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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vietnam company creates unique new copyright system

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The Blockchain has long been talked up as a source of useful risk reduction in transactions. Bitcoin and other systems rely on its distributed database structure to ensure facts can be verified and so risks reduced. An example is escrow systems for online ordering so that payment is triggered upon delivery.   

Copyright is an area where proof of subsistence and ownership would be very suitable for a Blockchain based verification system.
 
Now a Vietnam based software developer Copyrobo has developed a web- and app-based system for authors to create timestamped evidence of their work quickly and accurately. Using the Blockchain and timestamps it helps creators timestamp and manage copyrights.
 
Their angle appears to be that it can be used quickly and efficiently for online enforcement by allowing integration with social media.

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Indonesia's new trademark amendments - a summary

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The new Trade Mark and Geographical Indication Law was passed by Parliament on 27 October 2016 and is expected to come into effect by 27 November 2016 depending when the President signs. The main changes are :
  • Non-traditional Marks can be filed – e.g. 3D, sound and hologram marks 
  • Madrid Protocol applications can be filed (after Implementing Regulations) 
  • New absolute grounds for rejection for marks which are misleading or deceptive. Generic marks must contain additional material to be registered
  • Electronic filing of applications
  • Publication will now be before examination (reversing the current process) 
  • The opposition period is shortened from 3 months to 2 months
  • Substantive examination will speed up under shortened timeframes
  • Registration - In theory, registration will now take 9 months, compared to the previous 14 month timeline. But in practice it presently takes 3 years!
  • Late renewals are now possible in some cases
  • Recordal of Assignment/Change of details can now be filed against pending applications. Recordal of licenses is only possible against registered marks.
  • Post registration amendments to certificates are now possible, after Implementing Regulations.
  • Revocation / Deletion of marks can now also be for conflict with a prior GI or Traditional Knowledge element.  
  • There are additional rules on trademark litigation in the commercial court.
  • The IPO's PPNS investigation officers' powers are clarified 
  • Criminal penalties for trade mark infringement have been doubled and further increased for safety related products
  • The new law removes the term “deliberately” from trademark crimes
All pending applications filed before the law follow the 2001 law. All implementing regulations shall be passed within 2 years the law says.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Philippines IP Strategic Plan

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The Philippines IPO is often praised as a great example of how a South East Asian government can take initiative and charge of implementing IP improvements in its country.  The Philippines IPO have through their efforts had the county removed from the USTR Priority Watch list in recent years. This came about through initiatives such as the National Centre for IPR Enforcement, which helps coordinate IP enforcement , the responsibility for which sits among many government departments. 
 
A week ago at the sixth Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit, deputy director-general Allan Gepty announced their second IPR Action Plan for 2017-2022. This 5 year agenda aims to address several matters. This includes legislative changes such as secondary trademark liability for landlords and internet intermediaries. The IPO has already made an initiative to target intermediaries through other support in laws but now seeks direct clear liability. They will also introduce online industrial design filing and new payment options for applicants. This follows the online filing systems for trademarks which already operates.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Indonesia amends Trademarks law

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In the last of the IP law amendments in this round, Indonesia has passed its new Trademarks Law this week. The Copyright Law was amended in September 2014 and Patents and Designs earlier in 2016. 

The Trademarks law had many proposed amendments over the year causing a 6 month delay - for example after the June fake vaccines scare increased penalties for safety related product fakes. It is also intended to enable the Madrid system to be implemented (an ASEAN requirement). Geographic Indications are also included.  A more detailed analysis of the changes will follow.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SEA Illicit trade report

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its report on illicit trade in Asia. It defines illicit trade to cover many illegal acts including counterfeiting.  Illicit trade is enabled by varying combinations of corruption, incompetence and indifference. The difficulty collecting hard data makes it hard to quantify. But overall they conclude that the counterfeit and mis-declared goods along with other illicit trade is rising. Along with the European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, the Economist Intelligence Unit has created the Illicit Trade Environment Index, which measures 17 economies in the Asia Pacific region on the extent to which they enable illicit trade.

