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Updating the ASEAN Common Guidelines for Substantive Examination of Trademarks

The 8th Trademark Consultation Meeting commenced in Bangkok on 15 August to discuss possible updates to the guidelines on the substantive examination of trademarks. ASEAN trademark experts, representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, and the ARISE+ IPR team discussed mechanisms for potential amendments to the ASEAN Common Guidelines for the Substantive Examination of Trademarks (Common TM Guidelines). The two-day activity contributed to the definition of an updating mechanism, including technical and IT solutions, so that the Common TM Guidelines can reflect the latest developments in trademark examination, the trademark laws in ASEAN Member States and relevant case law.

EU Ambassador to Thailand Pirkka Tapiola and Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) Thosapone Dansuputra opened proceedings in a combined ceremony for a parallel EU-funded seminar on trademarks and designs. “The regional trademark meeting that ARISE+ IPR is opening today with the ASEAN Member States continues what was started by the EUIPO and ASEAN IP offices to achieve a deeper level of convergence in trademark practices,” stated ARISE+ IPR Team Leader Ignacio de Medrano Caballero in an address following. “The EU joins ASEAN in forging ahead together and in building stronger intellectual property systems in the region.”

The first day covered regional initiatives on trademarks, specifically those under the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025 and EU-funded programmes, and discussed an upcoming study on the feasibility of a regional trademark registration system.  The study is one of the initiatives under the new IPR action plan.  Day two focuses on the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, updating of the Common TM Guidelines, and EUIPO best practices on updating its examination guidelines. The activity is being held back-to-back with the meeting of the ASEAN Task Force on Trademark Cooperation.

The meeting represents the first time that updating of the Common TM Guidelines will be discussed following its adoption in 2014 and in accordance with the recommendation to review the guidelines every 3-4 years under the previous ECAP III project.  The periodic updating of the document is also one of the initiatives under ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025. The guidelines are intended to supplement the national guidelines of ASEAN IP offices and establish consistent evaluation of trademark applications across jurisdictions in the region, leading to improved quality of trademark examination and decisions for rights holders.  It also serves as a guide for legal practitioners.

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