U.S. and ASEAN Convene Regional Workshop on Trademark Examination

Phnom Penh – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today concluded a three-day advanced workshop on trademark examination for approximately 25 officials from ASEAN member states’ national trademark offices. The program, organized by the ASEAN Secretariat and the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, occurred in Phnom Penh with the support and cooperation of the Intellectual Property Department of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce.

Two trademark attorney-advisors, Scott Baldwin of the USPTO Global Intellectual Property Academy and Cynthia Henderson of the USPTO Policy and External Affairs Office, led the workshop over the course of January 11-13. USPTO Regional Intellectual Property Attaché for Southeast Asia, Peter N. Fowler, also contributed to the forum.

The interactive workshop enabled USPTO attorneys and national trademark officials to share experiences and strategies for quality trademark examination practice. The officials focused their presentations on training and practical exercises for evaluating substantive trademark examination issues, including likelihood of confusion, distinctiveness, well-known marks, and non-traditional trademarks. The presenters introduced several case studies for the attendees to assess.

“The United States and ASEAN recently have embarked upon execution of our latest five-year cooperative action plan. As we designed the plan last year, our ASEAN colleagues strongly requested that USPTO continue its regional training programs as part of our support to ASEAN’s Economic Community,” said U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, David Carden, based in Jakarta.  “We agree that intellectual property rights protection and enforcement of intellectual property law will be a great help to improving the investment climate and boosting economic development across the ASEAN region.”

This latest workshop builds upon the long-running partnership that USPTO has established with the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation to collaborate in organizing capacity-building activities to improve intellectual property rights protection and enforcement throughout the ASEAN region. While in Phnom Penh, the Regional Intellectual Property Attaché also met with Cambodian enforcement and judicial authorities to discuss current law enforcement activities and greater cooperation on effective enforcement strategies.

The Permanent Representative of Cambodia to ASEAN, Ambassador Kan Pharidh, added, “Cambodia, in the capacity of the ASEAN Chair for 2012, was pleased to host this workshop which reflects the positive push forward of the implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. cooperative program, encompassed in the ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action (2011-2015) and Joint Statements of the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting.” He anticipated hosting other regional workshops both related to intellectual property rights and in other areas that would contribute to the realization of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

Ambassador Kan Pharidh emphasized that “the active participation of ASEAN officials in the workshop supported key ASEAN integration goals and enhanced the exchange of IPR related knowledge among ASEAN governments, as envisioned in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint.”

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