The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) today jointly announced that His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented to the transfer of the Registry of Trademarks to the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) with effect from June 2013. The move is in line with the joint effort between the BEDB and AGC in the ongoing restructuring of the administration of Intellectual Property (IP) in the country which would include the setting up of the Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO) under the BEDB. The restructuring is aimed to foster better policy coordination and enhance the efficiency of Brunei Darussalam’s IP administration.
The transfer of the Registry of Trademarks to the BEDB is a significant development in the expansion of the Patent Registry Office (PRO), which is now known as the Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO) as it will accept applications for the registration of trademarks in addition to patents and industrial designs. With effect from 1 July 2013, all applications for the registration of trademarks must be lodged at the Registry of Trademarks, Brunei Intellectual Property Office (BruIPO), BEDB located on the 4th Floor of the former Prime Minister's Office at Jalan Kumbang Pasang.
Consistent with the practice in other countries, the ‘Devolution of the Registry’ which was highlighted by Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Paduka Hajah Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohd Salleh, the Attorney General in her address at the Opening of the Legal Year last year, started with the establishment of the Patent Registry Office (PRO) under the BEDB on 1 January 2012. With the new patent system, Brunei Darussalam acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure on 24 April 2012. This was followed by the transfer of the Registry of Industrial Designs from AGC to BEDB on 1 October 2012. Despite being a ‘late starter’, Brunei Darussalam is fully committed in implementing the appropriate mechanisms for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the country. As a Member State of ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam will strive to honour its IP commitments in realising the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) aspiration by acceding to a number of Treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), namely the Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks.
Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office-cum-Chairman of the BEDB, remarked that it is vital that Brunei pays significant attention to the adoption of appropriate mechanisms that can protect intellectual property (IP) rights. IP protection has direct impact on a country’s economic growth as it encourages innovation, leading to the creation of a knowledge-based economy. The establishment of BruIPO will not only place Brunei Darussalam at par with Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) in the region and worldwide but most importantly, it will also be able to create and promote a business-friendly ecosystem that will ensure that SMEs and multi-national companies (MNCs) are well protected in their IPs. Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali added that the recent announcement on the removal of Brunei Darussalam from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Watch List is a significant milestone in recognition of the country’s substantive efforts in implementing legislation on IPR, enforcing laws and educating the public on the importance of protecting IP. MNCs are attracted by policies supporting IP protection as it acts as an incentive to invest in a country. This recognition, he added, will not only provide credibility to our local businesses but will also open up opportunities in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI).