It was previously hoped that the 'grand opening' of Myanmar's first dedicated mark registration system under the Trademark Law 2019 would take place in April 2021. However, since the military coup in February 2021, both the commencement of the Trademark Law and the grand opening of the new registration scheme have been suspended. While uncertainty remains, parties should take extra care with their applications.
IP leaders in government and business spheres recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to counter piracy and counterfeiting on e-commerce platforms in the Philippines. The MoU seeks to establish codes of best practice among online retailers to curb online IP infringement via self-regulation. This development should reinforce confidence in the Philippine IP market and assure investors that strict enforcement measures are in place to deter potential online infringement.
In recent years, the Department of Intellectual Property has cracked down on various forms of IP rights infringement such as counterfeiting and online piracy. Two recent developments from the start of 2021 show that state-level anti-infringement measures are having a positive effect on the market.
The government recently deposited with the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. This should lead to more geographical indications of foreign origin being officially registered in Laos, as well as Laotian products obtaining registration overseas.
The government recently took steps to ensure that corporate IP owners which have been adversely affected by government measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 crisis are not excessively burdened by certain official fees of the Malaysian Intellectual Property Office. These measures will be welcomed by IP owners in Malaysia which are suffering from the effects of the harsh economic conditions in place while the pandemic continues.
The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam recently provided updated regulations on the signed authorisation required to register IP rights in Vietnam, which affect both foreign and local rights owners and applicants. The requirements constitute a more stringent approach towards the authorisation of representatives and the documentation associated with the IP rights registration process. However, for Vietnam's IP regime as a whole, this new approach represents a step in the right direction.
US distributor PetSmart Inc recently failed in a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy case against Vietnam-based pet business Pet Mart Vietnam Co Ltd before the World Intellectual Property Organisation's Arbitration and Mediation Centre. The case illustrates the fact that despite the similarity between the two companies' marks, a battle over domain names was not the most definitive method of resolution with respect to trademark enforcement.
The Department of Intellectual Property Rights has continued its aim of expanding on Cambodia's IP capabilities with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although full details of the MoU have yet to be released, it is possible that the agreement may utilise a combination of legal principles – namely, validation, re-registration and accelerated patent decisions.
Myanmar's recently enacted Trademark Law 2019 is gaining traction. The initial focus is on developing a system to register marks. This will be introduced in two phases: the 'soft opening' (which commenced 1 October 2020), followed by the 'grand opening' (scheduled for 1 April 2021). If a brand has taken any steps thus far to establish itself in Myanmar, this soft opening is a golden opportunity to get registered and stake a priority claim early.
In July 2020 Cambodia brought its ever-developing IP protection regime further into line with international standards, with the ratification of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. With consistent annual gross domestic product growth of more than 8% for the past two decades, Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This timely ratification of the convention can only increase confidence between Cambodia and the international trading community.
Trademark owners, applicants and others seeking to utilise Laos's burgeoning legal framework concerning trademark protection have been given much-needed clarity with updated guidance from the Ministry of Science and Technology. In February 2020 Decision 2822/MOST came into effect to elucidate the complete scope of the Amended Law on Intellectual Property. This article highlights some of the decision's notable elements for applicants and trademark owners in Laos.
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the IP regimes of multiple jurisdictions around the world have been forced to spring into action to increase their capabilities to provide online services, concerning both contentious and non-contentious aspects of IP matters. The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines has proven itself to be no slouch in this global race for the modernisation of legal services.
The renewal of the memorandum of understanding between the Indonesian Directorate General of Intellectual Property and the Japan Patent Office, comprising part of a joint statement of intent, has brought about an alteration to the possible timing of the filing of a request in connection with the patent prosecution highway programme between the two IP offices (concurrently renewed), which could make the examination and grant of Indonesian patents more efficient for applicants.