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IP expose

Malaysia - Singapore - Indonesia

Your Professional Guide in the Intellectual Property MazeSM

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY NEWS UPDATES

The secret powers of brands and trademarks BY VINCENT TEH Brands and trademarks may seem like modern concepts, but they have been around for centuries, even over a millennium. They date back to the very beginning of our pastoral heritage when men were still farmers and herders. Long before brands and trademarks were burning holes through your wallet they were searing the skin and snipping the flesh of poor farm animals. Incidentally, the word “brand” comes from an old Norse word “brandr” which means to burn. Traditionally, farmers would brand the skin of their farm animals with a hot iron stamp or cut off a small piece of the animals’ ear to “earmark” them so that others would know who the animals belong to.

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The secret powers of brands and trademarks

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Who are the top patent filers of 2012?

Even though hundreds of years have passed since men laid down their pitchforks and ploughs in favour of business suits and sexy secretaries, the principal function of brands and trademarks remain relatively unchanged. Like their archaic predecessors, they say who is responsible for which products or services. From this humble origin, brands and trademarks have since moved up the ladder to become multi-million dollar assets, indispensable to most businesses. Nowadays, millions and even billions are being thrown into branding exercises and trademark designs. For instance, BP paid a whopping USD211 million (RM655 million) for a corporate rebranding, the results of which can be seen on almost every BP gas station worldwide. However, sometimes it may not be money well spent. The branding of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, which cost £400,000 (approx. RM1.87 million), introduced a logo which some (no doubt depraved souls) claimed Good logos strengthen looked like Lisa Simpson performing a a company’s image, sexual act, while Iran threatened to making them a boycott the Games as it insisted that the prudent investment logo spells out the word “Zion”, a biblical name for Iran’s favourite neighbour Israel. This begs the question of why companies are paying so much on something your 6-year-old niece could make with colour pencils and glitter. Well, that’s because trademarks have superpowers.

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Indonesian government takes over 6 antiretroviral drug patents

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The next generation of offensive trademarks

Other Updates:  Success story spotlight –

Thesan Salva, CEO of Spice International Group & Franchise Owner of Austin Chase Coffee in Malaysia/Singapore

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“Who will wear a shoe that hurts him, because the shoe-maker tells him ‘tis well made?”, a rhetorical question posted by Algernon Sidney, the 17th Century English politician during the English Civil War. Quite clearly Mr. Sidney was not well acquainted with the modern woman. A company’s branding could be so successful that its customers will relinquish all semblances of rationality (or sanity) when purchasing its products. Have you seen the shoes women are wearing nowadays? The skyscraper stilettoes, the foot-high platforms – they seem like devices fashioned by sadistic men who delight in nothing more than to see members of the fairer sex blistered and raw. But why do women buy and willingly suffer those heinous tools of torture? Well, because “it’s a Prada”, “it’s a Jimmy Choo”, “omg it’s a Louboutin”. Every day we are being bombarded by adverts and celebrity endorsements that transmit the subliminal message that these branded goods are “well-made” and “you must have them now”. Like Professor X, brands and trademarks seem to have the uncanny power to alter the subconscious state of mind of consumers, and whether we like it or not, our buying patterns are intricately affected by them. Apart from the mind bending powers of brands that I’ve already mentioned above, trademarks also bestow upon brands the Midas touch. Sometimes, they can literally turn anything to pure solid retail gold. Just pop a famous logo (trademark) on any ordinary piece of clothing and, voilà, the price will go sky high.

P U B L I S H E R & P R I N T E R

IP Exposé is published & printed by KASS International Sdn Bhd Suite 8-7-2, Menara Mutiara Bangsar, Jalan Liku, Off Jalan Riong, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia T (603) 2284 7872 F (603) 2284 1125 E ipr@kass.com.my Regional Office KASS Regional IP Service Pte. Ltd. 190 Middle Road, #03-21, Fortune Centre, Singapore 188979 T (65) 6338 1323 F (65) 6334 3127 E ipr@kass.com.sg Indonesia Office PT. KASS Indonesia IP Services 46th - 50th Floor, Wisma 46, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 1, Jakarta 10220, Indonesia T (62) 21 574 8822 F (62) 21 574 8888 E ipr@kass.com.sg

This newsletter is intended only to provide an alert service on matters of concern or interest to readers and should not be treated as a legal advice on the issues discussed. For specific queries on IP matters, please contact us for further assistance. Note: The trademarks and images used in this newsletter belong to their respective owners. KASS does not claim any proprietary rights whatsoever; they are used solely for educational purposes.

