INTA Bulletin

March 15, 2017 Vol. 72 No. 5 Back to Bulletin Main Page

ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation Meeting

The ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation Meeting (AWGIPC) invited INTA to address its 52nd Meeting in Vientiane Lao, PDR, on February 15, 2017. This was the first meeting since the publication of the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016‒2025. This 19-item Action Plan was the focus of INTA’s presentation, which emphasized searching for areas of cooperation, especially with respect to enforcement and support of the local IP community.

Directors General (DGs) from four IP offices (IPOs) were in attendance, including those from Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. Deputy DGs from the remainder attended on behalf of their top leadership.

The chairperson, Shahrinah Yusof Khan (DG of the Brunei office), welcomed INTA’s three-member delegation, including Seth Hays, Chief Representative of INTA’s Asia-Pacific Office; Louis Chan (Procter & Gamble, Singapore), Board Member and Chair of the Asia-Pacific Subcommittee of the Trademark Office Practices Committee (TOPC); and Alvin Lee (The LEGO Group, Singapore).

INTA opened the presentation with a recap of several years of recent engagement with each IPO through a photo slide show. Many people featured in the slides were present in the hall, and the presentation highlighted the diverse set of activities INTA has with various countries, whether memorandums of understanding (MOUs), engagement with non-IPO government officials, awareness raising, or policy advocacy.

The AWGIPC indicated that it was keen to hear about three areas of cooperation: enforcement, SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) brand development, and related rights. INTA highlighted work being done in Latin America, including a 2016 enforcement summit in Tequila, Mexico, that resulted in active engagement in information sharing through an INTA-hosted repository of enforcement information. INTA also highlighted toolkits for SMEs, including the ACC’s China SME Toolkit, and other INTA resources, and importantly, the value of the social networking and benchmarking of INTA’s community. Finally, INTA highlighted its work in related rights, such as committees focused on indigenous rights and geographical indications (GIs).

Mr. Chan presented on his company’s trademark concerns. Noting that Procter & Gamble entered Southeast Asia in the Philippines in the 1920s, he cited the region as a target for growth for the company. As TOPC Subcommittee Chair, he indicated that TOPC can work on further harmonization efforts with trademark offices with improved service offerings. Many proposals in the Action Plan could benefit from user surveying, which he offered.

The LEGO Group’s Mr. Lee focused on the role that e-commerce channels play, but also how respect for IP is a means to support local innovation. He cited instances where look-a-like infringers have moved to their own proprietary designs, supporting and growing an innovative ecosystem in the toy industry.

Following the presentations, members of the AWGIPC were given an opportunity to direct questions to INTA.

The ASEAN Secretariat staff requested that INTA forward its Model Law Guidelines and IPO Benchmarking Database. INTA will be drafting a work plan for its next ten years in ASEAN.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Seth Hays, Asia-Pacific Chief Representative, at

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.

© 2017 International Trademark Association