Intellectual Property (IP) has an important role in contributing to the achievement of national and regional socio-economic development goals of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) is critical for ASEAN Member States to move higher up in the technology ladder, in encouraging transfer of technology, and in stimulating innovation and creativity. Indeed, strengthening IPR is one of the characteristics of a competitive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN. To attain this goal, the AEC Blueprint 2025 encourages ASEAN Member States (AMS) to establish a policy environment that is supportive of innovation so as to improve the productivity growth in the region.
ASEAN’s cooperation in the field of IPR began with the goal of fostering closer cooperation in the field of intellectual property in order to provide a firm basis for economic progress and the expeditious realization of the ASEAN Free Trade Area among the ASEAN Member States (AMS). In this context, the AMS signed the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation in December 1995. The goal was to promote cooperation in the field of intellectual and to explore appropriate intra-ASEAN cooperation arrangements in the field of intellectual property.
The work on IPR cooperation in ASEAN is spearheaded by the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC), which was established in 1996 to formulate the details and modalities to implement the cooperative activities. Several sub-committees have since been set up under the AWGIPC, namely the Task Force on Trademarks, the ASEAN Task Force on Patent Examination Cooperation and the ASEAN Network of IP Enforcement Experts (ANIEE) to support the work of the AWGIPC. The AWGIPC is also tasked to facilitate ASEAN’s work to accelerate the pace and scope of IP asset creation, commercialization and protection; to improve the regional framework of policies and institutions relating to IP and IPRs, to promote IP cooperation and dialogues within the region as well with the region’s Dialogue Partners and organizations; to strengthen IP-related human and institutional capabilities in the region, including fostering greater public awareness of issues and implications, relating to IP and IPRs. Progress have been made in recent years on enhancing work-sharing arrangements, establishing regional IP databases and the promoting the use of common guidelines for examination.
There have been several action plans on IPRs covering all these aspects, the latest being the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025. The ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2025 is comprised of four strategic goals, i.e. (i) A more robust ASEAN IP System is developed by strengthening IP Offices and building IP infrastructures in the region; (ii) Regional IP platforms and infrastructures are developed to contribute to enhancing the ASEAN Economic Community; (iii) An expanded and inclusive ASEAN IP Ecosystem is developed; and (iv) Regional mechanisms to promote asset creation and commercialization, particularly geographical indications and traditional knowledge are enhanced. It is envisioned that the implementation of the strategic goals under the Action Plan will facilitate improved IP systems and services delivery with a higher level of confidence in the integrity and transparency for IP users.
To develop and implement the initiatives under each strategic goal, and accelerate the progress towards completion of the current Action Plan, the AWGIPC continues to enhance its relationship and active cooperation with IP institutions and agencies of development partners and the private sectors. These include IP Australia, European Patent Office (EPO), European IP Office (EUIPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean IP Office (KIPO), IP Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), State IP Office of PRC (SIPO), United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), World IP Organisation (WIPO), ASEAN IP Association (AIPA), Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) – under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the International Trademark Association (INTA).
- ASEAN IP Portal
- ASEAN Patentscope
- ASEAN TMclass
- ASEAN TMview
- ASEAN Designview
- ASEAN GI Database
- ASEAN IP Case Law
- ASEAN IP Training Platform for MSME