For example, some designer jeans look like they were bought from homeless people and subsequently resold by fashion companies complete with sweat, grime and lice for hundreds or even thousands of Ringgit to unsuspecting fashionistas. How do fashion houses get away with it? Well the trademarks attached to the products reassure the consumers that the products are “cool”, and “their quality is beyond doubt”. “With great power comes great responsibility”, so go the famous last words of Uncle Ben to Peter Parker a.k.a. Spiderman. If you possess all the great powers that your brands and trademarks have given you, your main responsibility would be to protect them by registration. Although many have used the words “brand” and “trademark” interchangeably, they are not technically the same entity. A brand is the identity or character of a company and therefore too vague to register as an IP right. A trademark on the other hand is an integral part of a brand, it is the face or name of a company, and most importantly, a trademark can be registered. And with that registration, the trademark owner is bestowed with exclusive and monopolistic rights to use the trademark. However, some companies do take registration rather more seriously than others. Earlier this year, Apple Inc. applied to register the design and layout of its retail shop as a trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a move so bold and unconventional that some IP practitioners say would surely fail. And in the same vein, some big corporations make the psychotic possessive protagonist (played by the actress Glenn Close) in the movie Fatal Attraction look like a harmless nun.


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LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton, recently demanded HK$25,000 (RM10,000) in compensation from a hair salon owner in Hong Kong for infringing its trademark. The clueless owner was reportedly using an adjustable stool and a reclining shampoo chair which were covered in a fabric that closely resembles LV’s iconic chequered pattern. These superpowers are jealously guarded by the super corporations because the powers make them special – it sets them and their products apart from the rest. If their trademarks were to fall into the wrong hands (i.e. counterfeiters), they would lose their powers and their products would then reek of mediocrity. After all, if you think about it, wouldn’t you much rather date Superman, the Man of Steel, than the gawky Clark Kent? Okay, maybe minus the red underpants.

Who are the top patent filers of 2012? BY P. KANDIAH Statistics released by the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) reveal that more and more Malaysian entities are embarking on R&D activities. Malaysians filed a total of 1160 patent applications (16.5% of total applications filed in Malaysia) in 2012. It appears that the government’s efforts in encouraging Malaysian universities and industries to improve the technology bank in Malaysia are at last showing results. No.

Applicant

Total

1

MIMOS BERHAD

107

2

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI PETRONAS

92

3

UNIVERSITI MALAYA

76

4

UNIVERSITI PUTRA MALAYSIA

65

5

TELEKOM MALAYSIA BERHAD

62

6

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

33

7

UNIVERSITI KEBANGSAAN MALAYSIA

24

INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY PETRONAS SDN BHD

24

9

UNIVERSITI MALAYSIA PERLIS

23

10

MALAYSIAN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (MARDI)

17

11

MALAYSIAN PALM OIL BOARD (MPOB)

15

12

UNIVERSITI TUN HUSSEIN ONN MALAYSIA

14

13

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA (UIA)

13

UNIVERSITI MALAYSIA PAHANG

13

15

UNIVERSITI SAINS

12

16

UNIVERSITI TEKNIKAL MALAYSIA MELAKA

11

17

LEMBAGA GETAH MALAYSIA (LGM)

9

HENG HIAP INDUSTRIES SDN BHD

9

WONG WAI SANG

8

SIME DARBY MALAYSIA BERHAD

8

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Table 1: Top 20 Local Patent Applicants in Malaysia in 2012

Unsurprisingly, the list of top 20 local patent applicants in Malaysia is still dominated by universities and research institutions (see Table 1).

