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PROTECTING THE POWER OF THE MIND

:
A Survey of the Laws on Intellectual Property in
the ASEAN Region

Milcielo Claire S. Villamayor *

With the advent of globalization, coupled with the age of
information, it has now become easier to share and exchange the products of
an individual’s mind – intellectual property. It is in this context that the
subject of intellectual property, its creation, protection, and the
implementation and enforcement of laws concerning the same, gain more
importance.

Just like other laws, the law on intellectual property evolved due to
the exigencies and demands of time and modernization. The law on
intellectual property takes precedence from the medieval period of Europe.1
Back then, the governments allowed “guilds” or associations of artisans,
crafts worker, or traders of a certain industry to manage and regulate their
activities, including the decisions on what to make, how to create them, and
the processes in which the products are to be manufactured and eventually
traded. This necessitated the use of trademarks to identify the goods and
products the artisans crafted.

Through the years, as the realities of the modern life were changing,
the law on intellectual property also progressed and developed. In 1883, the
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was concluded;2

* Junior law student

1 Allan B. Gepty, Deconstructing the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Era of
Globalizations, 40 IBP J. 115-158 (January – June 2015).
2 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, (September 27, 1965).
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 129

in 1886, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic
Works3 was likewise established. At present, the World Intellectual Property
Office (WIPO) administers and enforces various laws on intellectual
property all over the world. Together with the treaty creating the WIPO is
the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS).4 The Agreement provides for a minimum standard for the
protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It also provides
for the remedies and the dispute settlement methods between World Trade
Organization (WTO) members with respect to their obligations therein.5 The
Philippines ratified its accession to the treaty on December 16, 1994.

Pursuant to the incorporation clause under the Philippine
Constitution,6 international law forms part of the laws of the land. Therefore,
the various treaties concerning the protection of intellectual property,
including the TRIPS Agreement, are sources of legal obligations, and
therefore, have binding force in the Philippines.

Brief Survey of Law on Intellectual Property in the Philippines

The first law on intellectual property enforced in the country was the
Patent Law of Spain enacted by the Spanish authorities in 1826 and was
thereafter extended to the Philippines.7

In 1947, Republic Act No. 166,8 was enacted to provide for the
registration and protection of trademarks, trade names, and service marks.
Furthermore, the law defined unfair competition and false marking and also
provided for the remedies in case of infringement and violation of the
provisions of the law. Republic Act No. 165,9 on the other hand, provided for
the regulation of patents.

3 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, (August 1, 1951).
4 World Trade Organization (WTO) - Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1994) (January 1, 1995)
5 Id.
6 CONST. (1987), Sec. 2, Art. II.
7 JACINTO B. JIMENEZ, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES (2012).
8 Rep. Act No. 166 (1947)
9 Rep. Act No. 165 (1947)
130 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

At present, the primary source of law on intellectual property in the
Philippines is Republic Act No. 829310 which codified the existing laws on
intellectual property in the Philippines and created the Intellectual Property
Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). The IP Code seeks the promotion,
protection, and enforcement of intellectual property rights pursuant to the
mandate on the minimum standards of the TRIPS Agreement. In 2013, the
Congress enacted Republic Act No. 10372 which amended the Intellectual
Property Code, and provided, among others, enforcement and visitorial
powers to IPOPHL.

In addition to the primary law, regulatory and enforcement laws are
enacted to address intellectual property rights violations; these laws include
Republic Act No. 9239 (Optical Media Act),11 providing for regulations on the
importation, exportation, acquisition, sale or distribution of optical media,
manufacturing equipment, parts and accessories, and manufacturing
materials used or intended for use in the mastering, manufacture, or
replication of optical media; Republic Act No. 8729 (E-Commerce Act),12
providing for penalties on piracy of copyrightable works communicated
through a telecommunication network like the internet; Republic Act No.
10365,13 amending the Anti-Money Laundering Law, which included
violations of intellectual property rights as one of the unlawful activities
under such law; and Republic Act No. 10088 (Anti-Camcording Act of the
Philippines),14 providing penalties for illegal camcording activities in movie
houses and exhibition establishments.

Brief Survey of Intellectual Property Laws in Other ASEAN Countries

In order to have an overview of the circumstances and conditions on
the arena of intellectual property in the different member-states,
reproduced below are the lists of laws and statutes concerning the
enforcement and regulation of intellectual property rights.

