Hearing people describe what trademark is may oftentimes make the concept sound so simple. Trademark, an intellectual property or an intangible business asset, covers business names, logos, slogans, and other components. This trademark used to identify the business and its products (or services) in the market. Businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are known to use it to protect their businesses from undesired use. Then what is Indonesian trademark law?
It is important for investors who intend to start a business in Indonesia to familiarize themselves with the trademark law and eventually go ahead with the trademark registration to avoid any unwanted trademark infringement, which is very common in Indonesia. And the better news is, by registering your trademark, you not only gain protection for your business’s intangible assets, you also attract more investors.
This article highlights the challenges of the Indonesian Trademark Law for brand owners in Indonesia. Ever since the Indonesian administration approved amendments to the country’s Trademark Law on October 27, 2016 that took effect on November 28, 2016, some challenges were resolved, while some others evolved.
Undertaking the trademark registration process when running a business in Indonesia can be a long and costly journey. It could take 12 to 18 months to get the trademark certificate from the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP). However, with the amendments to 2016 Trademark Law, the government shorten and accelerate the process to as fast as 8 months.
The fee for the trademark registration process has significantly increased. The manual trademark registration fee has doubled to IDR 2 million; the online trademark registration fee doubled to IDR 1.8 million. Companies with existing trademarks may want to fork out more for the renewal process for at IDR 4 million. It costs twice as much the previous fee.
Brand owners doing business in Indonesia are not able to register trademark directly via a single application through the Regional Trademark Office; Indonesia is not a member of the Madrid System yet. As a result, Indonesia has its own trademark law that lays out the registration procedures. It further requires twice the time and effort previously required from the brand owners.
A Company should submit all registrations and documents to DGIP in Indonesian national language, Bahasa Indonesia; creating a language barrier for foreign brand owners during the registration process. You need to translate documents in other languages as well.
Despite the many positive aspects about the new 2016 Trademark Law, it does not have a very solid guideline to protect the original brand owners and their trademarks. For instance, a brand owner who happens to have a brand name derived from a generic product may want to actively upgrade, modify, alter their trademark registrations for marketing tactics, including increasing the public’s awareness or to prevent their trademark from turning into generic. As the 2016 Trademark Law states, any company can register a generic trademark by just adding distinctive words or features.
In this light, brand owners need to analyze and be fully aware of the regulations stipulated by the Indonesian Trademark Law when doing business in Indonesia. Registering your trademark remains a surefire way to prevent others hijack your intellectual property. When someone hijacks one’s intellectual property, brand owners will face extensive losses that could have detrimental effects on businesses.