Government-funded research institution, MIMOS Bhd, leads the list with 107 patent applications filed in the narrow and highly competitive fields of electronics and ICT. Some of the younger universities such as University Malaysia Pahang and University Malaysia Perlis have already become familiar names in the Top 20 list. Congratulations to them both! It is also interesting to note that little known privately-held Heng Hiap Industries Sdn Bhd has filed more patent applications than industry heavyweight Sime Darby Bhd. At this stage of the patent applications, it is not possible to know in what field of technology the patent applications were filed as such details are confidential until after 18 months of the filing date. Next, who are the top 20 foreign applicants seeking patent rights for their inventions? This list is led by chemical giant BASF with 100 applications (see Table 2). Not unexpectedly, most of the foreign applicants are US entities. In fact US has been the top patent filing country in Malaysia (see Table 3), evidencing the R&D capabilities of US entities and their desire to protect their technology in industrially emerging countries like Malaysia.

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IP exposé No.

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Applicant

Total

Of course patent filing is not an end in itself, in fact it is the start of the commercialization process. The extent to which patents granted to Malaysians are commercially exploited is not well documented or publicized. And unless one undertakes a comprehensive study of the patent applications and the applicants, these figures would remain as just statistics in the patent filing context.

1

BASF SE

100

2

NESTEC S.A.

90

3

COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY

81

4

SANOFI

70

5

SHARP KABUSHIKI KAISHA

67

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.

67

No.

UNICHARM CORPORATION

63

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Country

Total

1

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

1696

JAPAN

1252

8

VETCO GRAY, INC.

59

2

9

HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICES, INC.

57

3

MALAYSIA

1160

10

BAKER HUGHES INCORPORATED

52

4

GERMANY

476

SWITZERLAND

386

11

NOVARTIS AG

49

5

12

E.I DU PONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY

45

6

FRANCE

292

PHILIP MORRIS PRODUCTS S.A.

45

7

UNITED KINGDOM

285

8

KOREA (REPUBLIC OF KOREA)

182

9

THE NETHERLANDS

158

10

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

125

11

TAIWAN

125

12

AUSTRALIA

90

13

SINGAPORE

85

14

SWEDEN

82

15

ITALY

68

16

BELGIUM

54

17

INDIA

52

NORWAY

52

19

CANADA

45

20

SPAIN

41

SHELL INTERNATIONALE RESEARCH MAATSCHAPPIJ B.V.

45

15

JFE STEEL CORPORATION

41

16

SUMITOMO BAKELITE CO., LTD

39

17

SUMITOMO CHEMICAL CO., LTD.

37

18

F. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE AG

36

QUALCOMM INCORPORATED

36

KAO CORPORATION

34

20

Table 2: Top 20 Foreign Patent Applicants in Malaysia in 2012

In recent years, one sees more and more patent applications filed by China (PRC) and India, an indication that these two countries are also stepping up their R&D activities and actively filing patent applications in Malaysia in areas where it is believed Malaysians have the technical capability to utilize their technology unless it is protected as patents.

Table 3: Top 20 Countries for Patent & Utility Applications in Malaysia in 2012

Indonesian Government takes over 6 antiretroviral drug patents BY CARLA MONINTJA HIV/AIDS, as we’re aware, is a global pandemic. Nations all across the world are striving to prevent increasing HIV prevalence in national health statistics. Battling the HIV infection is a sustainable action. But short of waging an all-out war against HIV, is there anything else that can be done to help suppress the rise of the disease? While a cure has yet to be found for HIV/AIDS, the Government is by no means sitting idle. People living with HIV/AIDS deserve a quality of life, so although afflicted with an incurable disease, at least their suffering can be alleviated. Prescription Drugs

Drugs remain a priority and necessity in treating HIV. Those infected cannot live without the drugs, which essentially work to improve their immunity, prevent infections, and increase their life expectancy. Up to now, an antiretroviral drug is believed to be the answer to lengthen the lifespan of those infected with HIV. However, particularly in Indonesia, this drug is quite expensive and frankly unaffordable for those from lower income backgrounds.

