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Where will Asia go?

Source: Grill IP patents news

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Today, there are three forces that are fighting for the Asian region: China, Russia and the US. On the 6th of May of this year the President of the US Barack Obama has said in a rather rigid form: “The world has changed. The rules are changing with it. The United States, not countries like China, should write them. Other countries should play by the rules that America and our partners set, and not the other way around.”

But what are those other countries, apart from China, that set the new rules? Actually, it is Russia. So what did China and Russia do against the US and their partners? Some years ago, the presidential administration has developed a partnership agreement for the Asian region, called TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). It was in a year 2008, and the agreement has started to be applied across the region in a quite aggressive manner. As a response, after only four years, China has suggested the alternative – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and in a year 2015 a new Russian variant – Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – has also started to be applied.

All three projects have their own specifics and attractiveness for many Asian countries. But the most interesting part of them is related to the Intellectual Property. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Obama’s reaction to Chinese project, i.e. RCEP, was very harsh.

As critics of RCEP say, this project, firstly, suggest the increasing in censorship on the domestic markets of the parties, and, secondly, de facto legalizes piracy. To be exact: in the new version of the agreement it is suggested to those countries, which have not yet ratified the agreement, to waive the compliance of the conditions of the Berne Convention on copyright, and to continue to work under their own laws. Which means that the rule “50 years after the death of author” cannot be applied here. Taking into account the fact that the majority of the Asian countries have not yet ratified the agreement, it is easy to understand what Hollywood producers are afraid of. As for the censorship, it is much more difficult, because there is a special remark “subject of the local law”. Which means that they can tighten the rules if they want to.

As for the Russian project, commentators say that it is rather fictitious, but is that true? Starting from the attraction of the former USSR partners, Russia has created clear and acceptable conditions allowing to work with patents and trademarks. The important part is that all the documents can be written on any language of the members of the alliance. Sometimes EuroParliament looked as if it was playing Chinese Whispers. When Estonian text was first translated into Lithuanian, then this version was translated into Russian, and only after that – into English or French. Surely, it is only a temporary problem, but this communication issue sometimes plays a significant role. Moreover, Russian project have some interesting paragraphs that look attractive for all the players. For example, if the trademark is registered under this agreement, i.e. all the languages, religious and cultural aspects and so on are taken into account, it has a priority throughout the territory of the agreement. So the situation with the Korean brand with the F-word, which took place in the US, cannot happen here. Russian project has a lot of such small advantages, and it seems that many other countries are thinking of joining the alliance, for example, Vietnam and Turkey. Although, due to the recent political difficulties Turkey made a pause, but it is not trying to join the EU either.

This April, there was a leak of information about the discussion related to the creation of the Asian Patent Register, which may include not only Russian and China, but also many other countries. Obama cannot just ignore this, especially taking into account the fact that two eternal allies of the US – Australia and New Zeland – have already joined the RCEP. So his reaction was completely understandable. The world changes indeed, but not always in the way we want.


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Author: grill-ip

Grill IP is a non-profit project for educational and entertaining purposes only. Our aim is to provide quick and easy access to aggregated and original patent news, IP analysis, interesting business cases in IP, basic legal updates and a list of patent transactions.

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