Thursday, July 18, 2013

IP offices - independent or government operated?

Around ASEAN there are differences in how IP offices are managed and run. This leads to consequences for each country's IP system.

Singapore and Malaysia led the way with autonomous IP offices. They manage themselves, run their own budgets and activities so as a result have become very efficient, driven and customer focused.
The Philippines IPOP comes under the President's office. This gives it a higher status and enables it to be more proactive in determining what it should do. Thus it actively promotes IP to local businesses.
Thailand's IP office comes under the Ministry of Commerce. This allows Thailand to actively promote IP. This week they announced that Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua will continue his role in promoting business development and the protection of IP rights.  This sends a clear message that IP is a commercial matter and something to be promoted.
In Indonesia the IPO is part of the Ministry of Law and Legislation. IP fees are recycled into central government funds. This is a very traditional approach and leads to a body focused primarily on rule making and revenue generation, but insufficiently on policy and promotion. This is reflected in recent comments last week from the Indonesian Creative Copyright Association (Cakra), an organization that promotes IPRs. “Indonesia has many artists, but only a few of them successfully turn their works into IP. Consequently, much of our creative industry is simply surviving, but not yet thriving,” Cakra chairman Ivan Chen said, adding that creators in Indonesia are not getting the support they need from the government in contrast to countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia which provide government funding and programs to build up IPRs.

In Vietnam the NOIP comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology. This seems good for promotion of technology, but probably harms Vietnam in that this Ministry may not be the best at helping private businesses. 

Myanmar has put IP responsibility under the Ministry of Science and Technology to draft its new IP laws. However the Copyright law is elsewhere and it is unclear if there will be a coordinated approach.

IP Komodo believes that independent policy for IPRs is beneficial for emerging economies as it enables promotion of the benefits of IP to local businesses. This seems from practice to be better achieved by having a body in charge of IP that is independant of central government.


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