The last time I visited Southeast Asia on INTA business was in April during the 2013 Spring Policy Tour, when I led a delegation to Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, and South Korea. Getting INTA more involved in the region has been one of my goals during my year-long presidency, and I am happy to say that we are continuing to make some great progress with our government and industry relations across this very diverse part of the world.
INTA President Toe Su Aung and IPOS CEO Tan Yih San signing the MOU
This past August we returned to Singapore, where, on behalf of INTA, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mr. Tan Yih San, Chief Executive Officer of the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS). The first of its kind with a government in Southeast Asia, the MOU will strengthen our partnership with this very dynamic office and guide our collaborative efforts in an array of future projects, incorporating programming, education and training of industry, government and the public. Joining me for the signing ceremony were INTA Board member Andy Leck (Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow—Singapore), Zaheera Hashim and Louis Chan (P&G), and Seth Hays, INTA External Relations Manager, Asia-Pacific.
IPOS’s Global Forum on IP took place during the same week. As a keynote speaker, I was in a unique position to speak to industry attendees about the need to come together to address trademark policy in the region as it prepares for economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community Plan by 2015.
From Singapore, we travelled to the Philippines—my first occasion to visit this beautiful country. At a luncheon kindly hosted by the IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), we met with representatives from the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) as well as IPOPHL Director General Ricardo Blancaflor (pictured left). We engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about the progress of the Madrid Protocol in the country, recent enforcement powers granted to the IPOPHL, and the need for robust industry-government dialogue both in the Philippines and at a regional ASEAN level on trademark issues.
I am truly pleased to see the warm reception that INTA receives around the world and believe that, through partnerships with government and other associations, we can better protect consumers and brands in Southeast Asia and beyond.