Philippines: New Seizure and Concerns of the Bureau of Customs

After 3 months of covert surveillance of the target, a spectacular seizure has recently been announced in a report by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) of the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Seized in three warehouses in Dagupan Center located in Manila, the counterfeit products, imported from China, included, in particular, Rexona deodorants, Safeguard soaps, Bulldog super glue, Spalding basketballs, Mongol pencils; toothbrushes and insects sprays, for a total estimated value of Php 105 million (€1.865.285).

However, the BOC is concerned about the fundamental issue raised by this successful seizure. Indeed, as the products have been seized in Manila and were already in circulation, the question is to know how they could enter the Philippine territory and, in particular, how they could cross the border without being intercepted by border customs authorities.

This seizure thus reveals a possible failure in port and border control, a lack of knowledge on the registered trademarks as well as a lack of shipment risk assessment techniques. It appears, therefore, necessary to intensify Customs border activity in order to tackle massive Chinese imports of counterfeit products to the country.


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Cambodia Introduces E-filing

Cambodia has launched a new online trademark registration system on May 25, 2017, thus becoming seventh ASEAN country to implement online trademark registration after Singapore, Malaysia, Philippine, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. New filing system is optional and the applicants can still opt for the traditional paper filing. While domestic applicants will be able to open accounts with the Department of Intellectual Property, foreign applicants will still have to rely on Cambodian trademark agents. The system still requires hard copies of the original documents including notarized power of attorney or priority documents to be submitted to the DIP within two months as of filing date. All other actions before the DIP will still need to be conducted in traditional way by submitting paper documents.

The new platform was developed by WIPO technical team over 20 months period and is expected to make application process easier. It also is a gateway to the Madrid system, as a centralized platform that allows applicants to file a single application in multiple jurisdictions. This important improvement of IPR protection in Cambodia is expected to encourage small businesses to grow ensuring that their innovation and IPR are protected.

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Indonesia: a Conflicting Protection of Cultural IP

‘We don’t want other countries to claim our tourism assets, so we need to keep a complete catalogue’, recently said the Indonesian National Archives Chairman, Mustari Irawan. Indonesia is indeed concerned about the appropriation of its cultural heritage by its neighbours. In particular, the traditional batik designs, songs and dances by Malaysia and the Toraja coffee from Sulawesi (an Indonesian island) appropriated by a Japanese brand.

That is why the Tourism Ministry and the Indonesian National Archives recently decided to issue a catalogue of the cultural heritage of the country in order to prevent violations of its intellectual property rights.
The difficulty of this initiative comes from the fact that these countries previously shared similar cultural traditions. Indonesia and Malaysia were indeed parts of the Sriwijaya Kingdom. How, therefore, in the age of modern legal frontiers, is it possible to appropriate traditions commonly owned for hundreds of years? Similarly, how Indonesia could prohibit the use of a Japanese brand for Sulawesi coffee while Japanese investments saved the failing Toraja coffee industry years ago? The Indo-Malay cultural conflict thus shows the difficulty to reconcile common heritage with national intellectual property rights.


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Singapore: Transforming the Ideas into Assets

‘Intellectual Property is the key to our future growth and the fuel for an innovation-driven economy’ recently claimed Daren Tang, the Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), before announcing the creation of a new S$1 billion fund intended for innovative companies.

Founded in partnership with the local private equity firm Makara Capital, the news funds, called the Makara Innovation Fund (MIF), aims at providing access to the markets and thus to the capital to innovative companies, allowing them to benefit from funding from S$30 million to S$150 million over the next 10 years. The applicant companies, whether local or foreign, must demonstrate that they meet the criteria of high-growth potential, unique product as well as competitive technologies in order to be selected.

This initiative aims at helping “local and foreign enterprises transform their ideas into assets” and develop their intellectual property to face global competitiveness while making Singapore an innovation ecosystem. The beneficiary companies must indeed use Singapore’s intellectual property infrastructure. The Makara Innovation Funds thus invests in intellectual property development in Southeast Asia.


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2018 FIFA World Cup’s impact on Russian IP and advertisement legislation

Russia will host FIFA World Cup in 2018 and FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017, in this regard, on May 21 2013 Russian State Duma adopted “Federal Law on the preparation for and observance in the Russian Federation, the FIFA World Cup 2018 year FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 year and amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation”. These legislative amendments cover quite a wide range intellectual property law and advertisement law.

