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News article | 2 June 2021

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

(last Update: 31 May 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: In response to the rise in Covid-19 infections, on March 8th 2021, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an order calling on government offices to stop activities or reduce the number of on-site employees for at least the next seven days and to work from home when possible.


    The Department of Intellectual Property Rights previously requested registered agents to make use of the improved e-filing system for trademarks as much as feasible. As the cases of infections develop, restrictions may be lifted or reinforced; it is recommended to verify the current status of services directly with the relevant government agency (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 added 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) announced that their Customer Service Counters resumed working as usual from 1 April 2021 (read more here).


    Malaysia 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: Refiling of registered trademarks started from 1 October 2020 under Order No. 63/2020 of the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar and it will run for a period (the Soft Opening Period) until the effective date of the Myanmar Trademark Law 2019 to be announced by the President of Myanmar. Despite of uncertain situation in Myanmar now, the refiling of registered trademarks through the online filing system of the Myanmar’s Department of Intellectual Property (IPD) is still possible (read more here).
  • The Philippines: Following the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) announced that they will continue implementing a combined work from home and skeleton workforce arrangement while maintaining an operational capability at its main office.

    All filings, submissions, and payments shall be still done online through IPOPHL’s online portal except for payments from PHP 100,000 and/or applications exceeding 250 pages 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: Following the announcement by the Government on Phase 2 Heightened Alert, IPOS’ services will continue uninterrupted from 16 May to 13 June 2021.

    The applicant can continue to use the online portal IP2SG and mobile app IPOS Go to file applications. For payment requests or submissions not available on IP2SG , the applicant may lodge them via FormSG (read more here).

 

  • Thailand: The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) is open. The DIP encourages customers to use electronic filing systems.


    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: In a recent move amid Vietnam's fourth wave of COVID-19, the Vietnam IP Office (VNIPO) has temporarily suspended receiving paper-based applications directly filed at their office in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh as from 27 and 31 May 2020, respectively.  Applicants and IP agents are encouraged to do all the filing tasks through e-filing system, and via postal service. There is currently no direct online payment featured on the e-filing system of the VNIPO, and payment of official fees has to be made by bank transfer to the State Treasury (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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