INTA Participates in Events in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore

Published: August 15, 2018

On August 8, INTA took part in discussions at a workshop of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Intellectual Property Experts’ Group and Customs Subcommittee on trademark infringement determinations in a cross-border context. The workshop took place in the context of the Senior Officials Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Discussions focused on how customs officials can effectively determine infringements that cause consumer confusion and harm. INTA Chief Representative Officer, Asia-Pacific and China Seth Hays introduced INTA and the work of its expert committees focused on cross-border enforcement issues, namely the Anticounterfeiting Committee and the Enforcement Committee. INTA welcomed further cooperation with APEC as it drives economic integration and trade forward, in particular in the digital economy. INTA shared the recently released best-practices paper, titled Addressing the Sale of Counterfeits on the Internet, in order to highlight the various best practices that industry can undertake to reduce the trade in counterfeit goods online.

INTA member Lynell Tuffery Huria (AJ Park, New Zealand) presented on judicial case decisions on determining confusingly similar trademarks. Government representatives from Papua New Guinea, Peru, South Korea, and the United States covered topics such as best practices to prevent the commercial-scale trade in infringing goods, existing practices, and risk assessment techniques. Other industry associations involved in the workshop included CropLife Asia.

First Delegation Visit in Papua New Guinea
INTA also organized a delegation visit to the Intellectual Property Office of Papua New Guinea, marking the first time the Association has organized a member delegation in the country. INTA introduced the work it does on trademark office practices, harmonization of law and practice across the region and globe, as well as certain issue areas of interest to the Office, namely the research and monitoring of developments around indigenous rights. INTA emphasized the important, and often overlooked, role of trademarks and brands as drivers of innovation, growth, and investment in developing countries, such as Papua New Guinea. INTA also noted the recent submission to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), emphasizing the important role that trademark protection and enforcement can play in the economic development of the PIF member states, which includes Papua New Guinea.

Restricting the Value of Brands
The Association was invited to participate and speak at the recent release of Brand Finance’s Top 100 Singapore Brands 2018 on August 2 in Singapore. As reported in local news outlets, major local financial firms topped this year’s list.

Mr. Hays spoke on the emerging risks to brands in the twenty-first century stemming from the proliferation of brand restrictions. While the impact of one type of brand restriction-plain packaging-on brand value is well known, brand restrictions more generally represent a global threat to brand innovation. Service brands, such as financial services, could even be targeted for brand restrictions by regulators, according to recent commentary.

INTA has been actively advocating against brand restrictions across the globe, whether tobacco plain packaging in Europe or brand restrictions in Latin America.

Brand Restriction Awareness in Indonesia
INTA and the Association of Indonesian Intellecual Property Rights Attorneys (AKHKI), in cooperation with the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) of Indonesia, organized a focus group discussion on the proliferation of brand restrictions globally. Previously, Indonesia had threatened to impose brand restrictions in the form of plain packaging on alcohol products.

Director General of the DGIP, Freddy Harris, opened the event and spoke on the importance of brand protection. The president of the AKHKI, Cita Citrawinda, emphasized the growing role of intellectual property (IP) in the Indonesian economy. INTA spoke on the importance of brands, in particular in the fast-growing tech start-up scene, and how regulatory impingement on branding can hurt creativity. INTA member Somboon Earterasarun (Tilleke & Gibbins, Thailand) spoke on the growing concerns of brand restriction in Thailand across a wide range of sectors, including dog food, baby formula, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobacco. INTA has previously undertaken awareness raising events in Thailand.

WIPO and Regional Association Outreach
INTA participated in a regional discussion of IP associations in Singapore on July 30 at the regional office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Representatives from ASEAN-based IP associations, including the national associations of IP attorneys from 9 out of 10 ASEAN countries, attended to discuss shared challenges and opportunities.

INTA Speaks at InnoSecurity Summit
On July 25, INTA Anticounterfeiting Advisor, Asia-Pacific Valentina Slamoiraghi, and INTA Asia-Pacific Associate Queenie Zhao, attended the InnoSecurity Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ms. Salmoiraghi spoke at the summit about the measures for tackling illicit trade and INTA’s anticounterfeiting efforts in the region.

INTA spoke on the topic of Transcending Anti-Illicit Trade War with Collaboration Between Stakeholders. Audience members raised the concern about online sales of fake consumer goods, as the Internet has made it even easier for counterfeiters to sell counterfeit goods anonymously. In response to this serious question, open communication, collaboration, and coordination are essential for the key stakeholders, as the end goal is a more collaborative and effective anticounterfeiting network focused on online counterfeiting, as well as raising awareness of the issue among government officials and policymakers.

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. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

© 2018 International Trademark Association