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4 ways SMEs can get started on intellectual property protection

Intellectual property (IP) protection is increasingly becoming important for small business owners in Southeast Asia. Here are four ways you can start to develop a strategy to both protect and profit from your innovations.


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Published by Singtel myBusiness
on 22 Jul 2016

4 ways SMEs can get started on intellectual property protection

Without a strong IP strategy to protect your business, you run the risk of competitors stealing your ideas and passing them off as their own. On the other hand, once you understand how IP works, you can leverage it to profit from your brand and even increase the value of your business.

While it might be expensive to hire a lawyer to give you advice on intellectual property, you can get started on a strategy by following these steps, which outline the key things you need to know about IP.

1. Research local requirements 

IP is a broad description for intangibles or non-physical assets that are owned and legally protected from external use without consent. Companies obtain IP rights to protect brands, designs, inventions, software and works of art such as music, among other things. 

Intellectual property is increasingly becoming important in Southeast Asia due to the sharp rise in regional trade that is expected to come with the newly established ASEAN Economic Community, which facilitates the free movement of goods and services. Companies who want to do business in the region are therefore advised to consider all 10 countries and protect their IP rights accordingly. 

There are three main types of protections:

  • Copyrights cover literary and artistic creations such as writing, music, photography, drawings as well as databases and computer programmes. While you do not need to register for protection, some Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, will allow you to do so if you choose to.

  • Trademarks are distinctive signs that identify your goods or services and distinguish them from competitors. In Southeast Asia, you can register trademarks by filing applications at national administrative offices. You can also file an international application at the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

  • Patents provide exclusive rights over inventions, which could be in the form of a new product or process. Southeast Asia has varying patent systems, but most countries in the region provide protection for innovations that are new and inventive.

As each country has different IP regulations, you will need to research local requirements where you operate and obtain protections in each market. These IP factsheets for Southeast Asian countries can also help provide more detail on local regulations. 

See more at: https://mybusiness.singtel.com/techblog/4-ways-smes-can-get-started-intellectual-property-protection#sthash.QqM8tpO3.dpuf

Last Modified Date: 27 Mar 2018