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Intellectual Property (IP)

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[Notes: show brochures and other publications on IPR where is conveniently accessed]

Intellectual Property refers to all creations of the human mind. It is divided into copyright and industrial property rights. Copyright provides protection for music, literature and other artistic creations. Industrial property rights cover the protection of technical solutions through patents, the protection of product appearance and shape through design protection, and the protection of trademarks and other business names through trademark protection.
[Figure: copyrights and industrial property]
The Intellectual Property Law No. 08/NA of 24 December 2007 is the overall framework governing the IPR regime in Laos. The Law provides the protection for copyright and related rights, trademarks, trade secrets, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, petty patents, layout designs of integrated circuits, and the protection of plant varieties. In addition, some sub-law legislations are also cover specific issues on IPR while the decree and regulations to implement the 2007 Law are being fully developed. Industrial property protection is provided through the Prime Minister's Decree No. 06/PM "On Trademarks" of 18 January 1995 and Regulation No. 466/STEA-PMO "On the Registration of Trademarks" of 7 March 2002; Decree No. 01/PM "On the Protection of Patents, Petty Patents (Utility Models) and Industrial Designs" of 17 January 2002, and Regulation No. 322/STEA-PMO "On the Implementation of the Patents Decree" of 18 February 2003. The Regulation on border measures for IPR protection was also adopted in July 2011.
The Intellectual Property Law is being reviewed with a view to amend and bring its provisions into compliance with the requirements of the WTO. This reflects the need of increased regulation and the reform of rules required to fully comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The draft law was endorsed by the government in October 2011 and then submitted to the National Assembly for consideration.
The Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology is a key agency in charge of IPR and has overall responsibility for the coordination of the implementation of policies on this area. The key functions of the Department are formulating strategic development plans, preparation of legislation, international co-operation, and dissemination of information on intellectual property rights. Other line agencies also play roles on IPR including the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on trademarks and trade secrets, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (plant varieties), and the Ministry of Information and Culture (copyright and related rights).
In terms of IPR enforcement, the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance is responsible for enforcing measures to protection intellectual property rights at the border while the Economic Police of the Ministry of Public Security enforces intellectual property rights within the country.
Laos is a party to a number of international treaties on intellectual property rights (IPRs). It joined the convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1995, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1998, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 2006. Laos is preparing to accede to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works which is expected to be completed by the end 2011 or early 2012. The country also participates in a treaty on a common filing system for trademarks, industrial designs and in the area of copyright under the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). However, it has not yet been a signatory some IPR treaties such as: Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms, and Broadcasting Organizations, the Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, and the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV).
Laos applied for a membership of the WTO in 1997, which was the same year it joined the ASEAN. Laos is currently at the advanced stage of accession to the WTO. Up to mid 2011, it has completed seven working party meetings and concluded bilateral negotiations with most negotiating partners. As part of the accession process, Laos has provided clarification and commitments related to its foreign trade regime including on intellectual property right protection and enforcement. Other accession-related areas include state ownership and privatization, trading rights and import licensing, customs valuation, rules of origin, pre-shipment inspection, export subsidies and taxes, investment regime, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade.
To date Laos has responded to some 1,000 questions raised by WTO members and submitted action plans to achieve WTO-compliant trade legislations. Laos has reviewed and enacted some 20 trade-related laws and 40 other legislations since 2000. Recent enactments include Decree on Import and Export, Decree on Rules of Origin, Decree on Prices, Law and Decree on Investment Promotion, Ordinance on Foreign Exchange, Law on Livestock and Veterinary Matters, Law on Plant Protection, Law on Fisheries, and Tax Law. In the pipeline to be revised or adopted in 2011-2012 include the laws on intellectual property, customs, telecoms, insurance, lawyers and law-making. One of key legislations to be amended is Intellectual Property Law to bring it into compliance with the TRIPS Agreement. Laos still faces some challenges in terms of putting in place infrastructure and institutional capacity building to ensure proper protection of the IPR while as the same time to benefit from flexibilities granted to LDCs including public health aspect. In June 2011, WTO members reached consensus for it to begin drafting the working party report (DWPR), a main document describing trade regime and legal commitments to undertake by Laos. Normally a few more working party meetings are needed to complete the WTO accession process.
IP Protection
Berne Convention
Brussels Convention
Madrid Agreement (Indications of Source)
Nairobi Treaty
Paris Convention
Patent Law Treaty
Phonograms Convention
Rome Convention
Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks
Trademark Law Treaty
Washington Treaty
Global Protection System
Budapest Treaty
Hague Agreement
Lisbon Agreement
Madrid Agreement (Marks)
Madrid Protocol
Locarno Agreement
Nice Agreement
Strasbourg Agreement
Vienna Agreement


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Lao PDR participates in IP Conventions:
-  World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 1995
-  Paris Convention 1998
-  Patent Cooperation Treaty 2006
-  Berne Convention 2012
© Copyright
Copyright is the area of intellectual property rights which provides protection for music, literature and other artistic creations. It is not something that you can apply for, but is an automatic right that occurs when an artistic work is created. There is no official registration system and no authority holds a register of which works are protected by copyright.
Copyright protects a wide range of works, which may include:
Written works – books, speeches, magazine and newspaper articles, novels, stories, poems, essays, plays, text books, web pages, advertisements, and dance notations.
Musical works – musical compositions, lyrics, songs and ring tones, in all types of formats (sheet music, CDs, MP3 files, etc).
Artistic works – drawings, paintings, photographs, comics, sculptures, architectural works, and maps.
Dramatic and choreographic works – plays, operas and dance. Films and multimedia products – movies, video games, TV
programs, and cartoons.
Computer programs – human (source code) and machine (object code) computer programming language.
Copyright does NOT protect ideas or mere facts.
Terms of protection
A work is protected even after the death of its creator. The protection is valid for 50 years after the year of the creator's death. If a work has several creators, the protection is valid from the death of the last creator.

Industrial property includes:

1. patents;
2. petty patents;
3. industrial designs;
4. trademarks;
5. trade names
6. layout-design of integrated circuits;
7. geographical indications;
8. trade secrets.

IP Legislation:

1. Intellectual Property Law, 2011

2. Instruction on Customs Measures for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights No. 1970- 2011 Lao


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:12 )  
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