10 Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (1998)
11 Rep. Act No. 9239 (2004)
12 Rep. Act No. 8792 (2000)
13 Rep. Act No. 10365 (2013)
14 Rep. Act No. 10088 (2010).
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 131

Brunei Darussalam

The legal system of Brunei is based on the English Common Law.
Since 2001, the country has been passing various legislations for the
protection of trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights, and patents. With
regard to its laws on intellectual property, the country is compliant with
international standards and international agreements governed by the
WIPO.15 Brunei is likewise a member-signatory of various conventions such
as the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, the Patent Cooperation
Treaty, and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration
of Industrial Designs. Like the Philippines, Brunei is also a signatory of the
TRIPS Agreement. And in 2016, Brunei has joined the Madrid Protocol for
the International Registration of Marks.16

In 2013, the Brunei Darussalam Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO)
was established in line with the joint effort between The Brunei Economic
Development Board (BEDB) and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) in
the restructuring of the Intellectual Property (IP) administration in Brunei
Darussalam. At present, all applications for patents, trademarks and
industrial designs are administered by BruIPO, while copyright advisory
remains under the of the Attorney General’s Chambers.17 BruIPO’s key
objective is to create an effective and vibrant intellectual property system
that would be beneficial to Brunei Darussalam’s economy. Accordingly, the
objectives of the Office are:

1. To provide a clear, accessible and widely understood patent
system that protects ideas and inventions whilst encouraging
innovation, Research and Development (R & D) and
commercialisation.

2. To raise awareness on the benefits and protection of
trademarks and industrial designs and to use them to enhance
business growth and competitiveness.

15 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-
east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), http://www.southeastasia-
iprhelpdesk.eu/sites/default/files/pdf/SEA_handbook.pdf
16 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Brunei Darussalam Joins the Madrid

System. (October 6, 2016), http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/news/2016/news_0020.html
17 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Brunei Darussalam,

Background. https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-
Details/Brunei-Darussalam/Background
132 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

3. To promote and develop an ‘IP Culture’ where creativity and
innovation can flourish.

4. To establish partnerships with the relevant stakeholders in
support of the national innovation ecosystem.

5. To create an internationally recognised intellectual property
system adherent to the standards of worldwide intellectual
property treaties18.

Brunei
Main Laws Supplemental/Related Laws
a. Chapter 98 of Laws of Brunei a. Companies Act (Amendment) Order
concerning the protection of
Trademarks rights b. Penal code, providing for penalties
on offenses relating to Documents and
b. Chapter 92 of Laws of Brunei to Trade or Property Marks
relating to the registration and
regulation of Business Names c. Chapter 180 of the Laws of Brunei
concerning the broadcasting industry
c. Chapter 94 of Laws of Brunei on
the prevention of improper use of d. Chapter 109 (Specific Relief Act)
emblems providing for reliefs on trademark and
copyright infringements
d. Chapter 96 of the Laws on
Brunei on Merchandise Marks
Executive Issuances
a. Plant Varieties Protection Order, e. Tobacco Order, 2005
2015 f. Emergency (Copyright) Order, 1999
b. Patents Order, 2011 g. Emergency (Industrial Designs)
c. Arbitration Order, 2009 Order, 1999
d. Customs Order, 2006 h. Emergency (Layout Designs) Order,
1999 19

18 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Brunei Darussalam,
Background, supra.
19 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Brunei Darussalam: IP Laws and

Treaties, http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=BN
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 133

Kingdom of Cambodia

The protection of intellectual property rights in Cambodia has been
present since the 1960s. Unfortunately, Cambodia fell into the internal crisis
of civil war and this resulted in the abandonment of the field of intellectual
property for almost of two decades. With the Paris Peace Agreement of
October 23, 1991, Cambodia began to restore its national economic
infrastructure. It also re-established the intellectual property sector. The
Office of Trademark was created, under the supervision of Ministry of
Commerce, tasked to register and protect trademarks with technical support
and assistance from various countries.20

While Cambodia has been approved to be a member of the WTO in
September 2003, it was not until July 2004 where it actually joined the
organization,21 To become TRIPS compliant, Cambodia has enacted a
complete set of intellectual property laws in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, it
adopted a Law concerning Marks, Trade Names and Acts of Unfair
Competition and in 2003 a Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and
Industrial Designs as well as a Law on Copyright and Related Rights.22 In
2015, Cambodia likewise became a member of the Madrid Protocol. With
regard to trade secrets, however, there is yet to be a piece of legislation for
the protection of the same.23

Cambodia
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Law on Patents, Utility Models and a. Criminal Code of the Kingdom of
Industrials Designs (2003) Cambodia (2010)

b. Law on Copyright and Related b. Law on Customs of The Kingdom
Rights (2003) of Cambodia (2007)

c. Law concerning Marks, Trade c. Code of Criminal Procedure of the

20 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Cambodia.
https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Cambodia
21 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
22 Christoph Antons, Intellectual Property Law in Southeast Asia: Recent Legislative and

