Protecting IP can help attract investment

January 15, 2011 11:04 am 

HA NOI, Jan. 14 — A good intellectual property (IP) system could make a country more attractive to investment, delegates at a meeting of European and Asian organizations heard in Ha Noi yesterday.

The meeting between the European Property Office (EPO) and ASEAN IP offices, the sixth of its kind, is being held to further promote the use of patents and intellectual property rights throughout Southeast Asia.

Known as the Heads of IP Offices Conference (HIPOC), it was told by the Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology, Hoang Van Phong, that in recent years, EPO and Viet Nam had exchanged information on patents, the management of inventions, training staff in the field and increasing awareness of intellectual property.

"Today, IP has become a powerful tool for socio-economic, cultural and scientific technological development of all nations," he said.

"Recognizing the importance of IP, ASEAN member states have been continuously strengthening their co-operation on the subject, considering this important for ensuring protection of the manufacturing rights of domestic and foreign entities."

Phong said this would create a favorable and reliable environment for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), enhancing competitiveness and promoting regional and international integration.

He added that realizing the important role of IP, the Vietnamese Government had paid much attention to its development and improvement.

This included the establishment of IP legislation that conformed with international standards set forth in the WTO's TRIPS agreement and other international treaties.

"The signing of a new memorandum to upgrade co-operation will resolve issues emerging from both regions and the world," Phong said.

EPO president Benoit Battistelli said Viet Nam was a typical example of dynamic development in the ASEAN region, which was helping drive global economic growth.

"Patents are an efficient tool for encouraging innovation and enhancing economic development," he said.

He added that EPO believed its mission was to work with partner offices in the ASEAN region and elsewhere for the creation of a quality-based patent system at international level.

Wim Van Der Eijk, principal director of EPO's Patent Law and International Affairs, said the global patent system faced big challenges, including an increasing number of files that was difficult to access,

"It is necessary to establish infrastructure that allows for the greater integration of the global patent system on the basis of work-sharing and mutual trust," he said.

Der Eijk added that this would help eliminate duplication of work between offices and enhance the efficiency of patent examinations and guarantee the stability of patent rights.

The meeting was attended by leaders and other high-level representatives from ASEAN IPOs, EPO and the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

EPO and ASEAN began co-operation in 1990 with the implementation of the first ECAP project.

The Heads of IP Offices Conference first met in 2003 and since then has made a significant contribution to enhanced patent co-operation in the region.

This year's conference looks at the present state and future direction of EPO-ASEAN relations.

In the wake of ASEAN region's integration into the world trade system, ASEAN's IP offices have been receiving a rapidly growing number of patent applications.

They yearly handle over 30,000 applications with filings from EPO member states accounting for 30 per cent of the total in 2008.

At the same time, there has been a marked rise in the number of European patent applications filed by ASEAN companies, the 334 filings in 2010 bringing the five-year total since 2005 to 1,800.

The growing demand for patent protection in combination with the ASEAN member states' objective of creating an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 has intensified the need for closer IP co-operation between ASEAN's IP offices.

EPO, the central patent-granting authority for Europe, receives more than 200,000 applications a year and grants between 50,000 and 60,000 patents in this period. (PNA/VNS)



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