INTA in ASEAN: Recent Events Prioritize the Value of Brands

Published: April 20, 2022

As part of INTA’s ongoing efforts to work with members and governments in the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase the protection of intellectual property (IP) and harmonize practice, the Association recently organized a delegation meeting with member countries’ respective IP offices and arranged its first event with the Department of Intellectual Property of Cambodia (DIP) under a memorandum of understanding.

The ASEAN countries make up the world’s fourth largest economy, which includes more than 650 million consumers. In addition to the diversity of languages and cultures, the region also has a wide diversity of IP systems.

Regional Harmonization

On March 23, INTA President Zeeger Vink (MF Brands Group, Switzerland) led a virtual delegation of INTA members to meet with the 10 IP offices of the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC), which is dedicated to improved IP regionally. INTA regularly meets with this important body to share its priorities for the region.

Last year, AWGIPC amended its 10-year IP Rights Action Plan 2016‒2025 to include several issues important to brand owners, including two new action items to address IP infringement online. During the recent delegation event, INTA representatives stressed the need to be forward-looking. Since the current Action Plan will end in 2025, Mr. Vink encouraged more consideration of robust complementary rights with the formation of a subsequent action plan to lead ASEAN into the next decade.

“We would certainly like to see international harmonization across many practice areas, including bad-faith trademark registration, online counterfeiting, valuation and commercialization of brands, and complementary rights, such as unfair competition law or design law,” said Mr. Vink.

Mr. Vink noted that various Association committees are developing feedback on the ASEAN Common Guidelines for the Substantive Examination of Trade Marks and on specific policy issues around bad-faith registrations that address anticounterfeiting.

INTA representatives also shared two of the Association’s recent studies: The IPO of the Future—Think Tank Report and Brand Restrictions Study: A View from Gen Zers and Millennials.

SMEs in Cambodia

In the second recent outreach to members and stakeholders in ASEAN, the Association conducted its first joint program with DIP. Held on April 1, the program focused on brand commercialization through geographic indications (GIs), certification marks, and collective marks.

Representatives from more than 100 small and medium-sized enterprises in Cambodia attended the event as part of INTA’s initiative to promote IP for economic development, sustainability, and value creation. In an in-depth discussion, speakers emphasized the value of GIs, certification marks, and collective marks for economic development. They pointed to, for example, Cambodia’s famous GI, Kampot Pepper, showing how the establishment of a GI law in 2010 helped accelerate the value per pound of this agricultural product through GI branding.

Speakers included DIP Director General H.E. Vichea Suon (see recent INTA Bulletin interview); Vuoch Hun Seng, president of the Intellectual Property Association of Cambodia (IPAC); Ang Pich, founding president, IPAC; Patrick Kole, vice president, legal and government affairs at the Idaho Potato Commission, USA; Stéphane Passeri, manager, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Thailand; and Winnie Tham, director, Amica Law LLC, Singapore, and a member of INTA’s GIs Committee.

Mealy Khieu (Sok Siphana & Associates, Cambodia), a member of INTA’s Asia Global Advisory Council, supported the program translation from English to Khmer.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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