By the ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk
The principle issues surrounding Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) development, protection and enforcement are essential to all aspects of your business. Your IPR strategy should be considered one of the main pillars of your business, not unlike your business strategy or HR strategy. A strong IPR strategy and proactive preparation not only helps to prevent IPR-related issues, but may also result in increased revenue as well as more effective and quick enforcement in the case of an infringement.
What is IPR?
Intellectual Property Rights are legally enforceable rights over the use of inventions or other creative works. They confer a right to exclude others from their use. Securing your IPR will help you to prevent and enforce against infringers profiting from your innovation or brand by passing it off as their own. IP falls into the categories of registrable and non-registrable IP rights.
Registrable IP rights are territorial, which means they have to be claimed and asserted in each country individually. Registered IP in another country is not automatically recognised across the ten countries of the ASEAN region (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam); therefore, it is strongly recommended that you register your IP assets in the country you wish to operate in before entering the market.
The best way to prevent IPR-related issues is to use a layered, holistic IPR protection strategy, which includes protection both by registration of your registrable rights and other methods such as contractual protection (confidentiality agreements, IP protection clauses in employee agreements) and internal security measures (limited access to certain work areas, etc.).