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Monday, April 29, 2013

EU analysis of IP regimes in South East Asia

The US has long been vocal about protection of IPRs around the world, with one element being the USTR's Special 301 review, an analysis countries' IP regimes. The EU tended to have a different approach, less around public measurement of others' IP systems. That seems to be changing with the EU Strategy for the Enforcement of IPRs in Third Countries and a recent EU survey on IP around the world. This survey led to an assessment of the situation of IP protection and/or enforcement and where it is the most detrimental to EU IP owners. The results were as follows.

Priority 1 - China
Priority 2 - India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey
Priority 3 - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam.

The bold ones are all in SE Asia. The issues in these places in summary were:

Indonesia - the government makes the right noises; there have been small improvements in IP registration speed.  Poor criminal enforcement and low deterrence, weak training, failure to prosecute cases, low transparency, no public data on IP enforcement, no usable Customs IP system and severe digital piracy are problems. The EU has an EU Indonesia Business Dialogue, several trade projects involving IPR components, such as ECAP III and plans to open an ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk.

Philippines - solid IP laws, lots of recent training and awareness activities and new IP litigation rules are recent improvements, backed by apparent political will.  Slow IP registration, lack of interagency cooperation prevents IPR enforcement improvements, little public data, difficult and slow enforcement procedures, very slow litigation, lack of court expertise in IP, few criminal arrests and prosecutions are concerns.  The ECAP III project is under way.

Malaysia - recent developments are the specialized IP Court, the amendment of the Trade Descriptions Act, and now the Copyright Act. Difficulties centre around political will, lack of clarity on Customs IP powers, an unimplemented patent term restoration, weak data protection and low deterrent penalties. An EU FTA is under negotiation.

Thailand - The DIP is recognized as cooperative and nationally Thailand has made IP a priority through its National Task Force. PCT membership and Customs improvements are recognized. Enforcement remains a key concerns, copyright law has insufficient rules for the digital world, patent pendency is poor, and compulsory licensing of medicines is mentioned. The EU dialogue with Thailand, technical assistance programs such as ECAP III are under way.

Vietnam - post WTO legislative amendments are good and IPR is increasingly recognized. But implementation of the new laws requires monitoring to ensure effectiveness. Awareness training is also needed. Complexity of rules and weak authority cooperation are problems, along with poor understanding of IPR issues by officials and weak resources. An FTA is being negotiated with an IPR chapter.

IP Komodo observes that they captured the IPR problems well, reflecting the different development stages and relative sophistications of the different IP/legal systems.

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