Institutional Developments, The Journal of Information Law and Technology, (May, 2007)
23 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
134 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

Names and Acts of Unfair Kingdom of Cambodia (2007)
Competition of the Kingdom of
Cambodia (2002) d. Code of Civil Procedure of July
2006 (2006)
d. Law of January 25, 1996 on the
Protection of Cultural Heritage e. The Commercial Arbitration Law
(1996) of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2006)

f. Law on Commercial Enterprises
(2005)

g. Sub-decree Respecting
Implementation of Cultural Heritage
Protection (2002)

h. Law on the Management of
Quality and Safety of Products and
Services (2000)

i. Law of June 17, 1996 on the
Management of Pharmaceuticals
(1996)24

Indonesia

Pursuant to the TRIPS Agreement, Indonesia completed the main
parts of its intellectual property legislation during the 1990s and introduced
a complete new set of laws between 2000 and 2002. Similarly with
Cambodia, the country has been experiencing political and economic
upheavals since the late 1990s which necessarily affected development in
the field of law, including intellectual property development. Reforms in the
government, however, led to the introduction of branch offices of the
Ministry of Justice to receive applications for registration of intellectual
property rights.25

24 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Cambodia: IP Laws and Treaties,
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=KH
25 Christoph Antons, Intellectual Property Law in Southeast Asia: Recent Legislative and

Institutional Developments, supra.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 135

Indonesia
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Law of the Republic of Indonesia a. Law of the Republic of Indonesia
No. 13 of July 28, 2016, on Patents No. 5 of March 5, 1999 concerning
(2016) the Ban on Monopolistic Practices
and Unfair Business Competition
b. Law of the Republic of Indonesia (2000)
No. 28 of September 16, 2014, on
Copyright (2014) b. Penal Code (Undang-undang R.I.
No. 27 Tahun 1999, tanggal 19 Mei
c. Law No. 15 of August 1, 2001, 1999)
regarding Marks (2001)

d. Law No. 30 of December 20, 2000,
regarding Trade Secret (2000)
e. Law No. 31 of December 20, 2000,
regarding Industrial Designs (2000)

f. Law No. 32 of December 20, 2000,
regarding Layout Designs of
Integrated Circuits (2000)

g. Laws of Republic of Indonesia No.
29 of 2000 on Plant Variety
Protection (2000)

h. Law No. 13 of May 7, 1997, on
Patents amending Patent Law No. 6
of November 1, 1989 (1997)
Executive Issuances
a. Decree of President of Republic of e. Decision of the Minister of Justice
Indonesia No. 4 of 2006 regarding No. M.04-HC.02.10 of September 18,
the establishment of National team 1991 concerning the Requirements,
on the tackling of Infringements of Time Frame and Procedure to Pay
Intellectual Property Rights (2006) Patent Fees (1991)

b. Decision of the Minister of Justice f. Decision of the Minister of Justice
No. M.07-HC.02.10 of October 29, No. M-01.HC.02.10 of July 31, 1991
136 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

1991 Concerning Request for on Simple Patents (1991)
Substantive Examination (1991)
g. Decision of the Minister of Justice
c. Decision of the Minister of Justice No. M-02.HC.02.10 of July 31, 1991
No. M.08-HC.02.10 of October 29, on Patent Publication (1991)26
1991 concerning the recording and
request for copies of patent
documents (1991)

d. Decision of the Minister of Justice
No. M.06-HC.02.10 of October 22,
1991 on the procedure for patent
application (1991)

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

It is the Department of Intellectual Property, Standardization and
Metrology under the National Authority for Sciences and Technology (NAST)
which is in charge of the intellectual property matters in Lao PDR. The
government of Lao considers Intellectual Property Rights, as well as
Copyright Protection, important for the promotion of Trade, Investment,
Transfer of Technology and Cultural Industry in Lao PDR. Concededly, there
is yet to be a comprehensive intellectual property law in the country of Lao.
Nevertheless, the government is working on formulating the law in order to
cover all areas of intellectual property rights, as contemplated.27

The major intellectual property rights treaties signed by the country
include the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the
Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Convention establishing the WIPO.
Similarly, it is also a member-party of the Berne Convention and the Madrid
Protocol.28

26 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Indonesia: IP Laws and Treaties,
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=ID
27 Id.
28 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 137