The factors that lead to this trade's growth are plain to see. Acceptance of low level economic crimes and weak enforcement of laws are clear reasons. China is a large part of the problem but it is improving. Developed markets often score well due to their stronger legal environments. But Singapore scores badly due to its laissez fair attitude to transhipment, worth billions - implying that Singapore earns a great deal of money transhipping illicit goods. Emerging markets with weak legal environments are havens for illicit trade naturally. This applies especially to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar but Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are only slightly above the bottom 3. Only 9 of 17 countries studied have proper Customs recordal system in place for IP - 20 years after the WTO TRIPS agreement too effect for most countries!

 

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pharma regulatory improvements in Indonesia

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Indonesia has amended its pharmaceutical registration requirements. The National Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) issued Regulation No. 17 of 2016 (Amendment) amending its 2011 regulation Criteria and Procedures for Drug Registration (Regulation) in August 2016.

The Amendment seeks to simplify drugs registration procedures. All drugs must be registered to obtain a drug distribution permit. There are 3 registration categories:
 
1. New registrations (that is all new drugs and biotherapeutic products, including biosimilars, generic drugs and other pharmaceutical products)
2. Variant registrations (such as reformulations and new compounds); and
3. Re-registrations and extensions.

The Amendment focuses on major variants where there is no need for further quality and efficacy testing. This applies to new formulations for example. In those cases, the the pre-registration processes to examine the various necessary factors for a new drug registration are no longer required, in essence because the drug is a mere reformulation of an existing one, that has been through those procedures.

Processing times for BPOM to register various categories of drugs have also been accelerated.  This applies to categories such as major variants like reformulations,  re-registrations, along with drugs for serious and life threatening illnesses and orphan drugs.

The intention is to improve speed to market of important pharmaceutical products in Indonesia by removing unnecessary procedural barriers.  

Meanwhile Indonesia's Parliament is debating a far more comprehensive
Draft Bill on Drugs and Foods Supervision which is intended to improve the quality, safety and efficacy of drugs and foods across the country. It proposes to do this by bringing the current patchwork of rules under one law. More rigourous distribution rules are driven by the recent fake vaccines scandal (see here).
 
 
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Myanmar counterfeiting case

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U Tint Naing Vs. Daw Kyu Kyu San & others is a rare example of a criminal counterfeiting case from 2015 in the Yangon courts. It began when the Myanmar distributor on Korean company Nature Republic Co. Ltd Korea took action against 4 shop owners in Yuzana Plaza, Yangon claiming they were selling counterfeit cosmetics.  The police then further arrested a wholesaler and discovered the fake goods were imported. The 4 retailers cooperated and the wholesaler paid compensation. Public apologies were published in local newspapers and the Court eventually discharged the defendants.  

Most fakes in Myanmar come overland from China. As yet no trademark law exists, but it is possible to enforce other rights.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pierre Cardin in fashion exile from Indonesia

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Another problematic trademark pirate case has ended up on the rocks. The Trademark Pierre Cardin is owned by one Alexander Satryo Wibowo in class 3 for personal care products.

The French fashion designer, Pierre Cardin started his own collection in the early 1950s becoming successful in the 60s and 70s even designing for Pakistan International Airline, and the Philippines National Dress Barong Tagalog. Pierre Cardin France registered their own trademark in Indonesia in 2009 which (in an obvious error by the Trademark Office) is an identical mark in the same class!

In 1977 an Indonesian produced clothing line was made under the trademark Pierre Cardin and registered in Indonesia by Wenas Widjaja. In 1985 it was assigned to Raiman and then later to Eddy Tan and in 1987 from Eddy to Alexander. Pierre Cardin France filed a lawsuit against Alexander. In his defence, Alexander claimed that the lawsuit was out of time since cancellation must be brought within 5 years of registration.  There is an exception to this which is cases of bad faith (which this case ought to have been.)

