Laos, one of the smallest economies in the region has updated its IP laws. The new Law on Intellectual Property No 38/NA of 2017 took effect at the start of June 2018. It replaced the old 2011 law. It contains various changes, in summary:
- The Trademark definition is expanded to non-traditional marks. Oppositions have been introduced. The intention is to create an online publication system.
- The patent regime is largely unchanged except for an increased ability of the government to challenge patents contrary to public policy.
- Industrial designs now have an opposition procedure.
- Plant Variety provision are changed inline with the UPOV Convention.
- Copyright protections are expanded especially in the context of digital broadcasts.
Enforcement procedures have been improved. There is a de-emphasis on administrative remedies. Ex officio customs IP enforcement is provided for although more rules are needed. Criminal IP enforcement is simplified.
Laos is an ASEAN member, but perhaps the least open and smallest economy. However it to has to comply with ASEAN rules on IP protection and enforcement so it is not surprise that it has to modernise its IP system.