South East Asia IP Offices Update

In light of the current pandemic, IP offices around the globe are taking reactive measures to maintain safety and services. While the situation continues to evolve quickly, below is the latest update on some of the IP offices operations and functions in Southeast Asia and we will keep this article updated over the coming weeks.

Information correct as at 24 April 2020

Philippines

The government has placed Metro Manila under extended enhanced community quarantine until 30 April 2020. The Intellectual Property Office of Philippines (IPOPHL) continues to adopt complete online working arrangements, thereby cancelling all hearings and meetings between 16 March 2020 to 30 April 2020. Deadlines for payments and responses to official actions, declarations and other documents including motions for extension of the period to file oppositions, answers, position papers, and appeals that fall due between 16 March 2020 to 15 May 2020 are extended for a period of sixty (60) calendar days from the due date. However, all new IP applications may still be filed online through the IPOPHL electronic filing system.

Indonesia

The Jakarta governor first declared a state of emergency on 20 March 2020 and large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were imposed on 10 April 2020 for 14 days. As per the recent directive, the lockdown has been extended until 22 May 2020. In compliance, many organizations are operating remotely, and government institutions and Court are not operating on normal schedules. While IP offices continue to allow e-filing of applications, all service counters will remain closed until 13 May 2020. They will also allow dispensation for delay in completing formalities with deadlines between March 23 2020 to 13 May 2020. The Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) live chat, online complaint submission platforms and call centers remains closed. The travel restrictions first imposed in response to the pandemic are also extended until further notice.

Thailand

The government institutions in Thailand including The Department of Intellectual Property of Thailand (DIP) continue to encourage social distancing with a focus on limiting mass gathering until 31 March 2020. Currently, all IPR deadlines can be extended by 30 days if it can be shown that Covid-19 has directly affected the ability to handle IP prosecution. This extension does not apply to deadlines for filing new applications.

Malaysia

Under the National Restriction of Movement Order (MCO) by the Malaysian government, all government and private offices except those providing essential services are to remain closed from 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020. The MCO has now been extended to 28 April 2020, and the Malaysian IP offices remain closed in compliance with the order. However, e-filing remains operational for forms relating to patents and designs, and only new filings are allowed for trade marks. All manual filings with priority deadlines due within the affected period have been extended to 4 May 2020, and all appeals, oppositions and payment deadlines are extended until 15 May 2020. International filing of trade marks through the Madrid system is deferred until the end of the restrictions.

Singapore

In an early response to the outbreak, Singapore government, imposed travel restrictions and proactive measures to contain the virus. In wake of new cases emerging, the government announced lockdown from 6 April 2020 onwards. In compliance, the IPOS physical office will remain closed. However, e-filling will continue to operate, and the teams will work remotely. All filing deadlines and hearings due between 7 April 2020 to 7 May 2020 have been granted an extension to 8 May 2020.

Vietnam

In order to limit the risk of exposure to the virus, from 1 April 2020 all transactions including payments between the IP Ooffice of Vietnam (IPVN) and applicants are to be conducted either via post or electronic medium until further notice. All procedures including priority claim, submitting documents, renewals and complaints with deadlines between 30 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 are automatically extended to 30 May 2020. In case of an approaching deadline, applicants can also file official requests to treat the Covid-19 Pandemic as a force majeure. IPVN may accept the explanations and allow late submissions under certain conditions. Also, PPH requests based on PPH agreement with the JPO originally scheduled to commence on 1 April 2020 will now start from 4 May 2020.

Cambodia

The Department of IP Rights (DIPR) of Cambodia remains operational, but all officials are encouraged to work from home.  Telephonic communication is preferred and all face-to-face meetings with any examiner are discouraged until further notice. New IP filings and responses to refusal are expected to be submitted online.

Myanmar

After reporting its first cases of Covid-19, government officials have restricted travel and suspended visa on arrival for all travelers from China. Health checks along the border with China and in offices have also increased including the compulsory use of alcogel and wearing masks outside the premises. All government offices and the intellectual property office of Myanmar have restricted visitors to the offices and staff is advised to avoid public transport. As a precautionary measure adopted by some offices, all documents are quarantined for 14 days before sending it to the clients.

These developments are subjected to further change owing to the unpredictable nature of the situation. We assure that any further changes to this arrangement will be communicated to you at the earliest.

We would also like to inform you that globally, Rouse is implementing all necessary steps to protect our clients as well as our employees. We are diligently following all government directions and regularly monitoring the situation to adjust our business operations accordingly. Complying with the instructions from government and the World Health Organization, our professionals have been provided the necessary infrastructure to work remotely in a safe environment We continue to operate normally and remain available during the operational hours on all email addresses while maintaining full control of our daily operations and duly supervising all cases.

In our pursuit to maintain our service excellence during this time, we will take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted service to our clients while remaining hopeful that the situation globally will soon return to normal.

Please feel free to reach out to us at jakarta@rouse.com or your primary contact at Rouse, in case of any concerns or further questions.