Second Quarter of 2019 in Asia: Building Partnerships Across a Diverse Region

Published: July 1, 2019

INTA’s Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products study, which explores the relationship between Gen Zers and brands, covers four of the largest countries in Asia by population and economy (including China, India, Indonesia, and Japan). The scope of the study reflects the diversity of attitudes across these distinct cultures, and demonstrates the need for INTA and its members to engage deeply across all countries in the region to support trademarks and promote economic growth and innovation.

INTA’s activity in Asia in the second quarter of 2019 shows this to be an effective strategy, with advocacy and trainings for government officials, organizing education events for trademark professionals, and raising awareness with youth on important intellectual property (IP) matters in multiple countries and working with several international partners.

Helping Students Understand Counterfeits in Thailand
and Vietnam

INTA’s Unreal Campaign educates young consumers (ages 14-23) about the importance of trademarks, brands, and the dangers of counterfeit products, and has successfully reached nearly 40,000 students directly since its launch in 2012. As an INTA Member and sponsor of the Unreal Campaign,
Tilleke & Gibbins (with offices in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) has been facilitating events across a number of jurisdictions in Asia to help raise public awareness about the importance of protecting and respecting IP, and the dangers of counterfeit products.

In April,
Tilleke & Gibbins hosted the Unreal Campaign at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. The event featured a keynote presentation on trademarks and branding. In addition, two of the company’s IP consultants, along with the marketing team, participated in the event’s activities by helping educate students on the dangers of counterfeit goods.

One of the most popular features of the event was the company’s highly interactive “Museum of Counterfeit Goods” exhibit, featuring examples of several well-known brands and counterfeits. The exhibit captured the interest of students, many of whom took the time to examine examples of brands in great detail.
Participants also tested their knowledge of trademarks and counterfeits by taking quizzes.

At the Nguyen Tat Thanh campus of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law (Vietnam), the Center for Enterprise Relations and Student Support coordinated with INTA and Tilleke & Gibbins to organize the opening ceremony of the 2019 “Unreal-Counterfeit and Genuine Goods” Intellectual Property Awareness Day and Vocational Consultancy, drawing more than 400 students. Students participated in a brand awareness quiz, which demonstrated how deeply brands are a part of consumer awareness, and why they must be protected from counterfeiting and other infringements.

Participating in the opening ceremony on the part of the university were Phan Van Tuyen, President of the Trade Union and Head of Student Affairs; Vu Dinh Le, Deputy Head of the Training Department; Nguyen Thanh An, Deputy Director of the Center for Enterprise Relations and Student Support; and Nguyen Thanh Ba Dai, Secretary of the Youth Union. Also in attendance were many students, and teachers from various faculties.

Seth Hays, INTA Chief Representative, Asia-Pacific, attended the event. Representatives from the Tilleke & Gibbins Vietnam office included Thomas J. Treutler (Managing Director), Le Xuan Loc (Head of IP Enforcement in Hanoi); Nguyen Thi Mai Linh (Head of Trademark); Vu Thi Thanh Binh (Director of Human Resources and Administration); and Eric Minh Huu Huynh (Marketing Manager).

INTA Education Roundtables Going Strong

This spring, INTA members gathered at the offices of Shearn Delamore in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an INTA roundtable titled “Online and Offline Dispute Resolutions.” Mr. Hays opened the event and shared information on INTA’s work on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and recent policy activities carried out by the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on the General Data Protection Regulation and the WHOIS protocol.

Chiara Accornero (World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Singapore) highlighted WIPO’s mediation services on international neutrality. Ms. Accornero noted that WIPO’s international ADR procedures make up 75 percent of its caseload, of which trademark cases make up 20 percent, and the numbers are increasing. WIPO recommendations that contracts should anticipate IP disputes, and should include mediation and arbitration provisions.

Nivvy Venkatraman (Asian International Arbitration Centre, Malaysia) noted that arbitration in Malaysia has evolved over time to keep up with global standards. Mr. Venkatraman noted that Malaysia’s Arbitration Act, which was drafted in 2005 and modeled after the arbitration acts of the United Kingdom and New Zealand, continues to be well received. In 2018, the Arbitration Act was amended to bring it in line with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, as well as to allow for electronic forms. The amendment included interim measures to help Malaysia become more competitive in terms of arbitration. The subject of domain name dispute resolution was also highlighted. According to WIPO data, Mr. Venkatraman noted, there were more than 5,000 cybersquatting cases in 2018 across an increasing number of websites. Lilien Wong (Shearn Delamore, Malaysia) also gave a presentation, highlighting several Malaysian case studies involving arbitration disputes.

