The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional group of ten member countries, namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam which promote economic, political, and security cooperation among its member countries. The main objective of the Association is to grow stronger in terms of economic growth and progress towards cultural development. The members of ASEAN countries have a common goal of improving lives of their people.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is key in promoting social progress and development of ASEAN countries. IPRs play a vital role in forming a strong framework which contributes in achieving socio economic development goals of the ASEAN members. An intellectual property is a basic building block of the ASEAN Blueprint 2025 which encourages its member countries to set out steps and execute initiatives to accelerate the progress and productivity growth.
An intellectual Property plays an important role in protecting, inter alia, trade marks, logos, taglines, original works / designs / inventions of creators, so that they can prosper in the competitive market of goods and services.
The role of IP is not only relevant in technology and innovation, but also to foster a green environment. ASEAN member countries are gradually moving towards green technology, in order to ensure green future. Thus, there is a need to develop an effective IP system which is required to preserve the environment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has mentioned in many of its reports regarding the decrease in air quality. Further, air pollution has great impact on the humans, which is alarming. Therefore, going green is the need of the hour for survival of human race on the earth. Moreover, sustainable development is the way to go.
Here, comes the role of Green IP i.e. Green Intellectual Property. It refers to the protection of innovations in the field of green technology. Green IP is a way of protecting the innovations which are helpful to the environment and which contribute to the green environment. It relates to the products used to conserve the natural environment and promote sustainability. Thus, the IP system needs to be more accessible across the globe to make future of the human race sustainable by encouraging new innovations in green technologies. The same can be done by promoting green technologies, encouraging consumers to consume more of green products, and making them aware of using green products, making them use services which incorporate green technologies, making effective investments in Research and Development of green technological innovations. These are some effective ways to make the future more sustainable with the help of IP.
Patents and Trade secrets both play critical role in encouraging innovation and investment of green technologies. The Governments and ASEAN member countries have also taken some initiatives for augmentation and protection of Green IP such as:
- The IPC Green Inventory, developed by the IPC committee is an online tool linked to International Patent Classification to make searches related to patent information relevant to environmentally sound technologies (ESTs).
- Clean Energy Research Center, dedicated for providing safe and equal access to sustainable energy.
- Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center for advancement of clean energy.
- Green Technology Pilot Programmer to speed up the process of scrutinizing patent applications received related to green technologies, natural environment and energy conservation.
- The Eco-Patent Commons, a green community started by large multinational firms to spread a word about protecting patents related to pollution, water conversation, clean energy, and green technologies.
It is very important to take the above initiatives to conserve the natural resources before they get completely depleted. Intellectual Property Law Firms bring together professional lawyers with the technical knowledge, and industry experience which can provide the incisive guidance on green technologies and green IP. A holistic advice can be offered by IP attorneys on the protection offered under the various IPR applicable law(s) for green technologies and devise a strategy to safeguard the same in the best possible manner.