So why aren’t the drugs more accessible, you ask? What’s with the seemingly astronomical costs for the antiretroviral drugs? The answer, quite simply, is because not only are the drugs imported, but they are also protected by patents. In Indonesia, the government is treating this situation with a sense of urgency. Recently, pursuant to the Presidential Regulation No. 76 Year 2012 (henceforth “Presidential Regulation”), the Indonesian Government decided to take over

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IP exposé 6 registered patents relating to antiviral and antiretroviral medication for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B, which are as follows: No

Name of the active substances

Patent Holder

Patent Reg. Number

1

Efavirenz

Merck & Co., Inc

ID 0 005 812

2

Abacavir

Glaxo Group Limited

ID 0 011 367

3

Didanosin

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

ID 0 010 163

4

Combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir

Abbott Laboratories

ID P 0023461

5

Tenofovir

Gilead Sciences, Inc

ID 0 007 658

6

- Combination of Tenofovir & Emtrisitabin - Combination of Tenofovir, Emtrisitabin & Evafirenz

Gilead Sciences, Inc

ID P 0029476

The main purpose of this compulsory licensing exercise is to enable the necessary antiviral and antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B to be manufactured in Indonesia. Consequently, Indonesia would not need to import the drugs, thus cutting the price and bringing it to a more affordable level. Indonesian Patent Law allows the Government to take over registered patents based on public interest, pursuant to Article 99 verse (1) Law no. 14 year 2001, re. Patent:

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Article 99 (1) If the Government considers a Patent in Indonesia important for the defense and security of the State and it is urgently needed* for the interests of the general public, the Government may exercise the Patent by itself. * Urgent needs for national interests include matters affecting the health sector, such as drugs that are protected under Patents in Indonesia but are required to eradicate endemics; and the agriculture sector such as for pesticides that are required to prevent a country-wide harvest failure due to plant diseases.

Although the Government is taking over the patents, the respective patent holders will not completely lose the economic rights to their patents. Pursuant to the Presidential Regulation, the local pharmaceutical industry, which will use the patent to manufacture the drugs, will pay a royalty of up to 0.5 % from its net selling price to the patent holders. While this is not much compared to the revenue the patent holder would gain if it was not pushed to provide a compulsory license, it is at least a token of appreciation to the patent holder for its contribution to society. With this move, the Indonesian Government is taking firm steps to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and this may, in turn, inspire other nations to find a solution to tackling their HIV/AIDS situation.

The next generation of offensive trademarks BY LYDIA PRIYA RHANAKUMAR Disclaimer: Some words in this article may offend the sensitivities of certain individuals. Please exercise discretion when reading.

Callipygian. Intrigued? Well, you should be – the word means “having well-shaped buttocks” and is a registered trademark in the US! Now for those of you whose curiosity is aroused, let’s start from the very core of the matter with a question – can offensive trademarks be registered? Basically, trademarks are a distinctive sign or indicator to identify to consumers that the products or services on or with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other parties. Seems rather easy to comprehend? Now, you might think that the trademark databases of several Trademark Registries such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), IP AUSTRALIA and our very own Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) might be a tad bit dull, until – due to curiosity or boredom – intrigue sets in and you start typing certain words you assume cannot possibly be trademarked, and make an interesting discovery. Words such as “SNOT”, “PISS”, “SHIT” and the famous “FCUK” can be found on the USPTO, “Intellectual Homosexual” and “NUCKIN FUTS” found on IP Australia, “CNUT”, “WNAK”, and a number of marks incorporating “Bitch”, such as “Stich 'n' Bitch” and “lippy bitch” found on “IPONZ” and lastly “LIP BABI”, “KINGKOTE”, “PAL-AT” and “SODICK” found on MyIPO. These are interesting to a certain extent, but when does it cross the line to the point that a trademark is deemed OFFENSIVE in nature? It should be noted that in all the Trademark Registries stated above, there is a particular section which indicates that a mark, or a part of a mark shall not be registered as a trademark “if it contains or comprises any scandalous or offensive matter or would not INNOVATIONS DECIDE sm www.kass.com.my

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otherwise be entitled to protection in any court of law”. However, it is imperative to bring forth the notion on what matter might in fact be considered scandalous or offensive. In such cases, what might be considered scandalous or offensive is often a subjective decision. A trademark encompasses the appearance, pronunciation, meaning, and commercial impression of the respective mark – thus, it would be upon one’s individual mental impression or cognitive perception about the said mark. This is generally left to the imagination and comprehension of the public at large.

