The idea of creating regional ASEAN IP offices has been floated before; principally in the early 2000s. There was talk of a separate regional patent, designs and trade marks offices based perhaps in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. But insufficient support in other large countries, like Indonesia and Vietnam, combined with a solution for international filing offered by Madrid adoption scuppered those plans.
The 2016-25 ASEAN IP Action plan has put the idea back on the region’s agenda. The regional IP practitioner’s group, the ASEAN IP Association, has been looking again at regional trade mark harmonisation. The EU’s Arise+ IP project is considering a feasibility study for ASEAN (given the success of the EUIPO). They will consider aspects such as legal infrastructure, operational set-up, fee structures, stakeholder interests, and the impact on national trade mark systems. ASEAN Member States held a meeting in Bangkok several months ago at which it was discussed. A concern to be addressed is potentially reduced cost and administration compared to as now, filing trademarks separately in each of 10 ASEAN Member States.