Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Confusion in the enforcement world in Indonesia

There are confusing messages about enforcement from the IP office.  The Jakarta Post reports that the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights (the IPO) will take legal action to protect consumers from illegal software - “...we will pay serious attention to it to protect consumers and honest businesses,” director general Ahmad M. Ramli said last week. The IPO has signed an MOU with the Indonesian Anti Counterfeiting Society (MIAP).

Ramli added that his office was planning several new IP programs to educate people and build awareness of the risks related to counterfeit and pirated products. The IPO investigation directorate head Mohamad Adri indicated his team would  “take stern measures against IP violators."

Meanwhile on the ground enforcement has dried up. Following concerns about several recent raids the IPO has ceased taking on new complaints so raids have stopped.  The information as to why is conflicting. Possibly there has been a complaint about how they conduct raids, so some kind of internal review is needed. Another suggestion is that there is grave disappointment that the USTR maintained Indonesia on its Priority Watch List - see here.

If you read the comments carefully you see that the IPO is not promising enforcement, but an education program.This is consistent with the activities MIAP has done in the past. So it seems Indonesia's IPO is backing away from enforcement and focusing on education to stop IP violation.

It's unfair to blame the IPO. After all the only reason the IPO set up its investigation directorate was because the police were ineffective. The police often use IP raids (like most commercial crime) as a way to generate money from complainants and infringers. This is increasingly out of step with the modern business anti corruption environment. It looks like IP holders will continue to be disappointed by the lack of legal steps to enforce IP rights at criminal level.

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