SINGAPORE: With the Asean Economic Community (AEC) likely to result in an increase in intra-Asean trade due to the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, intellectual property (IP) will be a very important consideration for both member countries and businesses operating in the region.
In stating this, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) senior programme officer Peter Willimott said: “It is logical to assume that businesses will look to obtain protection for IP such as trademarks, before commencing exports to a new country within Asean.
“In this context, IP will be a major business consideration and therefore very important to Asean members,” he told Bernama.
WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation.
“As a specialised agency of the United Nations, we assist our 188 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs.
“From the WIPO office in Singapore (WSO) we provide services and assistance to the Asia-Pacific region with a focus on Asean.
“In this regard, we respond to member state requests and work with the Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation in helping to deliver components of the IP Rights Action Plan and the Asean Secretariat.
“In Malaysia, we work with the Intellectual Property Corp of Malaysia (MyIPO) to help with the development of the different aspects of IP,” Willimott said.
Last year WIPO organised seminars and participated in events on many IP topics including the Hague system for industrial designs, creative industries, the AseanPatent Examination Co-operation (Aspec), IP and competition, copyright in the digital era, patent tools, commercialisation, IP and sports and the Madrid protocol for international trademark applications.
All these events saw the participation of Malaysian delegates.
When asked about the success of WIPO in creating awareness, improving understanding and respect for IP among Asean member countries, both within the government and private sector, Willimott said measuring this was a difficult task.
“But if you look at the figures relating to how WIPO services are being used in Asean countries, there is an uptrend.
“For example, Malaysia’s use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty which is used to protect inventions globally, rose by 6% when comparing 2012 and 2013 figures,” he added. - Bernama