Lao PDR
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Law No. 01/NA of December 20, a. Law No. 11/NA on Enterprises
2011, on Intellectual Property (as (2005)
amended) (2011)
b. Penal Law (2005)
b. Resolution No. 17/NA of
December 20, 2011, of the National c. Customs Law (2005)
Assembly of the Lao People's
Democratic Republic on the d. Tax Law (2005)
Approval of the Amended Law on
Intellectual Property (2011) e. Law on the Promotion of Foreign
Investment (2004)
c. Resolution of The National
Assembly of The Lao People’s f. Law on Civil Procedure Law (2004)
Democratic Republic on the
approval of the Intellectual g. Penal Procedure Law (2004)
Property Law (2007)
h. Decree No. 15 /PMO on Trade
d. Law No. 08/NA on National Competition (2004)
Heritage (1995)
i. Law No. 02/NA on
Telecommunications (2001)

j. Law No. 01-98/NA of October 10,
1998, on Agriculture (1998)

k. Property Law (1990)
Executive Issuances
a. Decree No. 054/PO of January 16, e. Decree No. 105/PO of November 6,
2012, of the President of the Lao 1998, of the President of the Lao
People's Democratic Republic on People's Democratic Republic on the
the Promulgation of the Amended Promulgation of the Law on
Law on Intellectual Property Agriculture (1998)
(2012)
f. Decree No. 03/PR of June 20, 1997,
138 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

b. Decree No. 06/P of the President on the Preservation of Cultural,
Lao People’s Democratic Republic Historical and Natural Heritage
on the promulgation of the (1997)
Intellectual Property Law (2008)
g. Decree No. 06/PM of Prime
c. Decree No. 01/PM of Prime Minister on Trademarks Registration
Minister on Patent, Petty Patent (1995)29
and Industrial Designs (2002)

d. Decree No. 205/PM of October
11, 2001, on Import and Export
Management (2001)

Malaysia

Similar to the country of Brunei, the legal system of Malaysia is
essentially based on the English common law. As a consequence, the
country’s laws on intellectual property are closely related to the evolution of
laws of United Kingdom. Accordingly, the laws of the country are generally
compliant with international standards. Just like all the members of the
ASEAN, Malaysia has acceded with the TRIPS Agreement and various
international agreements on intellectual property rights.30

It is the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) which
is mainly in charge for the registration and protection of intellectual
property rights in the country. It is an agency under the Ministry of Domestic
Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism. Ever since the IP Office has been
integrated as a body corporate and a statutory body in 200331, the
administration of intellectual property rights and laws in the country has
considerably improved.32 MyIPO’s main functions are: 1) to administer and
enforce IP legislations; 2) to provide services relating to IP protection; 3) to
encourage and organizes cooperation programme at national and
international levels; 4) to encourage and promote training and

29 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Lao People’s Democratic Republic: IP
Laws and Treaties, http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=LA
30 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
31 Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia Act 200, Sec. 3 and Sec. 33
32 Christoph Antons, Intellectual Property Law in Southeast Asia: Recent Legislative and

Institutional Developments, supra.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 139

dissemination of information on IP; and 5) to advise the government on
issues or matters related to IP.33

Malaysia
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Industrial Designs Act 1996 (Act a. Electronic Commerce Act 2006
552, as amended up to Act A1449) (2006)
(2013)
b. Intellectual Property Corporation
b. Trade Descriptions Act 2011 (Act of Malaysia Act 2002 (as at 1 January
730) (2011) 2006) (2006)

c. Copyright Act 1987 (Act 332, as at c. Optical Discs Act 2000 (Act 606)
1 January 2006) (2006) (2006)
Communications and Multimedia Act
d. Patents Act 1983 (Act 291, as 1998 (Act 558) (2006)
amended up to Act A1264) (2006)
d. Malaysian Communications and
e. Trade Marks Act 1976 (Act 175, Multimedia Commission Act 1998
incorporating all amendments up (Act 589) (2006)
January 1, 2006) (2006)
e. Digital Signature Act 1997 (Act
f. Protection of New Plant Varieties 562) (2006)
Act 2004 (Act 634) (2004)
f. Sabah Biodiversity Enactment 2000
g. Geographical Indications Act 2000 (2000)
(Act 602) (2000)
g. Digital Signature Regulations 1998
h. Layout-Designs of Integrated (1998)
Circuits Act 2000 (Act 601) (2000)
h. Telemedecine Act 1997 (1997)34

33 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Malaysia.
https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Malaysia
34 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Malaysia: IP Laws and Treaties,

http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=MY
140 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

Myanmar

Judicial and legal systems on intellectual property rights have
developed in the country early in the 19th century. Accordingly, Mayanmar’s
Patents and Designs Act were promulgated. Nevertheless, the same is now
defunct and inactive.35

