New Southbound Policy Focuses in on IP Protection with Taiwan-ASEAN IP Summit
【Anita Li／IP Observer Reporter】
In order to learn more about the state of IP protection in ASEAN countries, TIPO held a “Seminar On The IP Landscape in Southeast Asian Countries” on November 28 in Taipei, inviting the officers of the IPOs of five ASEAN countries, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, to exchange ideas and experience on IP protection issues including IP regulations, IP filing and enforcement. TIPO hopes the event can assist Taiwan vendors in developing their trading activities and investment plan in ASEAN.
The IPO officers from the five ASEAN countries included Phan Thanh Hai, Head of Patent Division No.1 at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam; Fatimah Rohada Dahalan, Assistant Director General (Planning & Business Development) at the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia; Sirapat Vajraphai, Acting Head of the International Cooperation Section at the Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand; Nelson P. Laluces, Deputy Director General of the Intellectual Property of the Philippines; and Ronald Sinjal Lumbuun, Head of the Subdirectorate of Prevention and Dispute Settlement at the Directorate General of Intellectual Property of Indonesia.
In recent years, ASEAN economies have been booming. While these countries are actively participating in regional economic integration initiatives, the ASEAN area has already formed a united market place with huge market opportunities. In order to face this new reality head on, the Taiwanese government is actively promoting the “New Southbound Policy”, encouraging enterprises to team up with and invest in ASEAN countries in terms of both capital, technology, and talent. When exploring the ASEAN market, intellectual property is an essential element in marketing planning, in order to maintain a competitive edge.
Sherry Hong, Director General of the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) welcomed the officers from the ASEAN IPOs in the opening speech, and stated her appreciation for their willingness to share the current state of the IP environment and ease of doing business in their own countries. Everyone recognizes that the Southeast Asian region is a newly emerging market, due to the rapid growth in recently years, the region has become a critical economy in Asia. As for Taiwan, Southeast Asia is its second largest export market, as well as the second largest target for investment. Hong indicated that IP plays an important role in terms of investment in Southeast Asia, since IP will protect the profitability of investment in the region. However, as both languages and regulations differ throughout the region, Taiwanese vendors have difficulty in getting to grips with the various IP systems. This is one of the reasons the Taiwanese government has made proactive overtures to the region, in the hope of maintaining an open line of communication.
In order to assist Taiwanese businesses in exploring the Southeast Asian market, TIPO has constructed a page on their website onupholding intellectual property rights in Southeast Asia on the TIPO website (Chinese-language only). There is information regarding the legal system, filing process, practical examination affairs of countries in the region. This facilitates Taiwanese businesses in getting to grips with the IP systems in these countries. The seminar was designed with the same purpose, as well as to offer Taiwanese businesses a chance to network with IP officials from ASEAN countries.
Hong stated that TIPO has already signed PPH agreements with Japan, the US and Korea, and is continuing to communicate with ASEAN countries in this regard. She said,“As the economy of ASEAN countries booms, they’ve seen growth in the number of IP cases, including patent and trademark cases.” If there is a shortfall in IP professionals, these IP cases may start to pile up, she added. Taiwan has had a lot of experience in reducing backlog in the IP arena, and she said they would be happy to share this with the IPOs in Southeast Asia. Around 5 years ago, an invention patent took around 46 months to grant in Taiwan, but now this has been cut down to just 16 months. TIPO previously had a backlog of 160,000 cases pending examination, but this has now been reduced to just 45,000.