Asia Conference Registrants Gain Insight on ‘Brands in Changing Times’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Published: November 1, 2019

Maria Kyriakou Lossignol Makylo IP Services Nikosia, Cyprus

Brand owners and intellectual property (IP) professionals gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 17 and 18, for INTA’s 2019 Asia Conference: Brands in Changing Times, where business and legal experts, as well as government officials, explored innovation in the marketplace and in the practice of trademark law, IP protection strategies, the changing enforcement landscape, and growth opportunities in the region.

This dynamic conference featured an impressive roster of speakers who highlighted developments in key countries in Asia in view of the changing reality brought about by technological advances and evolving social norms.

During opening remarks, Yg. Berhormat Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Bin Ismail, the Honorable Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (Malaysia), proudly announced that Malaysia is the 106th member of the Madrid Protocol and on December 27, 2019, the Madrid Protocol will enter into force in Malaysia. Datuk Seri, citing INTA’s study, The Economic Contribution of Trademark-Intensive Industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, stated, “…60 percent of Malaysia’s GDP comes from trademark-intensive industries. This is the highest level recorded amongst the five ASEAN countries studied and shows that Malaysia is a leader in trademark-intensive industries, as well as the importance that trademarks play in sustaining and growing Malaysia’s GDP.” He went on to say, “For Malaysian businesses, Malaysia’s accession to the Protocol means that there are lower barriers of entry when investing and growing their businesses internationally. And for foreign businesses residing in other member countries of the Madrid system, this would demonstrate that Malaysia’s investment environment is harmonized with the vast majority of the world.”

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Haji Iskandar, Director of Enforcement, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (Malaysia), also emphasized the crucial importance of innovation, noting, “We cannot be behind in terms of development; we need to use technology.” Dato’ Iskandar presented an overview of Malaysia’s “Basket of Brands” (BOB) scheme, which provides for expedited enforcement of IP rights in Malaysia. He also highlighted the Malaysian government’s efforts in the fight against counterfeits and to protect brand owners and consumers.

Keynote speaker Ainol Yaacob (BP Malaysia) discussed today’s job market and the important role brands play for employees, consumers, and communities. Mr. Yaacob noted that that diversity and digital understanding are important assets in today’s job market and that the culture of a brand is an important factor for attracting top talent. He also highlighted some of BP’s key corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and the company’s contributions to advancing environmentally friendly policies in Malaysia.

During a keynote judge’s panel, INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo spoke with Yang Arif Dato’ Lim Chong Fong, High Court Judge of Kuala Lumpur, High Court of Malaysia, and Dr. Ibrahim, S.H., M.H., LL.M., the Honorable Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia, about how the courts are organized, the critical role of a judge, the importance of IP and IP expertise, how they leverage technology to stay up to date, the value of amicus briefs, and the challenges in assessing damages.

The program covered many important issues facing brand owners and IP practitioners today including managing brands in an online world, the role of social media and influencers, the importance of harnessing data and the role it can play in enhancing consumer experiences and helping in protection efforts.

Panelists challenged participants to think beyond traditional approaches in enforcement and anticounterfeiting efforts, and to collaborate with brands to effectively provide client-centric solutions. Several sessions dealt with counterfeiting and the important roles of consumers, Customs, brand owners, and intermediaries in the fight against counterfeits.

Highlight Speaker Samir Dixit (Brand Finance Plc, Singapore) led a dynamic session that showed attendees the unintended consequences of brand restrictions, including the financial losses associated therewith; and Highlight Speaker Shwetasree Majumder (Fidus Law Chambers, India) provided an update on laws governing intermediaries in India.

During the China Update, speakers discussed the current state of law and practice in China, pointing out the latest IP-related legal amendments, especially regarding bad-faith registrations-specifically, that beginning November 1, legitimate brand owners will be able to defend their brand interests detailing the required level of proof.

The Conference concluded with a panel discussion focused on the economic and social opportunities in the region, including the importance of a company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as donations to schools and hospitals, supporting education for young people, and contributing to environmental efforts through the support of “green” policies. At the end of the program, Marion Heathcote (Davies Collison Cave, Australia ) challenged attendees to “give back” and to focus on recyclable items and/or items that donate to communities when providing corporate gifts at events, such as INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

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