South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

Case Studies

Case Study 35 - Design registration in Automotive industry in Singapore

Background:

Mobix Auto (“Mobix”) is a European company specialised in manufacturing parts and accessories for automotive manufacturers. Having achieved considerable market share in its home market and some other European countries, Mobix plans to introduce its products to the South-East Asian market, after learning of the growing demand for vehicles and vehicle components in this region.

Before entering the region, Mobix attends an automotive trade show organised in Singapore to survey the potential markets in the region, and to establish contacts with potential local partners. At the trade show, Mobix comes into contact with Metro Singapore (“Metro”), a distributor of parts and accessories in Singapore and the region.

Case study 34 - Customs seizures of goods suspected of IPR infringement in Vietnam

Background:

A German company, owner of a trade mark (“XXX”) protected in Vietnam since 1995 for uninterruptible power supplies, suspected that a consignment infringing its trade mark was being shipped to Hai Phong Port in Vietnam. The shipment contained a large amount of uninterruptible power supplies bearing the sign "XXX-UPS’’, imported by a local company (the Vietnamese Company).

Case study 33 - IP infringement by using confusingly similar marks in Vietnam

Background: 

A Dutch company used its trade mark ‘XXXX-LON’  registered in Vietnam for a wide range of products and services and it entered into a licensing contract with its subsidiary in Vietnam (the Subsidiary), whereby the Subsidiary is authorized to use the trade mark ‘XXXX-LON’ for steel frames and other steel products under Class 06.

The Subsidiary discovered that many companies in Vietnam have been trading and marketing some construction materials similar to their products and called them ‘XXXX-LINE’, which sounded very similar to its trade mark ‘XXXX-LON’.

After investigating, the Subsidiary found out that it was one of its previous Vietnamese sub-contractors (the Vietnamese Company) to have filed an application for registration of the trade mark ‘XXXX-LINE’ for services under Class 35: "Trading in metal sheets" and Class 42 "Processing metal sheets", and marketed their products, including aluminum sheets, steel sheets, steel ceilings, aluminum ceilings and steel frames, as ‘XXXX-LINE’.

Case Study 32 - Trade mark registration in Thailand and South-East Asia in Automotive Industry

Background: 

Textra Automotive (“Textra”) is a medium-sized European company known for producing high-tech sensors for cars. After an extensive market study, Textra has decided to enter the ASEAN market. It identifies Siam Manufacturing Group (“Siam”) as a promising partner in Thailand and enters into an agreement with the latter to manufacture and distribute sensors to vehicle manufacturers in Thailand. If the products prove profitable in Thailand, Textra will expand its business to the other major automotive manufacturing countries in the region.

Following three successive profitable quarters, Textra decides to pursue sales of the products in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. It applies to register its name as a trade mark in Thailand, with a plan to register the same mark in the other four countries, claiming priority from the Thailand application. However, Textra discovers that the trade mark has already been registered by Mais Manufacturing Ltd. (“Mais”).

Case study 31 - Patent Prosecution Strategy for manufacturing in Vietnam

Background:

An Austrian SME operating in the sport industry, developed a new patentable technology to manufacture sports equipment and was also seeking for a Vietnamese manufacturer. The company was new to IP knowledge and patent application procedure, and therefore needed to understand the best patent application route to protect their product tailored to their needs to internationalise their operations. To pursue it goals, the company also needed to quickly draw and implement a business strategy to protect its idea and to produce in Asia without incurring in major IP risks. Their plan included manufacturing in Vietnam and sell in Europe and other Asian markets and potentially worldwide,

Case study 30 - Non-use cancellation actions in Thailand

Background:

Company A wanted to apply for registration of a trade mark for “snack food” in Class 30 in Thailand, but found that a similar trade mark had already been registered for the goods “potato chips, crispy rice chips, corn flakes, and crackers” in the same class by a Thai company (Company B). The goods covered by Company B are classified as ready-to-eat products under Group 3, i.e., food with labeling that is subject to regulatory approval. 

Case Study 29 - Contribution of know-how in Vietnam

Background:

A European company is willing to establish a Joint Venture with a local partner in Vietnam where the investment in the capital will be composed of cash from the Vietnamese partner and know-how and cash from the European company. The European company has developed a specific know-how in treating and cleaning systems which enable to minimise the use of water and detergents. 

The parties enter into negotiations in relation to the Joint Venture Agreement and have reached a point in which it became difficult to assess the exact value of the contribution of know-how since the process was and could not be patented in Europe nor in Vietnam. The parties could not find an agreement on the contribution and the European company was worried of disclosing further information at this stage.

Case Study 28 - Trade Secrets protection in Thailand

Background:

Important amounts of investment are made in research and development to improve designs, techniques, and processes by SMEs to reduce production costs and increase sales. Trade secrets disputes often arise against employees or former employees and business partners and is a frequent issue affecting SMEs. However, in relation to Thailand, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (IP&IT Court), has published that only 66 trade secret cases were brought to the IP&IT Court between 2004 and 2014. Of this limited number of cases, the majority had unfortunately no positive outcome for trade secrets’ owners, with the main reason for the court to dismiss a plaintiff’s claim, being the absence of appropriate measures to maintain trade secrets. Key grounds to support a claim of trade secrets theft is indeed represented by the proofs of the existence of a trade secret by demonstrating that the information is protected by measures to maintain its secrecy. Failing to provide certain evidence in this respect, will lead to lose the case. 

Case Study 27 - Relevant clauses for license agreements

Background: 

A European company in the green technology field with an advanced technology for waste management currently manufactures its products in Europe and is willing to enter into a license agreement with a Malaysian company to grant licenses for manufacturing, distribution and selling of its products with non-transferrable exclusive and sole right for a period of five years. The parties enter into negotiations of the main terms of the deal to be inserted in the written agreement.

Case Study 26 - (included in the 2016 update of the Guide ‘South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk Guide: Protecting your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia’)

Background:

A Slovenian company in the automotive industry exhibiting at the Automotive Trade Fair in Vietnam is aware that a Chinese company which has been reported infringing its design in the past is also exhibiting at the same fair. The Slovenian company has checked the list of exhibitors before starting the exhibition and therefore had the time to be prepared should any infringement occur during the fair, including preparing the original certificate of its design registration in Vietnam and identifying a lawyer who could provide advice directly at the exhibition in case of need.