The recent acceptance of the registration of the “NUCKIN FUTS” trademark in Australia raises questions about whether there is a changing approach in determining potentially offensive trademarks, due to the view and impression of the general public about what is considered offensive. The said mark covers goods such as “nuts and other snacks”, and was initially objected to by IP Australia on the basis that the mark is scandalous in nature. The mark was considered to be an obvious spoonerism, where the first consonant of each word in the mark is switched to form a play on words, and thus was found to contain or comprise a scandalous matter. The applicant later contended that the F-word had become part of the everyday language of Australians, and quite remarkably IP Australia accepted the application for registration upon entry of the condition that “the trademark will not be marketed to children”. This suggests that allusions to obscenity in witty phrases or plays on words may no longer be considered offensive by a substantial number of people and reflects the subjective nature of the grounds of offensiveness and the increasing prevalence and tolerance of bad language.

In Malaysia, section 14(1)(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1976, which governs “offensive trademarks”, does not specify to whom the said marks would be offensive to – the section plainly connotes that it is an objective decision, nevertheless a particular mark’s impression on the general public at large would be subjective in nature to each and every individual. At this juncture, an objective test would be formed to determine if the mark would be deemed offensive based on the zeitgeist or generally accepted morals of the time. However, it should also be noted that as religious and moral standards change, sometimes quite rapidly, the Registrars too should not be stuck on an outmoded set of moral principles nor should they be so presumptuous as to set a particular standard. Eventually, one sees an overlap of both subjective and objective tests being present and adjudicated by the Registry – a seemingly tedious task! Thus, we can say that the impression of a mark should be looked at subjectively – reading into not only the visual or aural connotation of the mark, but the overall perception of the mark. A mark should not be objected to merely on the ground that it has a “slight similarity” with an offensive or scandalous word. Let’s take the “FCUK” mark for example. Would it be mistaken for that four-lettered expletive often known as the F-word? In judging whether the word FCUK would be construed as the other F-word, the Registrar had to examine the visual, aural and conceptual impact of the mark on consumers. The pronunciation would be by its individual letters (F-C-U-K), rather than as a word, so aurally they would be quite different. The conceptual meaning of the mark depended on whether the mark would be seen as the F-word, either spelled correctly or misspelled. While the F-word would cause offence to a significant section of the public, the offence was not caused by FCUK in itself. Rather the possibility of it being offensive arose through wordplay, mistake, or misconstruction of the letters. It would not be entirely accurate to see the mark as objectionable because it was capable of being seen as something that it was not.

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Certain marks are also considered offensive due to the marks bearing some form of colloquial significance or slang in certain countries – for instance, marks such as “LIP BABI” and “PAL-AT” imply negative connotations amongst the local Muslims and Malays. What is significant here is that the Applicants of both of these marks are from overseas, and this clearly shows that there was a step lacking during the conceptualisation of the trademark, something that IP firms would do well to incorporate when advising clients – a linguistic search. Generally, both the said marks in all essence can be registered in their home countries – however, trademarks are territorial in nature and thus must be filed in each country where protection is sought. Further, seeing that the Applicants are foreign companies, it is imminently clear that they would not be aware of the definition attached to those words. This is where carrying out a linguistic search would come in handy. Don’t make the same mistake as Mitsubishi when they named their sport utility vehicle “PAJERO”, which is equivalent to the word “wanker” in Spanish slang. Needless to say, they have had to adopt alternative trademarks in Spanish-speaking markets.

At this point, you may be wondering if every word or name you can think of has already been registered by someone, somewhere at some point in time. It is in fact extremely difficult today to find a trademark that is available unless it is an invented word like Kodak or Exxon. On the whole, in these modern times, businesses will continue to adopt controversial trademarks and push marketing boundaries. Let’s face it – we always remember something intriguing, naughty or scandalous and when creating a brand which reflects these alluring connotations it is best to keep in mind at all times the image that you intend to create amongst the general public at large!