As of present, Myanmar is yet to be a signatory of the Paris
Convention or any other multilateral treaty on trademarks.36 Nevertheless,
pursuant to its membership to the WTO, WIPO, as well as the ASEAN, the
country is mandated to comply with the obligations imposed by the TRIPS
intellectual property in cooperation with ministries and experts from
various Agreement, as well as the ASEAN Framework Agreement on IP CO-
operation.37 While Myanmar has not yet complied with its obligations under
the TRIPS Agreement, it is, however, currently drafting laws on sectors.38

With regard to the system of registering trademarks, there is yet to
be a comprehensive law on the matter. However, existing laws such as the
Merchandise Marks Act, Registration Act, Sea Custom and Land Custom Act
and Penal Code are used suppletorily with each other and which laws form
the trademark system of Myanmar.39

Anent copyright protection, the existing Myanmar Copyright Act was
promulgated on 24th February, 1914. Such act contains 13 sections from the
Copyright Act of 1911 of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,40
similar to the Patent Law of Spain which was extended to the Philippine
Islands during the colonial period.

35 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Myanmar.
https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Myanmar
36 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
37 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Myanmar, supra.
38 EUROPEAN UNION EXECUTIVE AGENCY FOR SME, Intellectual Property Rights in South-

east Asia: FAQ to the Helpdesk (2016), supra.
39 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Myanmar, supra.
40 Id.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 141

Myanmar
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Patents and Designs (Emergency a. Sea Customs Act No. 8 of 1878 (as
Provisions) Act of 1946 (1946) amended up to Act 1962) (1962)

b. The Copyright Act of 1911 (1911) b. The Antiquities Act 1957 (1957)

c. Merchandise Marks Act 1889 c. The Specific Relief Act 1877 (as
(1889) last amended up to Act No. 3 of
1954) (1954)

d. Registration Act No. 16 of 1908
(1908)

e. The Code of Criminal Procedure
(1898)

f. Myanmar Penal Code of 1860
(India Act XLV) (1860)
Executive Issuances
a. Electronic Transactions Law g. Traditional Drug Law (1996)

b. Control of Money Laundering Law h. Television and Video Law (1996)
(2002)
i. Science and Technology
c. Protection and Preservation of Development Law (1994)
Cultural Heritage Regions Law
(1998) j. Myanmar Citizens Investment Law
(1994)
d. National Food Law (1997)
k. National Drug Law (1992)41
e. Computer Science Development
Law (1996)

f. Motion Picture Law (1996)

41 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Malaysia: IP Laws and Treaties,
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=MM
142 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

Singapore

Up until the second half of 1980’s, Singapore depended on on the re-
registration of intellectual property rights protected in the United Kingdom
and had no intellectual property system of its own. It was only in 1987 up to
2000 where the country established various intellectual property laws
which covers copyright, trademark and, design, as well as for layout-designs
of integrated circuits. At present, the law on intellectual property now plays
an important part in the legal education in the country. Consequently, an
academy for research and training on the field of intellectual property has
been established for the furtherance of legal education in the field of IP, for
the benefit of the legal professionals and interested members of the public.42

Currently, it is the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), a
statutory board under the Ministry of Law, which advises and administers
the Intellectual Property (IP) regime, promotes its usage and builds
expertise to facilitate the development of Singapore’s IP eco-system. The
IPOS aims to be a trusted partner to empower all creators in the knowledge
economy and the ultimate vision is for the country to be an IP Hub of Asia.

To fulfil this vision, IPOS reaches out to various stakeholders:

For businesses, IPOS continues to provide tools and information to
enable them to create, own, protect and profit from their ideas and
knowledge.

For IP professionals, IPOS seeks to upgrade their technical know-
how and expertise, as well as provide opportunities for IP professionals to
network and exchange views with IP thought-leaders around the world.

For international stakeholders, IPOS strives to further its cross-
border IP cooperation so as to provide a strong and connected IP system for
creators.