Addressing Changes in China

INTA members based in Hong Kong and nearby Shenzhen participated in a roundtable to discuss bad faith trademark registration in China. Dennis To (Ralph Lauren, Hong Kong) provided an overview of his company’s efforts to deal with piracy of its brands in Southeast Asia. Joe Simone (SIPS, Hong Kong) highlighted INTA’s work on bad faith trademark registration in China and provided an interim update on the results of an ongoing global survey into best practices adopted by various countries to address the problem.

Participants discussed the current status of efforts by authorities in China to deal with bad faith registration, including new draft regulations that would effectively establish a blacklist of bad faith filers, as well as the government’s plans to amend the People’s Republic of China Trademark Law which recurred a few days after the roundtable was held. INTA’s views are summarized in the May 15, 2019,
INTA Bulletin article here.

INTA Panel on Indigenous Rights

INTA continued its long-time support for the ASEAN Intellectual Property Association, by sponsoring and organizing a panel on indigenous rights at the ASEAN IP Association Meeting. The event attracted approximately 400 IP practitioners from around Southeast Asia.

Some of the world’s most progressive policies on indigenous rights can be found in Southeast Asia. INTA leads the world in research on the impact of indigenous rights and IP through its
Indigenous Rights Committee. Debbie David (Advanz Fidelis IP Sdn Bhd, Malaysia), Barbara Berdou (Berdou Attorneys, South Africa), Mila Federis (Federis Law, the Philippines), and Aaron Thng (Amica Law, Singapore) joined the panel to discuss INTA’s committee work and case studies from the Philippines and Malaysia.

One of the most pressing questions around IP rights and indigenous rights involves the very definition of what is indigenous, what is in the public domain, and what-at least when it comes to trademarks-can be registered as a mark.

Mr. Thng provided a pertinent example from the United States, in which a boutique fashion company launched a new “it” bag. The bag was quickly adopted by social media influencers and stars, followed by a crush of purchases. While the company tried to protect the bag as a 3D trademark, it ultimately failed because the shape was clearly inspired by traditional Japanese designs. The question to the audience was, how far can a company go to protect a mark when the roots of the IP are so deeply identifiable with a specific culture?

Stemming Trade in Counterfeits: INTERPOL in Cambodia

Consumers in developing countries are often the most vulnerable to counterfeits, and often bear tremendous financial and health burdens when these products fail. In Southeast Asia, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, but it has been highly active in the fight against counterfeits.

INTA participated in an INTERPOL training of Cambodian enforcement officials on April 23, at which Valentina Salmoiraghi (INTA, Asia-Pacific), represented the Association. The training focused on counterfeits that affect public health, such as fake pharmaceuticals and food products. Representatives from the office of Cambodia’s Attorney General, Cambodia National Police, Europe-Asia Foundation, Halal Serunai Certification, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as brand owners from Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Philip Morris International, and Syngenta, spoke at the event.

Ms. Salmoiraghi emphasized the economic importance of trademark-intensive industries, citing a
study from 2017 that examined five Southeast Asian countries, finding that 17‒50 percent of the region’s GDP and 13‒29 percent of jobs can be attributed to trademark-intensive industries. Additionally, she called attention to the growing problem of online counterfeits, and noted INTA’s work in this area, including a Best Practice Paper, Addressing the Sale of Counterfeits on the Internet.

2019 Asia Conference: Brands in Changing Times

Innovate. Protect. Enforce. Grow.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 17-18

Join us in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where business and legal experts, and government officials will help you navigate innovation in the marketplace and in the practice of trademark law, IP protection strategies, the changing enforcement landscape, and growth opportunities in the region. Register here.

INTA’s Asia-Pacific Representative Office, based in Singapore, represents the Association’s 789 members across the region. Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the Asia-Pacific Representative Office leads the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives throughout this region. To learn more about INTA’s activities in the Asia-Pacific, please contact INTA Chief Representative Officer Seth Hays at
[email protected].

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.

© 2019 International Trademark Association