Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Piracy in ASEAN bites its own too

Some say that until local enterprises feel the harm of IP violation, governments will not improve their IP protection. IP Komodo doubts this, as after 15 years in the region, his observation is that for many years local industry has been harmed by poor IP protection. More usually it is poor governance that is responsible. After all the Philippines movie industry, the Indonesian music industry and many others have suffered from poor sales due to piracy for decades.

In another angle Thai enterprises were warned last week to register their IPRs before entering other Asian markets, amid upcoming ASEAN economic integration. Otherwise they will face counterfeit goods. At a seminar in Bangkok about overseas IP protection, it was stated that Thai trademarks have already been copied including Siam Cement Group's Elephant brand, Red Bull energy drink, and Universal Balloons, at least so said the Thai Ministry of Commerce's IP Department. IP Komodo observes that Chinese infringers observe no national boundaries and copy anything that they can sell - this includes famous South East Asian brands.

But the problem is exacerbated by two things. One is poor governance that maintains weak (or worse sometimes corrupt), legal and IP systems. Another is that Asian companies too often see little value in IP, they refuse to spend proactively or preventatively, so as a result get caught out. In an increasingly complex regulatory world everyone needs to plan their IPRs, not just MNCs.

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