This Federal Law adopted by Russia State Duma recognizes FIFA’s exclusive rights related to with holding World Cup 2018 and Confederations Cup 2017. FIFA’s exclusive rights include placing advertisement related and providing services related to the World Cup, using symbols and trademarks of the sporting event and monitoring stadiums, where the football matches will take place. At the same time, above mentioned exclusive rights could be examined by authorized organizations or third parties indicated in agreements signed with FIFA.

Article 17 and Article 55 of the Federal Law contain new provisions related to intellectual property law and unfair competition law. Russian trademarks that are identical or similar to FIFA’s trademarks and symbols will be prohibited till December 31, 2018, since usage of such kind of trademarks can mislead consumers and give them false information about FIFA’s partners and sponsors. FIFA’s trademarks will be recognized as well-known throughout the territory of Russian Federation during the World Championship. Registered as trademarks logos and emblems of activities using the phrases “Football in hope” and “Green goal” with or without the use of such phrases, other protected on the territory of the Russian Federation are trademarks of FIFA. Moreover, these trademarks will have priority for exclusive rights over other trademarks, regardless of the date of registration. Besides, Rospatent is obliged to arrange an easy and short-term procedure for FIFA to register its trademarks and licenses during the World Cup competition.

The sale, exchange, or other introduction into circulation of goods or execution of works, rendering services, if illegally used the symbolism of physical activities or sports activities, as well as the use of identical or similar to means of individualization will be recognized as unfair competition.

Article 18 and Article 51 of the Federal Law contain new provisions about advertisement law. For the period from one month before the start date of the relevant sporting event until the date of following final match, FIFA has exclusive rights to control placement of advertisement and implementation of trading activity at a distance closer than two kilometers from the outer limits of the places implementation of sports competitions as well as in the airspace over such places.

In the days of sporting events, trading activities in the stadiums and other venues, as well as within a radius of two kilometers around stadiums, can only be carried out with the official written consent of FIFA or a FIFA authorized persons. Advertisements on sports facilities and outfit used during FIFA World Cup should be consistent with requirements of FIFA.

New provisions regarding intellectual property law, unfair competition law and advertisement law, that were adopted by Russian Government, aimed at protecting FIFA and its authorized partners and sponsors from intellectual property infringements and illegal market activities.


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Thailand: A Fall of Up to 85% in Counterfeit Products

The Thai Ministry of Commerce recently announced that the number of counterfeit products has been reduced by more than 85%. The objective to keep counterfeit products out of the market is now almost reached.
Mr. Thosapone Dansupatra, the Director-General of the Department of Intellectual Property pointed that the suppression of counterfeiting activities will continue to operate. The Department of special investigation, police officers and trademark owners cooperate with the Department of Intellectual Property to prevent and suppress IP right violation.

The authorities recently put pressure on vendors selling counterfeit products, in particular in the border Rongkluea market at Sa Kaew province and in well-known shopping centres such as MBK, also known to propose a lot of counterfeits. The authorities were thus able to reduce the number by more than 85% and aim at eliminating counterfeiting activities completely.

Moreover, “Bangkok’s Red Zone” where counterfeit products were available for consumers has been completely raided. No counterfeit products were found in places like Saphan Lek, as for the Wireless Road near the US embassy, it has also been successfully raided. However, there are still some stores at Pantip Plaza which are expected to be raided very soon.

The Department of Intellectual Property has advised people to cooperate and assist the government by vigorously acting to defend and enforce against infringers. Those who will provide useful clues on infringing stores to the authorities will be rewarded with legal incentive shares from infringer’s fines.


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Chinese WECHAT Messenger is blocked in Russia: Roskomnadzor takes action.

On May 5, 2017, ROSKOMNADZOR (Russia’s communications regulator) confirmed that they had blocked the Chinese WECHAT messenger service in Russia. It was understood the ban was due to WECHAT refusing to provide information on its users and denial that they were an organizer of information distribution.

