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Busy Busan: BTS, films and intellectual property rights

Busan, South Korea—South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, has recently been busy for simultaneous big events on music, film and intellectual property rights.  

Busan was flooded with the  BTS Army for the free  “Yet To Come” concert on October 15 to support the city’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. The streets, bridges and beachfronts of Busan turned purple, the boy band’s signature color. Italy, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia are also competing for hosting privileges, and the decision is expected in 2023. 

There was also the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) from October 5 to 14, which aimed to introduce new films and first-time directors, especially those from Asian countries through its efforts to develop and promote young talents. The festival contributed to making the city of Busan a mecca for movie buffs and the hub of the visual culture industry.

Some 30 Filipino intellectual property lawyers attended the 73rd Council Meeting of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) from October 15 to 18, 2022 along with almost 1,200 other delegates from different countries. 

The APAA’s return to a large in-person gathering for the first time following more than two years of pandemic took place at the BEXCO. The APAA is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing intellectual property (IP) protection in the Asian region (including Australia and New Zealand).

Established in December 1969, membership of APAA is open to individuals practicing the profession of patent attorney in the Asian region as well as organizations that comprise such individuals and are constituted in the Asian region.

The association now has more than 2,500 members from 21 recognized groups in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as from Bhutan, Brunei, Laos and Mongolia. The members include some of Asia’s leading practitioners of intellectual property law. 

As industries and technology evolve, intellectual property continues to play a prominent role. The term “intellectual property rights” consists of (a) copyright and related rights; (b) trademarks and service marks; (c) geographic indications; (d) industrial designs; (e) patents; (f) layout-designs (topographies) of integrate circuits; and (g) protection of undisclosed information. 

Some of APAA’s activities include exchanging information and views concerning intellectual property protection. It is also active in establishing and maintaining close contacts with various governmental, inter-governmental, and NGOs relating to intellectual property.

APAA also investigates, studies and submits plans and proposals with a view to assisting in improving international and domestic laws and regulations concerning intellectual property protection in the Asian region. 

IP laws lay down the remedies available to the IP owner in case of a violation of his rights through administrative, civil and criminal sanctions against violators. The IP laws aim to protect and secure the exclusive rights of scientists, inventors, artists and other gifted citizens to their intellectual property and creations, particularly when beneficial to the people, for such periods as provided in the law. Nobody else can copy or reuse that creation without the owner’s permission.

In the Philippines, Republic Act 8293 or the IP Code was signed into law 25 years ago, in June 6, 1997, and took effect on January 1, 1998. The IP Code has adopted certain changes aimed at streamlining administrative procedures of registration and enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country. One of its salient features is the shift from the “first-to-invent/use” to “first-to-file” system.

The IP Month is celebrated every April pursuant to Proclamation No. 190 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017. The celebration aims to raise appreciation for the benefits that IP brings to Filipinos’ daily lives and to celebrate the contribution of creativity and innovation to the development of societies across the world.

The Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines was founded on March 31, 1977 with the aim of professionalizing the steadily growing practice of intellectual property law in the Philippines. IPAP is the sole Philippine national group recognized by the APAA, the Asean Intellectual Property Association, and the Association Internationale pour la Protection dela Propriete Industrielle. 

IPAP’s founding member Atty. Alonzo Ancheta is the 2006-2009 president of APAA, the first Filipino to hold this position.

Our firm, the Sapalo Velez Bundang and Bulilan law offices was part of the Philippine contingent for this year’s APAA meeting in Busan.

The Philippines hosted the APAA council meetings in 1990 (Manila Hotel), 2000 (Cebu), and 2011 (Shangri-La Makati). 

Manila will again be the venue of the APAA council meeting in 2024 (SMX Convention Center).

Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang and Bulilan law offices. For comments, e-mail info@sapalovelez.com, or call 0917-5025808 or 0908-8665786.

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