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ASEAN – Launch of Official Intellectual Property Register

On 20th August 2023, ASEAN, having collaborated with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), officially launched the ASEAN Intellectual Property Register (“ASEAN IP Register”). This ASEAN IP Register is intended to act as a consolidated one-stop information portal that allows IP professionals and interested parties to conduct trademark, patent, and design searches from all 10 ASEAN member states.  Ongoing maintenance in ensuring up-to-date information of this ASEAN Register Portal will be handled by WIPO. This new service complements existing resources provided via the ASEAN Intellectual Property Portal, such as the ASEAN GI Database and the ASEAN IP Case Law tools, providing an additional tool for IP professionals handling extensive ASEAN matters or owners of various ASEAN trademarks, patents, and designs to work with.

Prior to the launch of the ASEAN IP Register, interested parties seeking to conduct IP searches would primarily search on the official database of the relevant Registry of each individual ASEAN member state; or via WIPO’s Global Brand Database or Madrid Monitor; or via WIPO’s Patentscope. With these resources, information regarding international registrations designating ASEAN countries is easily accessible. However, where national IP applications are concerned, it is noted that Global Brand Database or Patentscope do not always contain information on the relevant ASEAN national applications, requiring one to instead conduct searches on the relevant ASEAN Registry database. This poses challenges as not all the ASEAN countries’ Registry databases are in English or even searchable online. An example would be that while Thailand and Indonesia’s Registries’ Trademark Databases are accessible online, the relevant information is in the Thai and Bahasa Indonesia languages respectively. In addition, Myanmar, being the only ASEAN country not yet acceded to the Madrid Protocol, is not searchable on Global Brand Database and Madrid Monitor, with no online Registry database of its own at present, requiring manual checks with the Registry.

An earlier attempt to address this issue, in so far as trademarks is concerned, was through the introduction of the ASEAN TMview, a searchable online database of trademark registrations and applications filed in nine ASEAN countries (excluding Myanmar). This database was jointly developed by the Intellectual Property Offices of the nine ASEAN member states, with support from the EU-ASEAN Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (ECAP III Phase II) administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office. However, the frequency of update of records for the participating ASEAN countries vary with each IP office. To-date, only Philippines, Laos and Cambodia have provided up to date records on ASEAN TMview with their last updates being in February 2024. On the other hand, the last update by the other ASEAN countries range between 2018 to 2023.

With the introduction of the ASEAN IP Register incorporating up-to-date IP-related data from the 10 ASEAN member states in relation to trademarks, patents, and designs, this centralised database would substantially reduce the time and effort required to conduct searches, while providing more real-time information.  At this time, Myanmar is yet to be a part of the ASEAN IP Register.