever more pressing issue for the Philippines, there are also more opportunities for European SMEs to find promising business opportunities in the Philippines’ water management sector, especially  as European top-notch technology is highly sought after. With every opportunity also comes a risk, especially as counterfeiting and other IP violations are still commonplace in the Philippines. In today’s blog post we are taking a closer look at how European SMEs, wishing to do business in the Philippines’  water management sector, can best protect their IP. 

For a country surrounded by the ocean, it comes as no surprise that water is a priority sector in the Philippines. A large majority of its 7,000 islands directly deals with water management challenges: while some islands have water-sources still left unexplored, others are actively searching for solutions in light of a decreased water-quality. The quality of the Pasig River flowing through Manila is notorious even for international standards, especially as progress to revive its water-quality has been slow and without considerable success. This is further enhanced in light of ongoing trends related to climate change, where a combination of rising sea-levels and an ever-present risk for natural disasters – like 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan – continuously shapes how people live and engage with water.

The range of solutions needed in the Philippines is not limited to just more traditional approaches of dikes or hydro-dams. Its geographical set-up in combination with local livelihoods highly dependent on water forces European companies providing water-related services to often look for case-specific and dynamic solutions. From electricity-generation, to water-sanitation, waste-water management or disaster risk reduction, this often results in a quite complex and innovative solution where European technology can play a central role. As European companies start to tap into this promising market, they should not neglect protecting their IP rights in the Philippines a good IP strategy can make the difference between succeeding or failing in the Philippines’ market, while counterfeiting and other IP violations are still relatively commonplace in the country. Continue reading “IP Protection Strategies for European SMEs Active in the Philippines’ Water Management Sector” »

Design Patents and Utility Models in China: Know Before You Go


In today’s blog-post, we will look into the relevance of Design Patents and Utility Models for European SMEs in China. China remains among the top destinations for any business looking to internationalise, and the business environment there is still evolving in terms of both production and consumption. Its growing capacity to produce sophisticated manufactures and complex services is matched by an increasingly affluent domestic consumer base that demands state-of-the-art, internationally popular brands and products.

Patent Pending

Although stories of Chinese counterfeits and brand infringements are still regular news in international media, the IPR system in China has seen considerable development in the last decade. This is propelled to a large extent by domestic industries innovating like never before and keen to protect their new technologies, and also those trying their chances with as many IPR filings as possible in order to improve their status or satisfy local government innovation drives. Whatever the reason, the number of patent applications shows the trend clearly: a 20.5% year-on-year increase for 2015 to more than 1,124,000 applications. Also, foreign patent applications are increasing fast, boasting a 14.9% year-on-year increase for 2015.

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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” »

South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Patents and Utility Models in Malaysia

In Malaysia, as iPatentsn Europe, a patent is an invention that is new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. Essentially, a patent is what you use to protect inventions—creative and novel solutions to technical problems. The Patent Division of the Malaysia Intellectual Property Corporation handles registration of Malaysian patents by two methods: national phases of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications, or direct national applications. Utility models are referred to as Utility Innovation (Certificates) in Malaysia and are processed similarly to patents, except do not require an inventive step and can only cover a single claim per application. All applications may be filed in either English or Malay (Bahasa Malaysia), although the majority are filed in English. Additionally, the basic filing fee for patent registration in Malaysia starts from RM 1,490, or approximately EUR 330.

In today’s article we explore the different types of patent available in Malaysia, how and where to register them, and the enforcement options available.

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South-East Asia IPR Basics Series: Patent Law in Thailand

Mech Eng 2Patents grant rights holders exclusive rights to exploit an invention or process and prevent others from benefiting from this novel idea for a limited period of time (usually around 20 years).

Thailand has a comprehensive framework of legal protection for patents, which are split into two categories; invention patents, and utility model patents. This article explores the laws in place in Thailand protecting these rights, as well as the procedures required for registration, and the options available to rights holders in the event of infringement on Thai soil.

If you’d like even more information on how to protect and enforce your patents in Thailand, read our guides, or get in touch with our Helpdesk experts for free, in-depth advice, tailored to your needs.

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