42 Christoph Antons, Intellectual Property Law in Southeast Asia: Recent Legislative and
Institutional Developments, supra.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 143

IPOS also reaches out to a wide array of audiences including the
general public, government, and the youth, to educate them and raise IP
awareness.43

Singapore
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a.Plant Varieties Protection Act a. Evidence Act (Chapter 97) (2015)
(Chapter 232A) (2014)
b. Statutes (Miscellaneous
b. Registered Designs Act (Chapter Amendments) Act 2014 (2014)
266) (Revised Edition 2005, as
amended up to Intellectual Property c. Control of Plant Act (Chapter 57A)
(Miscellaneous Amendments) Act (1999)
2012) (2014)
d. Medicines Act (Chapter 176)
c. Patents Act (Revised Edition 2005, (1998)44
as amended up to the Statutes
(Miscellaneous Amendments) Act
2014) (2014)

d. Patents (Amendment) Act 2012
(2012)
Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous
Amendments) Act 2012 (Act No. 16
of 2012) (2012)

e. Copyright Act (Chapter 63) (2006)

f. Trade Marks Act (Chapter 332,
Revised Edition 2005) (2005)

g. Intellectual Property Office of
Singapore Act (Chapter 140, Revised
Edition 2002) (2002)

43 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Singapore.
https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Singapore
44 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Singapore: IP Laws and Treaties,

http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=sg
144 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

h. Layout-Design of Integrated
Circuits Act (Chapter 159A) (1999)

i. Geographical Indications Act
(Chapter 117, Revised Edition 1999)

Kingdom of Thailand

Unlike the Philippines, Thailand has a specialized court for
intellectual property and international trade which was first established in
1996. Instead of amending the civil and criminal codes of the country, the
court has been allowed to promulgate its own rules with regard to the
proceedings in such specialized court.45

Presently, the country has its own department in the government
tasked with the enforcement and administration of matters relating to
intellectual property rights and laws. In 2010, the Department of Intellectual
Property has gone through a reorganization which resulted to four Divisions
being elevated into the “Office” status so as to become: Office of the
Secretary, Legal Office, Intellectual Property Promotion and Development
Office, and Office of Prevention and Suppression of Intellectual Property
Infringement, in addition to its existing 3 Offices, viz, Trademark Office,
Copyright Office and Patent Office. Thus, at present, there are now seven
offices within the department. In addition, two bodies have been set up as
the Department’s internal arms with the status equivalent to a Division – the
Intellectual Property Management Office and the Design Office.46

Thailand
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Trademarks (No. 3) Act B.E. 2559 a. Customs Act B.E. 2469
(2016) (1926)(consolidated as of 2005)

b. Trade Secrets Act (No. 2) B.E. b. Competition Act, B.E. 2542 (1999)

45VICHAI ARIYANUNTAKA, TRIPS and the Specialised Intellectual Property Court in Thailand.
http://www.thailawforum.com/articles/trips-vichai.html
46 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Thailand.

https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Thailand
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 145

2558 (2015)
c. Consumer Protection Act, B.E. 2522
c. Copyright Act (No. 2) B.E. 2558 (1979)
(2015)
d. Export and Import of Goods Act,
d. Copyright Act (No. 3) B.E. 2558 B.E. 2522 (1979)
(2015)
e. Industrial Products Standards Act,
e. Optical Disc Production Act B.E. B.E. 2511 (1968)
2548 (2005)
f. Law on Ancient Monuments,
f. Protection of Geographical Antiques, Objects of Art and National
Indications Act B.E. 2546 (2003) Museums B.E. 2504 (1961) 47

g. Trade Secrets Act B.E. 2545
(2002)

h. Protection of Layout-Designs of
Integrated Circuits Act B.E. 2543
(2000)

i. Trademark Act B.E. 2534 (1991)
(consolidated as of 2000)

j. Protection and Promotion of
Traditional Thai Medecinal
Intelligence Act, B.E. 2542 (1999)

k. Plant Varieties Protection Act B.E.
2542 (1999)

l. Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979)

m. Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994)

47 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Thailand: IP Laws and Treaties,
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=TH
146 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

Vietnam

In 1995, Vietnam incorporated a framework legislation on
intellectual property rights into its Civil Code, part 6 of which included
chapters on copyright, industrial property, and technology transfer.
Nevertheless, it was only at the end of 2005 where the National Assembly of
Vietnam passed the country’s new Intellectual Property Law.48

In 1982, the National Office of Inventions was established as a
subordinate agency to help the State Committee of Science and Technology
(Ministry of Science and Technology) of the Vietnam. At present, the
National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam, an agency under the
Ministry of Science and Technology assumes the functions of exercising
management and services concerning the field of intellectual property rights
and the enforcement of intellectual property laws in the country.49