IP exposé

Success story spotlight

APRIL ’13

Thesan Salva, CEO of Spice International Group & Franchise Owner of Austin Chase Coffee in Malaysia/Singapore

Thesan Salva, CEO of Spice International Group and master franchise owner of Austin Chase Coffee in South East Asia, has been in the F&B industry for 12 years, having first tested the waters in 2001 when he opened a Mediterranean restaurant in the township of Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur. This restaurant – Ocean Catch – was to be a learning curve and an experience that further fueled his entrepreneurial adventures. With Spice International Group, a family business that grew into a corporation in five quick years, he has taken fine dining Northern Indian food to greater heights, with several outlets in the Klang Valley under his wing. He realized, over the years, that there was a brand name to the business and decided to take necessary steps to protect the brand. Based on this need, he started working with KASS, having chosen to do so “based on the reputation that KASS has built as an IP service provider.” Thesan shares that, “The move to register and secure our trademarks has prevented start-up competitors from using the goodwill we have built to enter the market.” He hopes to continue strengthening his brands regionally and improving operations in the long-run. As with all other industries, it is not always smooth sailing, and one of the main difficulties he faces at the moment is lack of adequate local operational staff. Nevertheless, Thesan is always up for a challenge and always on the lookout for the next dining experience. In fact, one of his recent projects was one that paid tribute to his beginnings, a Mediterranean restaurant called Athena. In 2009, Thesan welcomed Austin Chase Coffee, an American coffee chain, into his fold. As the master franchise owner for Austin Chase Coffee in South East Asia, he has launched six coffee outlets in Malaysia so far and is planning for more, with a focus on the regional market. His advice to those who want to survive and thrive in the industry is to be patient and persevere. “Everything takes time to cook,” he says. There couldn’t be a more apt way to describe his journey.

Around the region in an IP minute

VIETNAM

Fowl dispute: No ifs, ands, or clucks about it Vietnamese company, Giang Son JSC, recently accused Big C, a supermarket chain operating in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, of wrongfully using the “Ga doi Yen The” brand on the Big C’s range of chicken products. “Ga doi Yen The” refers to free-range chicken sourced from and raised in the Yen The district in the Bac Giang province, which has long held a reputation for producing fowl of a certain quality. Giang Son argues that the sole right to use and market the “Ga doi Yen The” brand was granted to them by the Bac Giang Science and Technology Department, a fact that was not refuted by the latter. Big C countered that as they were selling chicken sourced from the Yen The district, they were not infringing any intellectual property rights in using the brand. At a working session to address the issue, Big C was asked by the Bac Giang provincial Department of Standards, Quality and Measurement to stop labeling its chicken products as “Ga doi Yen The”, as this would

consumers would be misled. Big C eventually compromised, and agreed to replace the “Ga doi Yen The” on their chicken products with “Ga doi: xuat xu Yen The” (Chicken: sourced from Yen The). Read more at www.talkvietnam.com

THAILAND

Crackdown on Software Piracy With Thailand looking likely to be on the United States’ Priority Watch List yet again, the Thai Government is aggressively stepping up its efforts to combat IP rights violation, with plans to cut down the software piracy level this year to 68% from 70% in 2012. More and more incidences of software piracy – which is the illegal distribution/reproduction of software applications – happen online, creating a prevalent global issue. Among the Thai Government’s plans to reduce the rate of software piracy are: • Pursuing violators under anti-money laundering laws

• Collaborating with Microsoft to negotiate volume licensing discounts of up to 80% Last year, Thai police conducted raids on 182 groups and seized 4,573 PCs with unlicensed software, worth 448 million baht. In addition, 56 websites that have been linked to illegal software activity have been blacklisted. Read more at www.bangkokpost.com ............................

Hom Mali Fragrant Rice Granted PGI status Earlier in February, “Khao Hom Mali Thung Kula Rong-Hai”, a type of rice originating from Thung Kula Rong-Hai in Northeast Thailand, was recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the EU, making it the first Thai agricultural produce to be granted PGI status in the EU. The Hom Mali rice, more commonly known as Jasmine rice, is popular for its distinct aroma and flavor, which is said to be subtly sweet and nutty with a slight hint of pandan (screwpine) leaves. Read more at www.oryza.com

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Welcome to the KASS family! KASS welcomed three new team members recently, and we’re very excited to introduce you to them. Let’s get better acquainted with Louis Teo, Megha Anand and Samini Thiruchelvam! Samini has an honours degree in Biotechnology (Enterprise) from the University of Manchester, where she developed an in-depth understanding of key concepts underpinning the major fields of biology, especially in the areas of immunology, microbiology and genetic engineering. As a Patent Executive, she specializes in the searching, drafting and prosecution of patent applications in these areas, in addition to issuing patent validity and invalidity opinions. To relax, Samini immerses herself in novels and movies, and enjoys swimming and travelling when possible.

