Five things you need to know – Asia-Pacific

Bangladesh

Domestic media outlets suggest that Bangladesh is likely to join the Madrid Protocol in the near future. The country’s Ministry of Industry has initiated a process to join the protocol and has held several meetings in the past few months with stakeholders, including trade bodies and ministries, to obtain opinions on the issue. With a population of 164.7 million as of 2017, the addition of Bangladesh to the Madrid System would be a significant boon for WIPO.

China

The Sichuan province in China has launched a new IP protection centre. Doors opened in Chengdu, the province’s capital, at the end of July after the China National IP Administration approved the centre in 2017. Sichuan is in the southwest of the country, an atypical forum for IP processes. The centre has already granted qualifications for previewing patent applications to 600 enterprises and institutions, speeding up the handling process.

North Korea

According to media reports, North Korea has established an institution that is “in charge of intellectual property”, testament to the fact that the North Korean regime is “intent on developing technologies to spur economic development”. Heading up the new IP institution is Kim Yong-Chol, who affirmed that the office “will contribute actively to the economic construction and development of scientific technologies by further expanding and strengthening projects to protect the intellectual property of the country”. Further, the regime claims that the institution will lead to the creation of “legal and institutional conditions for the protection of intellectual property”.

Philippines

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has requested that the country’s Supreme Court establish more special commercial courts with the power to issue search warrants in relation to IP rights cases that are enforceable nationwide. The request follows a visit with Supreme Court justices to discuss various approaches to ease crowding dockets and up the resolution of pending IP cases. The request comes as numbers of IP cases continue to rise, particularly those relating to trademark infringement. Another solution that the IPOPHL suggested is to consider that select regional trial courts should specialise in and focus solely on IP rights cases.

Vietnam

The Vietnamese government has adopted an IP strategy, according to ‘vietnamnews.vn’, the main goal of which is to improve Vietnam’s placement on the Global Innovation Index. One of the key elements is that the government now expects the number of trademark applications filed in Vietnam to grow annually by 8% to 10%, with patents expected to grow even more significantly, by 16% to 18%.

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