South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

Continuous updates: IP offices in South- East Asia implement measures during COVID-19 crisis

(last Update: 11 January 2021)

  • Brunei: The Brunei’s IP Office (BruIPO) updated its services operating hours from 8.00AM -12.00PM and 2.00PM - 3.00PM, Monday to Thursday; and 8.00AM to 11.00AM on Saturday (read more here).

  • Cambodia: Cambodia expands e-filing of Trademarks in response to COVID-19. The Department of Intellectual Property Rights of Cambodia has implemented new functions in its e-filing system to allow for online submission of most post-registration matters (read more here).

    The Cambodian Department of Intellectual Property Rights (DIPR) recently issued new requirements for trademark owners and their agents to file Affidavits of Use or Non-Use. Under the new requirements, the affidavit must no longer be signed by the trademark owner. Instead, assuming a registered agent is representing the owner, the agent will declare on the amended official form whether the mark is in use or not. If the mark is being used, evidence must now be submitted. This can take the form of pictures of the product on sale, sales receipts, advertising material, newspaper cuttings, or other forms (read more here).

  • Indonesia: During the covid-19 pandemic, the Indonesia’s Director General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) has continuously improved the online system and add new features to covers almost all aspects of the registration process, from searching or filing to post-filing for patents, trade marks, designs and copyrights to encourage IP protection despite the disruption. Online counters or virtual counters were established by May 2020 to support patent annuity and excess fee payments during substantive examination. The Indonesia patent office now sends examination letters to local agents via email, keeping the pace of patent prosecution in the jurisdiction steady (read more here).

In particular, Indonesia adjusts compulsory licensing guidelines in preparation for eventual COVID-19 Vaccine. According to the new Presidential Regulation No. 77/2020 regarding Procedures of Patent Implementation by the Government, which took effect on July 8, 2020, the government may exercise compulsory licensing on a patent for one of two broad reasons: national defense and security (in which case the patent can only be used by the government or its appointed party), or an urgent public need. The urgent public is considered to relate to pharmaceutical and biotechnology products, chemical products, animal medicine and processes or products needed to deal with natural or environmental disasters (read more here).

  • Laos: On December 23, 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office issued Notification No. 1414/PMO to continue implementing measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in Laos from the date of issuance to January 31, 2021. This comes amid a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries, and the transmission of the virus to individuals entering Laos (read more here).

  • Malaysia: The Malaysian IP office (MyIPO) issued an updated operating guideline at Customer Service Counter of its head quarter. There will be no face-to-face communication with the Customer Service Officers, Customers and agents are required to place the application forms and submission documents in the box provided at the counter. New applications for trademark, patent and industrial designs should be submitted online (read more here).

Malaysia just issued the Trademarks (Waiver and Modification of Fee) Regulations 2020 and Patents (Waiver of Fee) Regulations 2020, providing certain waiver or modification of fees by the MyIPO which is applied from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 to support the individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19 (read more here).

  • Myanmar: In response to the recent uptick in cases of COVID-19 found in Myanmar, and concern about the disease’s spread, all branches of Myanmar’s Office of Registration and Deeds (ORD) have temporarily ceased accepting declarations. While this is not expected to impact the highly anticipated soft opening of the country’s new Department of Intellectual Property, due to start October 1, 2020, it will affect IP owners who have not yet registered their mark with the ORD but who would like to take advantage of trademark re-registration under the soft opening period (read more here).

  • Philippines: The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) announced that all filings, submissions, and payments shall be done online through IPOPHL’s online portal starting on 1 September 2020 except for payments PHP 100,000 and above which shall be accepted at the Main Office. A maximum of 75 clients or visitors shall be allowed to enter the receiving area per day. IPOPHL receiving and cashiering counters will remain open from Mondays to Thursdays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm only (read more here).

  • Singapore: The Singaporean IP office (IPOS) announced that excluded days period that was declared via Registries Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 in relation to the nationwide extended circuit breaker has ended on 4 June 2020.

If the IP owners need more time beyond existing deadlines, please file a request for an extension of time via the requisite form. If you are unable to do so due to circumstances related to COVID-19 situation, please write to IPOS at ipos_enquiry@ipos.gov.sg. IPOS will assess such requests to extend deadlines in these situations on a case-by-case basis. Please note that extensions of time cannot be given for instances where deadlines have already lapsed.

The physical office will be closed until further notice, but online portal, IP2SG, at www.ip2.sg and mobile app, IPOS Go, continue to be available (read more here).

  • Thailand: On 24 March 2020, the Thai IP office (DIP) issued a notification allowing the submission of requests for extensions of time for filing applications and other submissions (e.g., appeals, oppositions, responses to office actions, renewals, etc.) after the deadline has already passed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the requests must include valid reasons for the extension if citing COVID-19, such as being treated for infection of the virus, under lockdown, or unable to return to one’s home country. The extension request must be filed within 15 days of the COVID-19 event which prevented the initial submission (read more here).

  • Vietnam: Following the new Notice on Loosen Strict Social Distancing Measures, the IP Vietnam office (IP Viet Nam) informed resumption of receiving applications directly at its office from 24 April 2020. In the meantime, online applications and application via post are still accepted (read more here).

Vietnam reduces 50% IP fees for all businesses from 01 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. Following the guidance of the Circular No. 112/2020/TT-BTC dated December 29, 2020 of the Ministry of Finance regarding a number of charge and fee rates to support and remove difficulties for business and production, ensure social security in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam IP Office announced applying 50% discount of IP fees during the period from 01/01/2021 to 30/6/2021. List of fees applicable for 50% discount including fees for new applications, extension of time, renewal fees, etc. (read more here).

  • WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launches a tool to Track IP Policy Information in Member States during COVID-19 Pandemic which is so-called COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker. This Tracker provides information on measures adopted by IP offices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the extension of deadlines. In addition, the policy tracker provides information on legislative and regulatory measures for access and voluntary actions (read more here).

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