3 September 2017

INTA: Industries that invest in trademarks contribute significantly to ASEAN economies

Source: INTA. From left: James Allan, Director, Australia and Asia for Economic Frontier; Etienne Sanz de Acedo, INTA CEO; and Ai Ming Lee, Dentons, Rodyk & Davidson Senior Consultant.
Source: INTA. From left: James Allan, Director, Australia and Asia for Economic Frontier; Etienne Sanz de Acedo, INTA CEO; and Ai Ming Lee, Dentons, Rodyk & Davidson Senior Consultant.

The International Trademark Association (INTA) reports that industries which intensively use trademarks contribute significantly to five major economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Analysis from The Economic Contribution of Trademark-Intensive Industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand report indicates that trademark-intensive activities generate increased employment across sectors and added contributions to international trade. Trademark-intensive industries are defined as those industries which file more trademarks than other industries–weighted against total employment in that industry.

The release of the report coincides with the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, which has successfully grown to become the world’s seventh-largest market and home to the third-largest labour force over the last half-century. INTA commissioned the report from Frontier Economics, an economics research firm. The study is the first of its kind to analyse the correlation between trademarks and their economic impact on contribution to GDP, share of exports, and employment in major markets of Southeast Asia.

From 2012 to 2015, trademark-intensive industries within Singapore generated a 50% direct contribution to GDP and 55% indirect contribution to GDP, reflecting interdependencies between trademark-intensive and non-trademark intensive industries. Trademark-intensive industries in Singapore comprised 60% of the country’s share of exports, including manufacturing of computers and electronics which contributed 21% of total manufacturing value added. In terms of employment, output, and value-added generated by trademark-intensive industries, workers’ share of the workforce represented 29% of total employment.

“A great brand is key to business success, especially in the digital economy, where there is intense competition for consumer attention. Companies that know how to use the right trademark strategy to protect their brand and grow it globally will have a strong edge over their rivals,” says Daren Tang, Chief Executive, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). “More broadly, the findings affirm the importance of IP as a business asset and a driver of Singapore’s future economic growth. IPOS, as an innovation agency, will build the right ecosystem to help businesses identify, protect, and more critically, commercialise their IP in Singapore and beyond into international markets.” 

Source: INTA infographic. Value of trademarks in Singapore. Trademark-intensive industries account for 60% of Singapore's exports.
Source: INTA infographic. Value of trademarks in Singapore.

“From employment to share of exports, this study illustrates the remarkable degree to which trademark-intensive activities positively impact the Singaporean economy,” noted INTA Member Ai Ming Lee, Consultant, Dentons, Rodyk & Davidson, LLP in Singapore. "In Singapore, trademarks and related intellectual property (IP) play a central role in driving economic development, strengthening international trade, and developing Singapore as an IP Hub.”

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo said the results of the new study “underscore the immense potential for cross-sectoral economic growth that can be unlocked by promoting the value of trademarks with the business community, government, and the general public, and by further developing national trademark systems and trademark-intensive industries. As we explore the long-term economic and social implications of trademarks and related IP rights, it becomes increasingly important for both public and private sectors to scale up engagement on this issue, as well as support government efforts to further trademark and brand development and protection, including protection of goods in transit.”

Building on similar methodologies used by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), findings from the ASEAN report echo emerging analytical trends with regard to trademark-intensive activity.