South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk

Helpdesk Guides

General IPR

Guide on Industrial Designs Protection in South-East Asia

As an European SME doing business in South-East Asia, protecting your intellectual property rights (IPR) in these markets is essential to business success. Industrial rights protection can be a valuable asset to businesses. The success of a product or service is usually influenced by its visual appearance, where aesthetic appeal is one of the critical factors influencing consumer decisions. It is important for owners of industrial designs to draw up a protection strategy which coheres with the business strategy for the product or service in question.

Guide to Copyright Protection in South-East Asia

Copyright is an intellectual property right (IPR), which entitles the owners of literary and artistic works to a set of exclusive rights over their works. These rights include copying, translating, adapting and altering, communicating and performing to the public, distributing, renting and lending copies of the copyrighted works. Well protected copyrights are essential for successful operation for many business sectors, including creating industries and computer gaming.

This guide walks you through registration processes and strategies for effective copyright protection across Southeast Asia.

Patent Protection in South-East Asia

A patent is an exclusive right granted for the protection of new inventions, which are products or processes offering new technical solutions or providing new ways of doing something. Obtaining patent protection is a crucial aspect of business in the modern global economy. Increasingly, the economic strength and growth potential of a company is being assessed by its patent portfolio. This guide highlights the differences in patents and patent protection throughout the ASEAN region.

This guide provides you with an overview of the different types of patents, the patent application process and how to enforce your rights in case of an infringement in the various ASEAN countries.

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk Guide to Trade Mark Protection in South-East Asia Countries - Updated in 2016

Given the increasing prominence and attractiveness of the South-East Asia market, it is advisable that trade mark owners give these countries serious consideration, even if you do not have immediate plans to expand into the region. A rapid rise in disposable income has signalled a shift whereby local businesses in South-East Asia are now steadily increasing their product mix in order to meet the growing demands of a rising middle class. It is increasingly common for local Southeast Asian businesses to look to Europe for "inspiration", a trend that could easily lead to imitation of products branded and/or developed there. Many European trade mark owners are confronted with this harsh reality too late, and only when their branding has been copied or registered to local parties. This guide walks you through an overview of trade marks, how to apply for them, legislative differences between South-East Asia countries, and how to enforce your rights in case of an infringement.

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk Guide on Trade Secrets - Protecting your Trade Secret in South-East Asia - Updated in 2016

Nearly all businesses in all industries and sectors possess trade secrets. Trade secrets are a highly valuable and useful form of intellectual property right (IPR).

Trade secrets encompass manufacturing and industrial secrets as well as commercial secrets, and may include technical knowhow, new products or business models, business operation manuals, recipes and formulae, customer and supplier information, or special techniques uniquely and confidentially employed by a business in the development of a product or service, all of which are closely guarded by the companies in question.

Transfer of Technology to South-East Asia

Many European companies who come to Southeast Asia are often willing to ‘transfer’ some of their technologies and designs to local subsidiaries of European firms, joint-venture partners, or local manufacturing and service companies. One of the challenges facing European companies coming to Southeast Asia to do so is devising creative solutions to minimize the risk to their intellectual property associated with technology transfers.

This publication provides a step by step guide to European firms looking to move to Southeast Asia, how to assess the ASEAN IPR landscape and a checklist of how to effectively create an IP strategy.

Horizontal Issues

Joint International Helpdesks Trade Fair Guide – Protecting your IP at Trade FairsNew!

This guide provides an overview of Intellectual Property (IP) protection strategy for EU SMEs specifically on how to be ready before, during and after a trade fair or exhibition in China, South-East Asia and Latin-America. With the advent of increasingly integrated global-value chains and the continuous drive to innovate, trade fairs have become one of the most important and most efficient instruments for accessing new markets worldwide. Although attending a trade fair or exhibition can reap substantial benefits, SMEs should be aware of the possible IP risks that are implied. This guide will provide you with a concrete understanding of all you need to know on this topic.

Guide for Research & Development (R&D) Activities in South-East Asia

In recent years, the R&D industry in South-East Asia has been flourishing, with countries in the region investing heavily to promote R&D activities. This presents opportunities for EU SMES wishing to invest in the R&D sector of the South-East Asian market. Given the intellectual property rights (“IPRs”) that arise from the R&D activities, as well as the potential commercial value attached thereto, it is of utmost importance that care is taken to ensure that such IPRs are well protected, and that their commercial value is maximised. Find out more about protecting your IPR in the R&D sector in South-East Asia! 

