Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why locally owned IP is critical in SE Asia.

It is a general axiom that IP protection in emerging economies will only start to improve when local companies own IP and demand better protection. One can see from the vast growth in domestic Chinese company civil IP litigation, now numbering 10s of thousands of domestic IP trials per year), the increasing sophistication of China's civil IP jurisprudence. Or how providing grants to PRC companies helps then patent new inventions at home and abroad, through the PCT system.

By contrast the parlous state of Indonesia's IP system, can probably be blamed in a large part on the lack of R&D and consequent lack of Indonesian patent ownership - see here.

In the Philippines the IP Office deputy director general Andrew Ong has been on the road the last week or two encouraging local inventors to patent their inventions. He has been training local Innovation and Technology Support Offices at Universities around the country to provide patent library access to researchers to aide invention. These ITSOs are essentially a free franchise from the IPO to provide services to researchers on campus, who can then check patents and follow paths to create patentable inventions. The next step is increasing the number of courses on intellectual property in the curriculum, especially for those in science and technology.

Specific tangible steps are needed from governments in South East Asia to encourage more R&D in both government and private industry, to then turn that into patentable inventions, and lastly to help arrange and finance patenting of those inventions. Only with such progress will talk of becoming a knowledge economy start to be realised.

Meanwhile no amount of pressure from foreign companies and governments will make governments do more than window dress their IP systems.

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