The current pandemic warranted some special measures taken by the IP Offices around the world, provided are some of the measures taken by various IP Offices in Southeast Asia.
- 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 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).
- 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).
- 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.
However, IPOS provided that should an IP owner need more time beyond existing deadlines, they may file a request for an extension of time via the requisite form. If unable to do so due to circumstances related to COVID-19 situation, the IP owner may write to IPOS at [email protected]. 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.
- 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.
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. The new requirements provide that the affidavit must no longer be signed by the trademark owner. Instead, where a register 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.
- Indonesia: The Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) held a virtual meeting through video conference on the 23rd of June 2020, where it was stated by the DGIP Director that in practicing the new normal, the DGIP establishes a Task Force of Covid-19 to organize the work management, such as prohibition for 50 year old employee or older to work at the office, arrangement for employees below 45 year old to work in shift, and conducting health control proactively (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 (read more here provide link for our previous article on the soft opening), 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.
- 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 the 1st of 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).
- Thailand: On the 24th of 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.
- 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 the 24th of April 2020. In the meantime, online applications and application via post are still accepted (read more here).
On the 26th of May 2020, in line with Vietnam Government efforts to support businesses coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Finance issued Circular No. 45/2020/TT-BTC providing a temporary 50% discount, effective until 31 December 2020, on certain industrial property fees at the IP Vietnam office such as:
- fees for filing applications for registration of protection of industrial property rights
- fees for extension of time limits for responding to notifications of the VNIPO
- fees for issuance of protection certificates and certificates of registration of industrial property right assignment contracts
- fees for maintenance, extension, invalidation or annulment of certificates of industrial property right protection
- fees for issuance of industrial property representation service practice certificates and declaration, and registration of industrial property representative.
- 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).
For further clarifications of the above or any assistance with IP filings in the Southeast Asia, please head to https://pintas-ip.com/ or contact us at ….