Vietnam
Main Laws Supplemental Laws
a. Law No. 36/2009/QH12 of June a. Law No. 37/2009/QH12
19, 2009, amending and Amending and Supplementing a
supplementing a Number of Articles Number of Articles of the Penal Code
of the Law on Intellectual Property (2009)
(promulgated by the Order No.
12/2009/L-CTN of June 29, 2009 of b. Ordinance No. 04/2008/PL-
the President of the Socialist UBTVQH12 on Handling of
Republic of Vietnam) (2009) Administrative Violations (2008)

b. Civil Code (2006) c. Law No. 80/2006/QH11 on
Technology Transfer (2007)
c. Law No. 50/2005/QH11 of
November 29, 2005, on Intellectual d. Ordinance No. 29/2006/PL-
Property (promulgated by the Order UBTVQH11 Amending and
No. 28/2005/L-CTN of December 12, Supplementing a Number of Articles
2005, of the President of the Socialist of the Ordinance on Procedures for

48 Christoph Antons, Intellectual Property Law in Southeast Asia: Recent Legislative and
Institutional Developments, supra.
49 ASEAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PORTAL, ASEAN IP Offices Details, Viet Nam.

https://www.aseanip.org/Statistics-Resources/ASEAN-IP-Offices-Details/Viet-Nam
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 147

Republic of Vietnam) (2005) the Settlement of Administrative
Cases (2006)

e. Law No. 42-2005-QH11 of June 14,
2005, on Amendment of and
Addition to a Number of Articles of
the Law on Customs (2006)

f. Law No. 27/2004/QH11 of
December 3, 2004, on Competition
(2005)

g. Civil Procedures Code (2004)
h. Seed Ordinance No. 15/2004/PL-
UBTVQH11 (2004)

i. Criminal Procedures Code (2003)

j. Ordinance No. 44/2002/PL-
UBTVQH10 of July 2, 2002, on
Handling of Administrative
Violations (2002)

k. Law No. 29/2001/QH10 of June
29, 2001, on Customs (2002)

l. Decree No. 39-2001-PL-UBTVQH10
on Advertisement passed by the
National Assembly Standing
Commitee on November 16, 2001
(2001)

m. Law No. 21/2000/QH 10 on
Science and Technology (2000)

n. Criminal Code (1999)

o. Ordinance on the Procedures for
148 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

the Settlement of Administrative
Cases (1996)50

Intellectual Property Law in the ASEAN, In General

From the brief survey of the prevailing laws in the ASEAN member
states, it can be easily inferred that all members have sufficient legislation
for the protection and regulation of intellectual property rights of their
people, as well as for the enforcement of penal provisions of the law in cases
of violation of such rights. It also becomes apparent that the various
domestic laws of the country have their roots from international law,
specifically the TRIPS Agreement, as annexed to the treaty establishing the
WTO. While not all member-states acceded to the treaty at the same time,
with a certain few giving their assent at a later date, all member-states have,
nevertheless, at present, have expressed their consent to be bound by the
treaty and the agreement. Therefore, the domestic laws of each country,
adhere, at the very least, to the minimum standards prescribed by the
agreement. It is in this context, that up to a relative point, the domestic laws
of each member-states are similar, if not congruent, with the domestic laws
of other member-states.

Moreover, there are various international agreements and treaties
on intellectual property with which several member-states have signified
their consent to be bound. There are certain treaties, however, with which
not all members are signatories thereto. For example, it is only Brunei,
Singapore, and most recently, Cambodia which has acceded the Geneva
(1999) Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International
Registration of Industrial Designs.51 This may be due to the fact that the
current landscape in these countries on the use of such intellectual property
is necessitated the accession to such agreement. The increased use and
proliferation of such property, as well as the circumstances of such
countries, demanded greater protection for the same. This only illustrates
the truancy that laws generate from the exigencies of the modern society.

50 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, Viet Nam: IP Laws and Treaties,
http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=VN
51WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION, WIPO-Administered Treaties,
Contracting Parties, Hague Agreement.
http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?treaty_id=9
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 149

Indeed, laws sometimes are adopted from laws of other societies and serve
as adaptive measures to address the needs of the society. Nevertheless, the
ASEAN countries come from the same region and their circumstances with
regard to their demographics, standing in the international community in
political and economic aspects are, to some extent, uniform, save from some
nuances brought about by the intricacies of certain economic and political
policies. Up to some extent, therefore, there is little to no impediment in the
harmonization of the intellectual property laws in the country with those of
the other ASEAN countries.

However, insofar as the ASEAN countries are at different stages of
economic, commercial, and legal development, there is a disjuncture with
respect to the enforcement of IP laws across the region. Concededly,
Singapore, as an advanced and developed country, has little to no problems
in the administration of intellectual property laws.52 In fact, under the
International Property Rights Index of 2016, Singapore has been leading the
region, placing 6th internationally, and scoring 8.1 in the index where
intellectual property rights are considered to be more secure. On the other
hand, Vietnam, ranks 85th, with an index score of 4.7.53 Philippines is not far
ahead from Vietnam, scoring 5.1 in the index and ranking 63rd in the world.
Since there is a vast discrepancy between the index scores of the ASEAN
member-states, it follows that there are nuances in the implementation and
enforcement of intellectual property laws in the jurisdiction of each
member-state.

