Intellectual Property Rights in Asia

Economies of both the developing and developed Asian countries are the greatest targets for stronger intellectual property rights, and thus, requires the most significant change. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries – was signed on 4 February 2016, aiming to promote economic growth by lowering trade barriers. As a multilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the TPP confronted several disagreements regarding matters of intellectual property rights, ranging from trademarks to copyrights. Although the partnership had been planned to complete negotiations in 2012, complex issues that arose based on intellectual property rights prolonged every aspect of negotiation, reflecting the conflicting interests of countries driven to protect intellectual property rights.

Besides the TPP, the most recent intellectual property agreement that applies to all TPP members is the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) since the TPP is not in force due to many legislative measures within each member nations.

The fact that Intellectual Property Rights is a rising issue hints at the future of Asia that it will influence every aspect of people’s lives. In fact, the patent lawsuits among multinational corporations have rekindled recently, exemplified by those between Samsung and Huawei, a Chinese IT company. As stated in “Huawei eyes Samsung’s LTE patents,’ both companies are competing over the 4G patent rather than asking for cash compensation. Although the majority of these intellectual property right conflicts appear between Asian companies, many of the companies file their lawsuits in courts all over the world. According to the article mentioned above, it says, “Samsung is also considering a separate patent lawsuit against Huawei in the U.S. as early as in July, as part of a preemptive measure to secure an upper hand in the planned legal dispute.” Implying further lawsuits in the US, intellectual property rights is a major consideration within the continent.

China, the largest economy in the Pacific Rim, is not involved in the signing the TPP as it claimed that it has been propelling with its initiatives even without transnational agreements. However, experts assert that even with intangible and indirect benefits for China, China will gain in the long term because TPP ensures the protection of patents, trademarks, and copyrights in member nations.

Not only limited to China, but India is also an emerging product market for multinational businesses. As a target market for international pharmaceutical firms, India has been persisting its position on dealing with intellectual property rights regarding drugs and medicines, which gives an answer to the question of intellectual property rights in India. The most controversial copyright law is the evergreening of medical products made by pharmaceutical companies in India. Evergreening of patents refers to the acts of extending the patent by simply altering the shape or composition to extend their high rent-earning intellectual property rights. However, to greatly enhance the accessibility to the public, the Indian government has been thorough and strict about how it treats the issue of evergreening. India’s patent office in Delhi rejected one of the patents that covered the Gilhead Sciences, Inc.’s hepatitis C treatment because new treatments should be able to prove tangible improvement in the function of created medicines. In fact, the future of Indian intellectual property rights is quite bright. Prime Minister Narendri Modi is progressive in this field of further enhancing the quantity and quality of intellectual property rights within the country.

It is inevitable to confront this new era of growing significance of promoting sound intellectual property rights. Alongside these examples, implicit approval from the people and the government will drive nations to take an active part in promoting and protecting intellectual property rights throughout the world. Moreover, as numerous technology companies have entered the business, it is inevitable for businesses and firms to cooperate with their nations to enjoy the merits of intellectual property rights.



Global Trends and Tasks of Intellectual Property Rights (Inha University Law Research Institute) – <International trends and harmonization on the subject of inventive step / obviousness.non-obviousness>


Written by 이다은



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