KASS Goes Retro! Our Annual Dinner, held at the tail-end of 2012, was one that took us back in time. In keeping with the “Retro” theme, KASS team members came in outfits from the golden, classy, and sometimes funky eras of the 1930s up to the 1980s. Here’s a peek at some of the excitement from that night!

Megha graduated with a B.Eng. (Hons) in Computer Science and is currently pursuing her Masters in Intellectual Property Law. Her expertise in software patent drafting and prosecution, along with her years of experience at a well-established IP firm in India, has made her an invaluable addition to the KASS team. Megha loves exploring new places, and when not travelling to distant lands, she finds joy in baking, swimming, cooking and gardening.

Having been involved in the glamorous world of modeling and talent casting prior to graduating with an LL.B. from the University of London, Louis brings with him a set of experiences and insights that will be especially valuable when dealing with clients in related industries. He handles searches, registration and prosecution of trademarks and industrial designs and provides advice on copyright matters. In his spare time, Louis indulges his passion for modeling, fashion and sports (particularly tennis, fencing and swimming).

KASS Recognised as a Top Patent Firm in Malaysia We’ve done it again! Asia IP’s Patent Survey 2013 recently ranked KASS as one of the top patent firms in Malaysia in terms of patent prosecution work. With only 10 firms listed in per category and per jurisdiction, being ranked is certainly an achievement. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone for their support and encouragement thus far and we hope to continue providing you with effective and reliable solutions to all your IP needs for years and years to come.

World IP Day Giveaway! In conjunction with World IP Day on 26th April 2013, we're running a Facebook contest in line with this year’s theme, “Creativity: The Next Generation”. Here’s how it works: (1) Check out our “World IP Day Giveaway!” event page on the KASS Facebook page (2) Come up with a creative solution to the given scenario (3) The best answer gets a HTC smartphone! Sounds simple? That’s because it is! Anything goes as long as it answers the question, so the sky’s the limit! Terms and conditions can be found on the event page. Visit www.facebook.com/KASSinternational now! Contest ends 26th April 2013.

In this edition of KASS IP exposé, we look at the most graceful, most sensei-like, most classical and most microscopic trademarks published in the past issues of our Government Gazettes. Check out which marks came out tops:

Most Graceful Trademark No. 2012051474 Goods: Contact lenses/cases, goggles for sports, optical glass/goods/lenses, spectacle cases/frames/glasses, sunglasses, eyeglass cases/chains/cords, frames, eyeglasses, eyepieces and eyeshades (Class 9) Owner: GEO CONTACT LENSES (M) SDN BHD

Most Classical

Trademark No. 2011022122 Services: Artistic management/direction of theatre shows, distribution/presentation of TV/radio programmes, interactive entertainment, film/sound recordings, theatre productions, movie theatre presentations, provision of theatre facilities, rental of theatre scenery, theatre tickets booking services, musical entertainment/performances, hire of musical instruments, etc. (Class 41) Owner: ENFINITI VISION MEDIA SDN. BHD.

8

Most Sensei-Like Trademark No. 2012051674 Goods: Computer programmes, recorded; teaching apparatus; compact discs [audio-video]; computer operating programs, recorded; computer peripheral devices; computer software; optical discs; computer game programs; electronic publications / computer programs [downloadable software] (Class 9) Owner: BAIS EDUCATION FOUNDATION

Most Microscopic

Trademark No. 2012010266 Services: Bacterial/bacteriological/biological preparations for medical and veterinary use; cultures and preparations of microorganisms for medical and veterinary use; nutritive substances for microorganisms (Class 5) Owner: BIO-LIFE MARKETING SDN BHD


KASS IP exposé - April 2013