Asean nations review stance on intellectual property
By Times Reporters
15 February 2017

Vientiane (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Experts from Asean member countries and their development partners in the region are meeting in Vientiane to discuss issues relating to the 52nd Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) and intellectual property protection.

Topics centered on Asean economic integration with participants convinced that the AWGIPC would contribute to fruitful economic and technical developments including consensus around intellectual property protection in the region.

They believe their discussions will lead to increasing interconnectivity amoung Asean members and dialogue partners in the sector. 

Speaking at yesterday’s opening ceremony meeting, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Houmphanh Intharath spoke of the importance of intellectual property throughout the region.

He said that AWGIPC’s commitment to build on the Asean Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation would lead to making intellectual property a vehicle of deeper economic integration in Asean and thus also contribute to the goals of Asean Economic Community (AEC) 2025.

“Laos is fully committed to working with fellow AWGIPC members to ensure the implementation of the new initiatives towards establishing an Asean IP network, on-line national IP helpdesks, promoting protection mechanisms for Genetic Resource Traditional Knowledge Traditional Cultural Expression (GRTKTCE) and supporting trademark services improvement in the region,” he said.

“We can achieve a robust and highly integrated intellectual property ecosystem and our region can become the hub of intellectual property in the next 5 to 10 years through the new Asean IP Action Plan 2016-2025, which has underlined 19 initiatives to be implemented within the next ten years,” he added.

He went on to explain that Asean members were working together as a regional bloc and that Asean countries have the potential of becoming one of the world’s most important players in the global intellectual property landscape.

It is important to note that the AEC in 2015 was a major milestone in achieving the regional economic integration agenda, including the promotion of regional development frameworks in the area of intellectual property rights.

Chairperson of AWGIPC, Shahrinah Yusof Khan said “we need to also determine where we are now and decide how best to move to the endpoint”. 

She said the issues may be complex and cross-cutting but that they would only entail greater collaboration among members and a deeper engagement with a diverse set of stakeholders such as dialogue partners, entrepreneurs, technologists and civil society.

“Our work in the AWGIPC builds on the previous accomplishments which were aimed to enhance the capacity of IP institutions in our region to deal with the ever changing IP landscape,” she said.

“We will leverage our diversity to find shared aspirations such as enhanced systems, streamlined procedures, balanced frameworks and a competent workforce”, she added.

The strong cooperation that has been forged over the years remains the only platform from where Asean members can continue to put in place structures and mechanisms that will promote creativity and build domestic and regional innovation capabilities. 

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