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: Software Protection in South-East Asia

The Information Technology services and software sector in South-East Asia has been booming in recent years as South-East Asian nations continue to develop and flourish.  In particular, South-East Asia is experiencing a rapid growth of Internet, digital, social media and mobile activities. With more than 320 million Internet users in January 2017, increasing connectivity and therefore dependence on computer technology is to be expected in this region.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements or recommendations. An experienced and capable lawyer could not only strengthen your business's intellectual property strategy but also effectively assist you in enforcing your rights against infringers. This guide walks you through the process of hiring the right lawyer for your needs.

Guide for Partnering and Matchmaking Events in South-East Asia

Partnering with companies operating in the same sector and offering complementary, or even competing, products or services might be a winning strategy for Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) doing business in South-East Asia. Reliance on local culture and business customs of operating business channels often proves especially advantageous to smaller-sized foreign companies with limited or no experience in a new market.

Intellectual Property and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) - Updated in 2016

The goal of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is regional economic integration in ASEAN by 2015. The AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of fair economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.

As the AEC takes steps to become a more fluid and internally-accessible market through the introduction of free movement of capital and investment, goods, services and certain skilled labour, many challenges relating to the protection of valuable intellectual property (IP) across the AEC will arise. This guide will take you through the AEC’s IP action plan as well as recommended next steps SMEs can take to protect their IPR.

IP Audit Check-list

An increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are realising the importance of intellectual property (IP) as a key economic asset in their overall business activity. Strong IP and a robust IP strategy can enable a company, of any size, to survive economic downturns as well as to grow sustainably during the boom period.

All companies own intangible assets. However, sometimes they may not recognise their own IP and especially the potential value of it for various reasons. For instance, they might not be trained to do so. This simple ‘self-audit kit’ aims to make European SMEs aware of the IP they already hold and how it can be economically advantageous for them. Intangible assets can and should be protected since they contribute to increased productivity, build an image of a company, give it a competitive edge and influence the valuation of an enterprise.

IPR Enforcement in South-East Asia

Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) refer generally to the collection of rights that the owners of intellectual property (“IP”) are entitled to enjoy. IP exists in many forms such as a company logo, an advertising slogan, a unique process or a way of doing things, a new music score, a new drug composition, or a creative piece of furniture design, amongst others. All these various forms of IP share a common characteristic – they are creations of the mind and feature unique and distinguishing characteristics that differentiates them from other IP.

Protection of Online IPR in South-East Asia - Updated in 2016

With increased access to broadband networks, a proliferation of WiFi sites and a burgeoning smartphone market, Internet usage in some of the ASEAN countries is now surpassing traditional media such as TV, radio and print. Although the internet is an attractive business and marketing platform for many European SMEs working with or in Southeast Asia, it is also an ideal platform for infringers to sell counterfeit products and commit fraud. The Internet provides a low cost method of reaching consumers around the world without revealing identity or origin of operation, meaning that infringers can operate anonymously.

This guide provides you with practical information on how to protect your online IP, including tips for building an effective domain name strategy and registration of domain names.

Protecting your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia

Trade fairs provide intellectual property (IP) owners with the opportunity to present their innovations and ideas to potential business partners and customers in Southeast Asia and they allow them to learn from and collaborate with other innovators. There is, however, a risk, in that disclosing your innovations to the public leaves you exposed to third parties copying and infringing on your IP.

This guide will demonstrate how you can prepare yourself before, during and after a trade fair or an exhibition in Southeast Asia. It also includes advice on identifying business partners at trade fairs.

SME Starter Kit for Vietnam

The South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk in collaboration with the EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) has published a joint publication entitled “SME Starter Kit”. This kit is designed to provide first-line support and guidance to European SMEs who are interested in expanding their business in Vietnam. The publication covers a wide spectrum of topics including Vietnam’s economic structure, legal framework, market entry conditions, investment, infrastructure, tax, intellectual property rights, finance, labour, business culture and dispute settlement, for the benefit of interested SMEs.

Top 20 IP Considerations when Entering a New Market

Intellectual property rights (IPR), as intangible assets, are a key factor in the competitiveness of European SMEs in the global economy. IP is a type of asset which incentivises innovation, and is particularly relevant to SMEs as they internationalise their business with third countries such as those in Southeast Asia. The loss of business, revenue, reputation and competitive advantage caused by IPR infringement affects EU SMEs both in Europe and in their core export markets while the inadequate protection of inventions and creations can jeopardise legitimate businesses.

