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September 1, 2017 Vol. 72 No. 15 Back to Bulletin Main Page

INTA Now Active in All ASEAN Countries Following First Event in Brunei


On August 22, INTA held a policy dialogue with Brunei government representatives on best practices for trademark enforcement in Banda Seri Begawan, following Brunei’s first criminal enforcement of trademark laws earlier in the year, which INTA covered on the INTA Blog here. This is the first event that INTA has organized in Brunei. It marks a significant milestone for INTA’s activity in ASEAN, as the Association now has been active in all ten ASEAN countries, engaging government, industry, and the public on trademarks through education, training, and advocacy.

Opening the meeting, Shahrinah Yusof Khan, Director General of the Brunei IP Office, noted that brands “need proper protection of their creations to support their business.” She further noted that as Brunei seeks strategic diversity of its economy away from the oil and gas sector, an improved enforcement environment will help attract potential investors. “Counterfeits are also a threat to health, safety, and the economy,” Ms. Khan added.

INTA’s Asia-Pacific Chief Representative, Seth Hays, delivered a presentation on the value of brands, including the impact of the value of brands on GDP, employment, and export on five economies in ASEAN: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The full report will be published on the INTA website and available for download on September 15.

Nur al-Ain, Deputy Senior Counsel and Head of International Trade and Intellectual Property, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Brunei, delivered a history of Brunei IP legislation and current practice in IP enforcement.

In the morning panel session, INTA members Brian Law (Eversheds Harry Elias, Singapore), Bienvenido Marquez (Quisumbing Torres, Philippines), and Bassaruddin bin Mohiyuddin, Senior Assistant Director, Malaysia Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC), discussed best practices from Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The panelists emphasized the need for government to cooperate and communicate with private industry, as well as set up practical and personal linkages for the purposes of pursuing trademark infringement actions.

The afternoon panel session included Ahmad Nizam (P&G, Singapore) and Evan Williams, Regional Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator, U.S. Department of Justice, who spoke on the practical issues of supporting and pursuing a criminal trademark action. The panelists encouraged brands and officials to work together from an early stage.

Christopher Ng Ming Yew, Deputy Senior Counsel and Deputy Public Prosecutor, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Brunei, moderated a session on border enforcement that included panelists Anita Zheng (REACT, Vietnam) and Norhayati Omar (Eversheds Harry Elias, Brunei). Ms. Zheng spoke on the practical aspects of training customs officials. Ms. Omar spoke on certain aspects of anti–money laundering in cross-border criminal cases, including potentially in IPR cases.

Guna Selan Marian, Enforcement Director of KDJLaw, Malaysia and former senior official from MDTCC in Malaysia, delivered the final presentation of the day. He noted that information sharing should be a major priority for governments and brands to address the growing problem of counterfeits.

Wrapping up the conference, Mr. Hays said that the event marked the first step in systemic and comprehensive industry-government interaction on IPR enforcement in the country.

INTA looks forward to working with policymakers in Brunei and the region to support a comprehensive enforcement environment in Brunei and in the context of growing intraregional trade.

INTA would particularly like to thank Mr. Law and his colleagues at Eversheds Harry Elias in Brunei for their support of the program.

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