However the court found no clear evidence of bad faith. It is not clear why; sometimes bad faith claims are made with no evidence. It ought to have been easy to show but perhaps no evidence from 1977 was available. The judges didn’t clearly say this but it is implicit that bad faith needs to be proven at the time of application.  

 Pierre Cardin France filed an appeal but the Supreme Court rejected it. Oddly the court argued "The Defendant has the distinction of always putting the wording "product by PT Gudang Rejeki". Therefore…that trademark was not riding the fame of other party's trademark," said the panel. That is plainly wrong as confusion is not relevant to cancellation cases. However the decision was not unanimous. One Supreme Court judge assessed to the contrary that Pierre Cardin is a well-known trademark; and presumably he concluded there was bad faith.  
 
Alexander also owns hundreds of marks including CUCCI, CIANNI VERSORE, and GALENTINO all of which might seem familiar!

 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cambodia IP news

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Cambodia rarely features in IP news but a number of recent events have started to attract attention. Firstly Cambodia acceded to the PCT, the 151st nation to do so. The PCT will enter into force in Cambodia on December 8, 2016.

Meanwhile in July the Intellectual Property Association of Cambodia (“IPAC”) started operations. It mainly comprises IP professionals and plans to run IP training and seminars, raise awareness and cooperate with relevant government Ministries on IP.

Cambodia already has a full suite of IP laws, but in August the Minister of Commerce presided over a meeting of Committee on Management and Advancement of Trade Related Draft Laws and Regulations to look at possible updates. The laws of most relevance to IP holders they are reviewing include the Draft Law on Consumer Protection, the Draft Law on Competition and Draft Law on Ecommerce.

Lastly a well-known local IP figure, Var Roth San, an adviser to the Ministry of Commerce, has spoken to the press indicating that Cambodian firms need to establish their own brands to compete globally.

 

Cambodia IP news

Image result for cambodia
Cambodia rarely features in IP news but a number of recent events have started to attract attention. Firstly Cambodia acceded to the PCT, the 151st nation to do so. The PCT will enter into force in Cambodia on December 8, 2016.

Meanwhile in July the Intellectual Property Association of Cambodia (“IPAC”) started operations. It mainly comprises IP professionals and plans to run IP training and seminars, raise awareness and cooperate with relevant government Ministries on IP.

Cambodia already has a full suite of IP laws, but in August the Minister of Commerce presided over a meeting of Committee on Management and Advancement of Trade Related Draft Laws and Regulations to look at possible updates. The laws of most relevance to IP holders they are reviewing include the Draft Law on Consumer Protection, the Draft Law on Competition and Draft Law on Ecommerce.

Lastly a well-known local IP figure, Var Roth San, an adviser to the Ministry of Commerce, has spoken to the press indicating that Cambodian firms need to establish their own brands to compete globally.

 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Goods v services infringement in Indonesia

 


 

A longstanding dispute highlights the difference between goods and services and specifically retailing in infringement assessment. The Plaintiff PT Multicom Persada Internasional owns the i BOX trademark registration in class 9 for computer peripherals and software. The Defendant PT Data Citra Mandiri opened Apple product retail outlets in 20 locations in Indonesia under the name iBox. The Plaintiff sued for infringement - details here.  The Plaintiff claimed substantial financial losses and intangible damage.
The Defendant requested the Central Jakarta Commercial Court to dismiss the Plaintiff's claim due to errors in their name and address in the claim. They also argued the marks and goods are not similar. But the Central Jakarta Commercial Court rejected the Plaintiff's case so they filed a cassation appeal at the Supreme Court.
 
The Supreme Court has now rejected the Plaintiff's appeal. The Panel of Justices found that despite the similarity in pronunciation, both trade marks use different letters, shapes and are in different classes.  The class point is perhaps the most important althought these two could be considered connected channels of trade. Infringement cases are relatively rare so this kind of jurisprudence is useful to see.