In the Philippines, for example, and as observed by Atty. Allan B.
Gepty, in his article, Deconstructing the Enforcement of Intellectual Property
Rights in the Era of Globalization:54 while there are sufficient laws
guaranteeing protection for intellectual property rights and providing for
violations, the enforcement of such laws, however, has no realized its
maximum potential. Insofar as the intellectual property rights are personal
rights, there is a need for the private offended party to prosecute his claim
before the courts in order that his rights may be vindicated. However, due to

52 BIENVENIDO OPLAS, JR., Case Study on ASEAN Countries. Intellectual Property Rights
Protection in 6 ASEAN Countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and
Vietnam, http://internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/asean
53 The International Property Rights Index (2016),
http://internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/countries
54 Allan B. Gepty, Deconstructing the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Era of

Globalizations, supra.
150 San Beda Law Journal Volume LIV

the undeniable complex and tedious legal processes in the country, and the
exorbitant fees of litigation, it becomes impractical for an ordinary citizen to
bring the matter of violation or infringement of his rights to the proper
authorities. The reality behind these, therefore, is that only those who are
equipped with the resources who become interested to prosecute their
claims. Nevertheless, this is a reality which needs to be shattered.

The violation of intellectual property rights should not be treated as
a private crime wherein the same could only be prosecuted by the person
whose rights are violated.55 Such violation is a public crime, it does not only
do damage to the person whose rights are infringed but also the society, as
whole, insofar as certain intellectual property rights violations, such as
counterfeiting, piracy, false designations, and unfair competition, also
prejudice the trade market and perpetuates fraud against the public
consumers. Thus, such deception, can ultimately lead to damages not only
against the person whose rights were desecrated but also the public who
were led to believe such deception by the offenders.

Intellectual Property Law in the Region, In Prospect

Pursuant to the collective goal of the association on economic
growth, it becomes imperative for each of the member-states to ensure
efficient enforcement of intellectual property laws with regard to the
protection of intellectual property rights in each of its own jurisdiction. With
the industrialization of trade comes a plethora of various intellectual
creations which must be protected in order that trade and investments in
the country, and the region as a whole, may flourish. Indeed, protection of
intellectual rights is part and parcel of the process in ensuring economic and
industrial development of nations.

While there are certain offices and agencies catering to the
promotion of creation and innovation of intellectual property, as well as its
regulation and the enforcement of such laws on intellectual property, in each
of the member-states, it is still incumbent for all the member states to foster
cooperation between and among themselves in order to advance and
promote intellectual property in the region. Indeed, when the ASEAN

55 Id.
Issue 2 Villamayor | Protecting the Power of the Mind 151

Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation56 was signed
on December 15, 1995, the ASEAN member-states put it upon themselves to
cooperate with one another especially in the field of intellectual property. As
this shows the region’s recognition of the importance of intellectual
property, it is only a matter of time before stronger and more efficient
policies with regard to the enforcement of intellectual property laws, not
only in the member states’ respective countries, but also in the region, will
emerge and develop.

Principally, with the ever changing world of today, it has become
easier to conceive and create products of the mind and intellect. As bolstered
by the age of information and faster dissemination of information through
various media, such as the internet, the exchange of intellectual property has
become prevalent and there becomes an increased risk of intellectual
property rights violation. This circumstance, therefore, calls upon stricter,
more expedient, and more efficient enforcement measures for the protection
of intellectual property rights of the people, not only for the benefit of the
personally aggrieved property owners but also for the benefit of everyone in
the society as a whole. Times are changing, and so too should the laws and
their implementation change. The laws and enforcement policies should
flow with the tide of change. It is only then that one can say that a holistic
approach in the protection of all civil, political, social, and economic rights of
the people has been achieved. Certainly, it is not only the tangible things
which warrant protection. Sometimes, the protection of power of the mind
calls for an equal, if not greater, prominence in the field of law. Indeed, there
can be no action if the mind cannot produce, and there can only be brilliant
products if proper stimuli and encouragements are in place. And these
motivations are appropriately found and established in the various laws, as
well as their implementing rules and regulations, on intellectual property
rights.

56ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation
Bangkok, December 15, 1995 (1995),
https://www.aseanip.org/Portals/0/PDF/ASEANFrameworkAgreementonIntellectualProper
tyCooperation.pdf