This follows other messenger services such as ZELLO, BLACKBERRY MESSENGER etc being blocked for the same reasons. ROSKOMNADZOR has been cracking down on messenger services that do not follow the relevant Russian regulations for companies engaged in information dissemination, including providing user data to relevant authorities.

With recent terrorist attacks, ROSKOMNADZOR have been stepping up their enforcement of the FEDERAL LAW ON INFORMATION, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND THE PROTECTION OF INFORMATION. The subject law set out the requirements for organizers of information distribution, including the need to divulge information on users and their messages under set circumstances.

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Seminar Attendance: “Implementation of the Criminal Code in Asian Intellectual Property Rights”

From 7 to 10 April 2017 IPLEC together with Hong Kong’s exceptional tax office and Attaché of legal customs of the US’ internal security forces which is responsible for Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong has organized workshop under topic ‘Implementation of the Criminal Code in the Asia Intellectual Property Rights’.
Mongolian representatives of National police agency and head of the control department Ms Ch.Erdenechimeg and around 150 people from 50 countries attended the seminar. Copyright violations, forging a trademark, promoting and improving the implementation of criminal law against the stealing trade mark secrets were the main purpose of the seminar.
We found the seminar to be extremely beneficial and a fantastic source of information.
Source :

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Ukraine Customs officers will be allowed to open and destroy parcels with counterfeits

The representative of the Department for the organization of Customs control of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Mr. Alexey Hashchitsky said, that Ukrainian parliament is discussing a draft bill that will allow Customs officials to destroy counterfeits that Ukrainians order from abroad.
Changes will affect the Customs Code, which will regulate the destruction of products that violate intellectual property rights. This will apply to international postal items (a total of up to three pieces in one parcel and up to two kilograms in weight).
Article 401-1, which should be included in the Customs Code, is aimed to fight against the online trade of counterfeit goods.
The destruction procedure will include shipments ordered not from the official importer through express delivery or mail delivery. In such case, Customs will no longer be obliged to delay the clearance to inform the right holder or his representative. In case, if the Customs officers have reasonable suspicions that the goods are counterfeit or pirated, then it can be destroyed by the decision of the head of the Customs body only if there is information in the register that the right holder allows to destroy all identified counterfeits.
The buyer will be notified by fax or e-mail about the situation. In case if the buyer will not respond in 10 days, it will be regarded as consent to destruction. If the buyer does not agree with the destruction of the parcel, then all information about the buyer and purchased counterfeits will be transferred to the right holder. The right holder will be able to file a legal action against the buyer or the seller within 10 days.
This bill can be adopted within the framework of Ukraine obligations for the creation of a free trade zone with the European Union. Ukraine has committed within three years to bring its customs legislation in terms of the protection of intellectual property rights in line with European norms.

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Russia to create blockchain-based platform for IPR

Russian copyright holders plan to create a unified blockchain-based platform for intellectual property management, which will be called IPCHAIN. The platform will be developed by the Skolkovo Foundation, several universities and societies for collective management of rights. For developing the platform based on the blockchain technology, the National Coordination Center will be created, among the founders of which are the Russian Copyright Society, the Russian Union of Right holders, the All-Russian Intellectual Property Organization, the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics and the Skolkovo Foundation.
The founders plan to create a unified technology platform IPhub, which will store information about objects of intellectual property, such as objects of copyright and related rights, patents, trademarks, etc. At its core, IPCHAIN is a platform where the all information about the use of any IP objects will be recorded. Authors and rightholders will independently determine the conditions for using their developments, the rules for their use in a digital environment (for example, on the Internet or on television), as well as the conditions for the transfer of rights. In other words, users of the platform will be able to publish their patents in the register in a short time and without intermediation, they also will be able to sell their IP rights through smart contracts.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation has already shown interest in IPCHAIN. The head of the department of science and technology of the Ministry of Education and Science Sergey Matveev believes that with the help of the platform it will be possible to fix the priority on the results of research and development on the basis of “humanless” technologies, instant transactions by market participants with “smart contracts” and rapid marketing of scientific results .
This is an interesting project, especially for the publishing business, says Alexander Blinov, head of Warner Music Russia. According to him, Warner is going to place their catalog of works in IPCHAIN.
The creation of this platform will cost about 20-30 million rubles.


Блокчейн-платформа управления интеллектуальной собственностью появится в России

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