INTA Bulletin

December 15, 2016 Vol. 71 No. 21 Back to Bulletin Main Page

Association Concludes a Landmark Year in Asia-Pacific

INTA members have kept busy with high-level advocacy and education activity as 2016 comes to a close across the Asia-Pacific region. December concludes a signal year for the Association following a number of achievements, including the establishment of its branch office in Singapore in March.

Weighing in on Plain Packaging

Most recently, INTA’s Chair of the Legislation and Regulation Committee—Asia-Pacific Subcommittee, Soh Kar Liang (Ella Cheong, Singapore) (pictured second from right), spoke at a Financial Times Business Regulations Seminar on December 8 in Singapore. The theme of the conference was “Business Regulation: Burden or Benefit?” Mr. Soh spoke on the pressing concerns presented by regulatory encroachment on trademark rights through plain packaging. A number of jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region have proposed or enacted plain packaging of tobacco products. Mr. Soh mentioned that trademark rights are an interesting area where the interests of consumers and producers intersect: trademarks protect the consumer from confusion and dangerous counterfeit goods, while at the same time protecting producers from unfair competition and creating valuable IP rights.

Promoting Stakeholder Engagement

INTA also supported a regional seminar on December 6 organized by the Singapore Office of the World Intellectual Property Offices (WIPO) and the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS) dedicated to enhancing IP Office customer service and stakeholder engagement. INTA corporate member, Niki Franks (BP plc, Singapore), spoke on behalf of INTA, citing the practical needs that users of IP office services would like to see. Attendees came from a diverse number of countries around the Asia-Pacific region, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore.

Comments to IPOPHL and Indonesian Customs

INTA has supported advocacy through written comments to countries across the region. INTA submitted comments to the IP Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on December 1 regarding changes to the IP Code and to the Indonesian Directorate General of Customs on areas to improve procedures to seize infringing goods at the border earlier in November. INTA joined other associations and interested foreign governments for a roundtable in Jakarta with the customs authorities on the matter on November 30.

Engaging in Dialogue on Border Enforcement

On November 8, INTA’s Chief Representative, Asia-Pacific, Seth Hays (Singapore), participated in an event organized by the ASEAN Secretariat and USPTO on transnational cooperation in the border enforcement of intellectual property rights, which included participants from the Ministries of Trade, Customs and IP Offices from ten ASEAN countries. INTA spoke on the importance of international cooperation and communication among customs agencies, particularly in light of the increases in trade due to the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and the movement of manufacturing from China to lower cost labor markets in developing Southeast Asia.

INTA has been further supporting enforcement efforts in the region by participating in the 6th Philippines Enforcement Summit in Manila on October 24. Mr. Hays presented on INTA’s efforts to educate the public on the danger of counterfeit goods, namely through the Association’s Unreal Campaign, which conducted a program for children the prior week.

Delegation Visit to Japan

INTA President Ronald van Tuijl led a delegation of INTA members to meet with association counterparts and authorities in Japan from October 25–26, including the Japan Patent Office (JPO) (pictured right), the Japan IP High Court, Customs, the Japan Trademark Association, and the Japan Intellectual Property Association. Mr. van Tuijl spoke with JPO Commissioner Yoshinori Komiya about INTA’s work in the region, and indicated INTA’s support for JPO’s leadership on IP in Asia and the world through its network of IP attaches, and through projects at the TM5, such as the Bad-Faith Registration Project. Commissioner Komiya remarked that protection of brands from counterfeit goods was a major priority for his office and supported INTA’s efforts in this regard. INTA would like to thank the kind efforts of INTA Board of Directors Member, Shunji Sato, and Mitsuko “Mimi” Miyagawa (TMI Associates, Japan) for their kind support of the delegation activities in Japan.

Looking Forward to 2017

INTA looks forward to 2017 to continue its engagement with governments across this important region through delegations, submission of important views and comments, and educational programming, including the INTA Hong Kong Anticounterfeiting Conference, which will be held February 6–7, 2017.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2016 International Trademark Association