Trademark is a recognizable emblem, symbol or a phrase that is used to refer to denote a certain product or service. This trademark helps differentiate similar products or services offered by other companies or organizations. It basically acts as a recognition mark that the product or service belongs to a specific company.
ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it is a group bound by the regional closeness promoting economic, political and security cooperation amongst its members.
The International Trademark Association (also referred to as INTA), couple of years back released a study carried out by their ISC (Impact Studies Committee) on the economic contribution of Trademark Intensive Industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. According to the study, trademark intensive industries drive 27% – 60% of exports of the ASEAN region. The direct contribution of these industries to the regions' GDP varied from 17% to 50%. Thailand for instance owes 60% of its export to the trademark intensive industries whereas Indonesia depended on the trademark intensive industries at 27% for exports. Apart from the direct contributions towards exports and the GDP, the study also shed some light on the fact these industries employ huge number of people and hence there is also an indirect contribution by trademark intensive industries to the employment rates. The importance of trademarks can hence be easily ascertained and established.
Cost of registration of trademarks varies from country to country in the ASEAN region like other regions. Thailand for example allows for an application that covers not more than 5 items of goods or services in a class based on the number of items, if the designated good and services in any class are more than 5 items, the official fees are payable at flat rates instead of the per item basis.
In Singapore, manual filing of trademarks costs S$ 374 per class and online filing costs S$240 per class (when items are fully adopted from pre-approved database) and S$341 per class for class/classes whose specification are not fully from pre-approved databases. In cases where the original application is being divided, charges are S$ 280 for each additional application that the original application is divided into. Renewal of trademarks if done prior to the expiration date is S$ 380 (online) and S$ 380 plus additional Service Bureau charges. Late renewal which implies renewal done post expiration is S$ 560 (online) and S$ 560 plus Service Bureau charges (manual) per class.
In Malaysia, the charges for registering a trademark is 330RM (Malaysian Ringgit) while applying online and 370RM while applying manually. Request for approval of expedited examination of a trademark application incurs a charge of 200RM(E-filing/Online) and 250RM for manual filing. Request for expedited examination of the report of a trademark application incurs a charge of 1,060RM for online filing and 1,200RM for manual filing.
In the Philippines, the cost for registering a trademark for Big entities and small entities is different. The filing fees per class for Big entities is 2,160 PHP(Philippines peso) and 1,080 PHP for Smaller entities. Request for a priority examination incurs a charge of about 5,200 PHP and 2,600 PHP for Big and small entities respectively. Issuance of Original/New/Replacement/Renewal of Certificate of Registration costs one about 1,000 PHP and 500 PHP for Big and Small entities respectively. Renewal of Registration costs about 5,500 and 2,750 per class.
In Indonesia, the fees for applying for a trademark is dependent upon the category of the applicant, if the applicant is a Micro or Small Business then the charges per class are 500,000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) for online and 600,000 IDR for manual application. For Public entities the cost of applying for a trademark is 1,800,000 IDR for online and 2,000,000 IDR for manual application. Renewal of a trademark incurs a cost of 1,000,000 IDR (online process) and 1,200,000 IDR (manual process) per class provided the renewal has been applied for within 6 months till the expiration of the trademark for Micro and Small business. If the renewal is being applied for within 6 months post the expiration of Trademark, for Micro and Small business, charges will be incurred as 1,500,000 IDR (online) and 1,800,000 IDR (manual). For Public business, charges for renewal of trademark are 3,000,000 (online) and 4,000,000 (manual) provided the renewal is being applied for within 6 months of the expiration of the registered trademark, in case the renewal is applied within 6 months till the date of expiration of the trademark, charges shall be incurred as 2,250,000 IDR (online) and 2,500,000 IDR (manual).
Myanmar allows for registration of a trademark for a period of 10 years, an affidavit of use is required during the fifth year if one wants to avail the complete protection for a period of ten years. As of now Myanmar does not have an active trademark law, currently the registration for trademark is done through Myanmar registration office by means of Declaration of Ownership at the registration office. The related laws for trademark in Myanmar are Penal Code, Merchandise Marks Act, Specific Relief Act, Sea Customs Act, Registration Act, till the time effective trademark laws and office have been established.
Trademark and trademark intensive industries have been thriving in the south east Asian countries and there is an immense potential for countries like Myanmar where the laws have not been established yet, in terms of economic growth and opportunities other than just definitive protection of intellectual property. It also integrates countries with trademark laws and encourages cooperation between nations such as The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines helping and supporting Myanmar in the establishment of its Intellectual Property office.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.