(This Guide was prepared by Australian Government officials. It does not form part of the Agreement signed by Australian, New Zealand and ASEAN member governments.)
There are significant variations in intellectual property law and practice both within ASEAN and between some ASEAN members and Australia. This variation introduces complexity and uncertainty that impedes IP-related exports to the ASEAN region and adds to the transaction costs of those businesses which do seek to protect their intellectual property in ASEAN markets. Australian industry expressed concern regarding inadequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property in most ASEAN countries. These concerns further undermine the confidence of IP-related exporters and raise apprehension regarding a flow of counterfeit and pirated goods from ASEAN into Australia. Australia’s priority was to seek commitments and mechanisms for cooperation to enhance harmonisation of ASEAN's intellectual property systems with international standards, with a view to delivering efficiency gains to Australia's IP exporters and advancing the protection and enforcement of the rights of Australian intellectual property holders.
The outcome on IP under AANZFTA reinforces the Parties’ existing rights and obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), including reiterating national treatment obligations, and builds on those rights and obligations in a number of areas. The Agreement contains specific obligations on protection of trade marks and geographical indications, copyright, government use of software and transparency. It provides for cooperation in many areas, including to promote the efficiency and transparency of intellectual property administration and registration systems, cooperation on border measures with a view to eliminating trade which infringes intellectual property and cooperation regarding accession to a number of international standard setting treaties which would facilitate further harmonisation of intellectual property systems in the region. Importantly, the Agreement also includes a Committee on Intellectual Property to drive implementation of the IP Chapter, providing a high level vehicle to enable closer cooperation with New Zealand and ASEAN for the benefit of IP owners and users in the region.