South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

Case Studies

Case Study 25 - ME Case Study (included in the 2016 update of the Guide ‘Top 20 Considerations when entering a new market’)

Background:

An European manufacturer engaged in the green technology industry with a innovative technology is interested in finding an exclusive distributor located in Singapore to expand its business in South-East Asia. The company participated into a programme funded by the European Union helping European companies to establish long-lasting business collaborations in South-East Asia. During the coaching session, it emerged that the company owns a trade mark and few patents in Europe but was not aware of the territorial nature of IP and which actions shall be taken in relation to trade mark and patent registrations in South-East Asia as well as to the negotiations with the local distributor in Singapore. 

Case Study 24 - Action against packaging design copies in Myanmar

Background

A Dutch company, Company A, specialising in the production and distribution of professional sealants for commercial and home use, had registered ownership of its trade mark and packaging design for its growing sales of sealants in Myanmar. After several years of sales in Myanmar, they were alerted by their local distributor to the existence of competing products bearing similar packaging design, but with a different logo, on sale in Yangon and Mandalay by resellers of hardware products. 

Case Study 23 - Revoking a conflicting “earlier trade mark” in Singapore

Background

A Spanish company, Company A, successfully registered its “AAA” trade mark in Singapore, starting from 2 April 1986 (“1986 Mark”). The “AAA” mark was registered in Class 3 of the International Classification of Goods under  the category of  “perfumery with essential oils”. 

On the 20 November 2001,  a US company, Company B, filed an application to register the same “AAA” mark in Class 3 under “bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning; polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery; essential oils; cosmetics; hair lotions; dentifrices; colognes; toiletries; sunscreens; cosmetics; skincare products; deodorants and antiperspirants for personal use; shaving preparations” (“Company B’s Application”) 

Case Study 22 – Defeating non-use claim with modified trade mark in Vietnam

Background

A registered trade mark in Vietnam which was a product label for instant noodles was subject to a request for cancellation for non-use.
Under Article 95 of the Vietnam’s Intellectual Property Law, a trade mark registration may be cancelled at the request of a third party if the mark has not been used by its owner or its licensee without justifiable reasons for five (5) consecutive years prior to the request for cancellation for non-use, except where use of the mark has commenced at least three (3) months before the request for cancellation for non-use.

In fact, the exact packaging design had not been used by the trade mark owner, but it was a slightly modified version of the said mark that had been used.

Case Study 21 - Prior registration of a trade mark in Southeast Asia

Background

A European electronics producer with an internationally recognized brand for personal computers (BHT) is interested in setting up business in South East Asia. Upon carrying out their initial research into one of the ASEAN markets, they soon discovered that a prior registration for their brand existed in that market, having been submitted by a local party 5 years before. The local registration covered stereo systems and electronic radios. The European company was advised by a local attorney that the trade mark registration by the local party would effectively block any application put forward by the European company.

Case Study 20 - Trade mark dispute with local partner in Southeast Asia

Background

An up-and-coming European fashion boutique chain was approached by a local business to open an outlet in an ASEAN country. The local company requested a 5-year exclusive dealership agreement with the European boutique chain.

The licence was granted exclusively for the use of the trade mark amyclick with the European boutique’s logo. In addition, the local outlet committed itself to exclusively selling the amyclick branded clothing which was to be supplied by the European company only. The local outlet agreed that no other brands would be sold in their store.

Case Study 19 - Discovery of counterfeit versions of a European product in Southeast Asia

Background

A small British company produces a very successful line of clothing under the brand name SHO.

The British company distributes its clothing locally in ASEAN through a dealer. The dealer reported to their British partner that they had become aware of cheaper ‘fake’ SHO branded clothing becoming available on the local market. The British company hired investigators to look into this.

Upon carrying out a market survey, the investigators discovered that several shops were actually selling counterfeit SHO clothing.

Case Study 18 - French jewellery manufacturer in Indonesia - register design or copyright?

Background

A small branch of a French jewellery manufacturer with activity in Indonesia distributes a successful line of rings, bracelets, and earrings designed in France. New collections are available on the market every 6 months. Due to the relatively long period of time needed to register an industrial design in Indonesia (about 24 months to 36 months) and high registration fees, the company decided not to apply for design protection for its collections in Indonesia.

At the same time, the company has become aware of cheaper imitations of its jewellery becoming available on the Indonesian market under a different brand.

Case Study 17 - Registering your domain name in potential future markets in Southeast Asia

Background

A Swedish producer of internet games is a market leader in the development and promotion of online social networking games for teenagers. The company has millions of teenage internet users worldwide, including in Southeast Asia.

In 2010, the company registered the names of their most popular games under .cn (China), .kr (Korea) and .jp (Japan), as those were considered the primary Asian markets for their games. It neglected to register its names in the ccTLDs of Vietnam (.vn and .com.vn), Singapore (.sg and com.sg), and Laos (.la).

Case Study 16 – Patent dispute in Southeast Asia

Background
A British pharmaceutical manufacturer is a market leader in the production of an anti-cancer drug, which it has been exporting to every major developed country for the last 20 years, and also more recently to developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia.

The active ingredient of the drug was patented, but the original patent expired 3 years ago. However, a new improved process for making the drug was patented 10 years ago, and this patent is still in force in various countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Two years ago, the manufacturer found out that a generic manufacturer based in Vietnam was making and exporting the anti-cancer drug to Malaysia, and being sold in these countries for half the price of their own drug. This was having a serious adverse effect on sales.