This guide will walk you through the importance of an effective IP policy and provide you with an overview of the top 20 IP considerations in Southeast Asia, from identifying IP assets to preparing you to enforce your rights.

Using Contracts to Protect your Intellectual Property

There are many ways in which intellectual property (IP) owners should protect their valuable assets. Perhaps the most apparent ways are to register the IP in relevant jurisdictions and then enforce that IP right against infringing third parties. There is, however, a very practical and pre-emptive way of protecting your IP on a commercial level by covering it in IP agreements. A large proportion of the value of your business is derived from IP due to its presence in your everyday business.

This guide provides you with an overview of the different types of contracts when licensing your IP and take-away messages for the various ASEAN countries.

How to Guides

How to Secure Effective Evidence of IP infringement in South-East Asia

Piracy, counterfeiting, infringement, copying, stealing, reproducing, replicating, call it any name you want, this is one of those crimes every successful business fears. The ramifications can be significantly detrimental and costly to the survival of businesses. Companies that have spent valuable time and resources building a strong brand or to innovate can have their reputation eroded in a matter of months. With the Internet, social media, e-commerce and through online marketplaces, piracy and counterfeit sales can reach a worldwide audience so much more quickly. Find out more about How to Secure Effective Evidence of IP infringement in South-East Asia!

How to Remove Counterfeit Goods from E-Commerce Sites in South-East Asia

Apart from being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights (IPR). The explosive growth in access to the internet has resulted in a shift in the modus operandi of counterfeiters to move their illegal activities online. Online e-commerce websites might become easy and anonymous options for counterfeiters to reach out to potential customers as well as popular social media platforms. Learn more about removing counterfeit goods from e-commerce sites in South-East Asia with this practical guide. 

How to Guide on ASEAN Designview

ASEAN Designview  is the common online industrial design information platform of the ASEAN Member States aimed at making ASEAN industrial design  data widely available and easily accessible to all interested stakeholders.  ASEAN Designview offers free of charge online access to information on industrial design registrations and published industrial design applications in the participating ASEAN countries.   

ASEAN Designview is an online tool to consult on publicly available data on industrial design. It does not constitute an official industrial design register and  is of a purely informative nature.

ASEAN Designview was developed by the Intellectual Property Offices of the ASEAN Member States with the support of the EU-ASEAN Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (ECAP III Phase II) administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

How to Guide on ASEAN TMview

ASEAN TMview  is the common online trademark information platform of the ASEAN Member States aimed at making ASEAN trademark  data widely available and easily accessible to all interested stakeholders. ASEAN TMview offers free of charge online access to information on trademark registrations and trademark applications in the participating ASEAN countries.   

ASEAN TMview is an online tool to consult on publicly available data on trademarks. It does not constitute an official trade mark register, and  is of a purely informative nature.

ASEAN TMview was developed by the Intellectual Property Offices of the ASEAN Member States with the support of the EU-ASEAN Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (ECAP III Phase II) administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

How to Guide for ASPEC Patent Filings

Patents are a common type of intellectual property that are relevant to various industries, not only for technology intense industry, patents are also present in the medical device and healthcare industries, green industries, machineries, food processing, textile and smart cities to provide few examples.

How to record Trade Marks with Customs

The responsibilities of customs vary from country to country, and are often the subject of regular review and modification to ensure their ongoing relevance in a constantly changing world.

Traditionally, the customs’ role has been one of a “gatekeeper”, with customs authorities representing a barrier through which international trade must pass, in an effort to protect the interests of the nation. Customs has been responsible for implementing a wide range of government policies, spanning areas as diverse as revenue collection, trade compliance and facilitation, interdiction of prohibited substances, protection of cultural heritage and enforcement of intellectual property laws.

Industry Specific

IP Considerations in the Textile Industry in South-East Asia

The textile industry in South-East Asia has always been a rapidly growing industry sector. Together with the classic textile production, there has also been a growth in the use of technology by producers and suppliers of textile and finished goods in the South-East Asian market in recent years. This guide addresses different IP issues relevant for the textile Industry and its subsectors, such as textile machinery, yarns and fabrics, finished fabrics and brand apparel and accessories. This guide will present different and relevant types of IP for this industry such as patents, trade marks, copyright, trade secrets and industrial designs and will discuss how these IP rights shall be protected.

