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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Olympic competition in Indonesia

Image result for olympics logoA dispute over the Olympic logo has put the hosting of the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia in doubt. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) substituted Indonesia for Vietnam after the latter withdrew, bringing the prestigious tournament to South East Asia's largest country. 

However the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) has for some years been using a symbol similar to the Olympic`s five interlocking rings. This is despite objections from the Indonesian Olympic Committee, the local representatives of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). The IOC has even written to the president and issued a warning letter threatening legal action against KONI. It raises the threat of Indonesia losing the 2018 Asian Games because KONI's five rings logo violates the IOC`s intellectual property rights.

KONI's deputy chief Manuel Inkiriwang said that KONI was the official trademark holder of the five rings logo so "KONI has the legal right to use the logo".  As a result the country's sports ministry said the government is trying to settle the matter.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Singapore is the first ASEAN PCT authority

The arrival of 2015 will see Singapore start to take on its work as an International Authority under the PCT patent system.
Singapore is moving to become the region's key IP centre, and this is part of plan. WIPO at present uses 17 countries to search and examine PCT patent applications and Singapore will become the 18th. It is first in the ASEAN region and the fifth in Asia (along with China, India, Japan and Korea). Applicants under the PCT may therefore select Singapore for searches and examination reports, which will be conduced by IPOS.

Singapore is presenting this as an advantage for the region (and their ability to handle Chinese is for sure). How ASEAN applicants can benefit is not yet clear. Singapore examiners will certainly be more in tune with some technologies in the region.  And it presents opportunities for ASEAN applicants to have an authority based in their region which they can contact easily.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Supreme Court upholds patent preliminary injunction in Philippines

Pfizer/Warner Lambert, filed patents Atorvastatin in various forms, which it sells under the brand LIPITOR, an anti cholesterol drug. In 2005, Pfizer took action against Sahar International Trading, Inc. (Sahar), who had applied for a marketing approval certificate for Atorvastatin Calcium for sale under its brand Atopitar. Pfizer claimed that the Atorvastatin Calcium in its Atopitar product was in crystalline form so infringed its patent.

After no response to warnings, Pfizer sought an preliminary injunction in the Makati Trial Court in 2008. This was refused for somewhat spurious reasons. Sahar argued the patents were expiring overseas, and its foreign sourced products could thus be sold. The preliminary injunction was the subject of the appeal by Pfizer to the Court of Appeal which granted it.

Then in 2014 the Supreme Court heard Sahar's appeal. It said the injunction was properly granted, the Court of Appeal had found patent infringement and so the Supreme Court made the injunction permanent, awarded both 8,000 USD in damages USD and 1200 exemplary damages and also an award for fees and litigation expenses. It also confirmed the seizure of Sahar’s ATOPITAR.

While not quite up to the damages levels of developed markets, the decision shows how the Philippines top court covered all the bases in its decision.  The hope is that a clear precedent is now set.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The never ending delay in Myanmar's Trademarks law

The Myanmar trademark law has been promised for a couple of years now.
The draft Trademark Law no. 14 has been reviewed and approved by the Attorney Generals Office. It was submitted to Parliament in September 2014 but it has not yet been examined or discussed. Recently, the WTO decided that all Least Developed Countries, which includes Myanmar, will have until July 2021 to enact IP legislation under the TRIPS Agreement. As a result, the pressure on Myanmar to enact IP/trade mark laws has significantly reduced. 

On the political side, there will be a general election in April/May 2015 and it is unlikely that the Myanmar Government or Parliament will make any push for the Trademark Law to pass before the election. So it seems probable that no new trademark law will be enacted in 2015.

There is still no proper Trademark Office as yet and it will take at least 18-24 months to recruit and train trademark examiners, enact implementing regulations etc. Therefore, the most plausible date for the Trademark Law to become effective and for trade marks to be filed under that new law is now looking more like 2016-7.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Indonesia to boost private sector R&D

Indonesia's new Minister for research, technology and higher education Muhammad Nasir, is making the right noises about boosting R&D. He announced a cut in patent fees for local applicants last week. He also plans encourage private sector research in other ways pointing to a severe imbalance (in Singapore 80% of R&D is private sector vs 25% in Indonesia) leading to Indonesia’s weak technological innovation. Even government funding is too low he said at Rp 8 trillion (USD631 million) a year, or 0.09% of GDP —lower than Singapore (2.6%), Malaysia (1%) and Thailand (0.25 %). His government's goal by 2019 is to reach annual R&D spending of 0.5% of GDP. Another proposal is to draw business into university research.  Never before has Indonesia promised such technological focus.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

IP Komodo most read blogposts in 2014

Just a quick recap of what you read most in 2014; thanks for following and happy 2015!

Indonesian domain names - expansion and new rules


Patent enforcement in Thailand


Indonesia increases its trademark fees


Monday, December 15, 2014

Online shopping growth and takedown systems


Online counterfeiting in South East Asia hasn’t been as large a problem as it has been in China, where Alibaba, Taobao and similar sites have for many years been a constant battleground for IP holders.

In South East Asia however online shopping is now taking off. Online shopping sites in the Philippines are now discovering that many sellers are selling fake products. The most popular online shopping site in the Philippines, olx.ph (formerly sulit.com.ph) as an online takedown request system and are responsive to takedown requests. They usually respond within 2 to 3 days. The IPOPHL’s IP Enforcement Office (IEO) also assists takedown requests.

Meanwhile in Indonesia the largest online shopping site is lazarda.co.id. While lazada.co.id does not have a specific takedown procedure, the website's terms and conditions provide against prohibited content. As a result on receipt of takedown request they will remove infringing ads and notify the advertiser of the infringement


Friday, December 12, 2014

Lacoste tries to take a bite out of Crocodile's marks in the Philippines

Lacoste and Crocodile have been fighting battles all over the world over their Crocodile logos for decades.  A recent spat in the Philippines is the latest in their lengthy war. Crocodile International had filed their Crocodile and device trademark application and Chemise Lacoste had opposed the mark. Chemise Lacoste lost the opposition so appealed to the Director General.

In a decision in October 2014,  the long coexistence, the clear appearance of the word Crocodile were factors the Director General decided warranted dismissing the appeal. He confirmed the Lacoste mark was well known, but found two marks did not cause consumer confusion. No doubt there will be appeals.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Domestic patenting in the Philippines

Attempts by the Philippines IP Office to encourage local innovation seem to be paying off. The Patent Protection Incentive Package (PPIP), a project of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines targets higher education institutions (HEIs), to encourage them to file more patents.

The University of Southeastern Philippines (USP) in Davao City, leads the pack of local patent filers. It filed 34 patent applications through the PPIP as of November 2014. It is followed by the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City with 15 filings. Adamson University in Manila filed 8 patent applications, while Bicol University and Philippine Rice Research Institute filed 6 and 5 patent applications respectively.

These HEIs are part of the network of Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs) which are provided with specific onsite patent libraries, resources and support as well as fee waivers for patent office fees. Prior to the introduction of the PPIP, Philippines inventors filed only a handful of patents per year.

Of the top PPIP filers, USC is also the first of ITSOs that had a successful technology commercialization project with its mango peelings technology.