2 J. World Intell. Prop. 3 (1999)

handle is hein.journals/jwip2 and id is 1 raw text is: 








      Harmonization of Intellectual Property Laws
                                  in  ASEAN

                             Issues  and   Prospects


                               Assafa  ENDESHAW*



INTRODUCTION

     The  Association of South-East  Asian  Nations  (ASEAN)  now  groups  together
nine countries' most  of which have  put in place intellectual property (IP) laws that
were  originally either inherited from the colonial past or adopted later as part of the
urge to  modernize,  The  ASEAN  law-making   process in the post-independence  era
was predicated, as a former Secretary-General of the ASEAN  Law  Association wrote,
on  the need to  provide guarantees for the safety of loans and investment capital
and  the transfer of technology from abroad for national development,  as well as to
meet  new   requirements triggered by  changing  values resulting from  advances in
modernization.2
     There  is an additional contemporary factor that impels members   of ASEAN  to
revise their IP laws: they are expected to  streamline their laws with those of the
main  industrial nations in order to live up  to their treaty obligations under the
World  Trade  Organization  (WTo)  incorporating  the Agreement   on Trade-Related
Aspects  of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Furthermore,  while  nearly all of
ASEAN   have made  changes  in their pre-TRIPS  laws and are expected  to effect the
transition fully by the year 2000, there is a new desire to come up with an  ASEAN
perspective and, however   surprising it might seem, a unified IP  system for all of
them.  Although  no fixed time-tables have been  drawn  up, ASEAN  leaders adopted,
on  15 December   1995, the ASEAN   Framework   Agreement   on Intellectual Property
Co-operation,  including the setting up  of a regional patent and  trademark office.
That  Agreement   was  followed up  at a meeting  held  from  10-12  April 1996  in

    * Ph.D, LL.M, LL.B; Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
    AsEAN   currently comprises Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand,
Singapore and Vietnam. Of these, Brunei joined in 1984; Vietnam became a Member in 1995; Laos and
Myanmar were admitted in 1997. The other six countries were signatories of the Treaty from 1967.
Cambodia's membership is still under consideration.
    2 See Tunku Mohammad Radhie, Harmonization of Laws: Issues and Prospects in ASEAN Law, Technology and
Development, ASEAN Law and Society Journal, July-December 1986, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 50-61, at 52-3.

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