IP Considerations for the Manufacturing Industry in South-East Asia

Manufacturing is one of the key drivers of growth in South-East Asia, with more and more South-East Asian countries winning manufacturers over from China due to lower labour costs, rising domestic consumption and improving infrastructure. The South-East Asian region offers vast opportunities for EU SMEs that are looking to expand their presence in the region. In so doing, however, EU SMEs should be aware of the intellectual property (IP) risks that they will face when operating in this region, in particular with respect to the advanced technology that may be transferred to this region as part of the collaboration and joint venture with their local partners.

IP Considerations in the Cleantech Industry in South-East Asia - Updated in 2019

Rapid population growth and sustained economic growth in South-East Asia is exerting enormous pressure on the environment. In response, South-East Asian countries are embracing renewable energy, moving away from dated, fossil fuel-based energy solutions in favour of more sustainable technology. The cleantech industry is not only comprised of the renewable energy sector but also describes products and services that improve productivity or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or pollution is thus gaining momentum in South-East Asia, paralleling the dynamic growth of the region. Find out more about how to protect your IPR when expanding your cleantech business to South-East Asia!

IP Considerations in the Medical Device & Healthcare Industry in South-East Asia - Updated in 2019

With the exception of Singapore, the medical device and healthcare industry in South-East Asian countries are considered as not very developed in comparison to markets in the United States, the EU, and Japan. For example, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand import more than 85% of their medical devices. Amongst many South-East Asia countries, local pharmaceuticals are not well trusted, making way for foreign players with strong brands to establish significant market share in South-East Asia. Find out more about protecting your IPR when entering the South-East Asian medical device and healthcare industry!

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: IP Considerations in Fashion, Design and Lifestyle industry

The fashion, design and lifestyle sector is a significant driver in South-East Asia’s (SEA) creative economy. The global fashion industry has traditionally been one of the most lucrative industries, with sales generated in the trillions globally. This is especially so in SEA, where it has been seen that consumers gravitate towards fashion and do not shy away from paying top dollar for luxury fashion products. Boost your IPR knowledge and protect your business with this industry-specific guide.

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: IP Considerations for the Creative Industries in South-East Asia

Creative industries are those having their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. Examples include industries relating to art, design, music and media. Learn more about IP options for the creative industries in South-East Asia.

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: IP considerations in ICT Industry in South-East Asia

Information and Communications Technology (“ICT”) is considered to play a pivotal role in supporting regional integration and connectivity efforts between the countries in South-East Asia. The latest ASEAN ICT Industry Masterplan 2016-2020 aims to propel ASEAN towards a digitally-enabled economy that is secure, sustainable, and transformative and to enable an innovative, inclusive and integrated ASEAN Community . The ICT industry is one of the sectors presenting major business growth opportunities for EU SMEs in South-East Asia. 

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: IP Considerations for the Food and Beverage Industry

With higher disposable incomes, today’s consumers in South-East Asia are seeking healthier food and beverage choices. They tend to look for higher quality products, including those imported from overseas. This has opened up a range of attractive opportunities for European SMEs to tap into the consumption market of such a large region.

South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk: IP Considerations for the Automotive Industry in South-East Asia

The automotive industry in South-East Asia has exhibited robust growth over the last few years. According to the latest statistics from the ASEAN Automotive Federation, combined motor vehicle sales in 7 major ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei) reached 3.16 million in 2016. More importantly, not only is ASEAN a vast automotive market, it is also a global automotive production hub, manufacturing on average 4 million motor vehicles and 9 million motorcycles a year for the past 5 years.


Guides in Italian 

 Applicazione dei DPI nel Sud-Est asiatico

 Guida alla Protezione dei Diritti d'autore (Copyright) nel Sud-est asiatico

 La protezione brevettuale nel Sud-est asiatico 

 Come proteggere la vostra Proprieta Intellettuale nelle Fiere Commerciali del Sud-est asiatico

 Guide Alla Protezione Dei Marchi Nel Sud-Est Asiatico 

Guides in French 

 Respect des DPI en Asie du Sud-Est

 Guide de protection des droits d'auteur en Asie du Sud-Est

 Protection des brevets en Asie du Sud-Est 

 Protéger votre PI lors de Salons professionnels en Asie du Sud-Est

 Guide pour la protection des marques de commerce en Asie du Sud-Est

Guides in German 

 Durchsetzung der Rechte an geistigem Eigentum in Südostasien

 Leitfaden zum Urheberrechtsschutz in Sudostasien

 Leitfaden für Patentschutz in Sudostasien

 Schützen Ihres geistigen Eigentums bei Messen in Sudostasien

 Leitfaden zum schutz von Marken in Sudostasien