The 63rd Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC) was held via Video Conference on 24 – 25 March 2021. This Meeting was chaired by Mr. Tran Le Hong, Deputy Director General, Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam (IP Viet Nam), Ministry of Science and Technology. The Meeting had active participation from all the ASEAN Member States.

The Meeting took note of the outcomes of the Mid Term Review of the ASEAN IPR Action Plan (AIPRAP) 2016-2025 and endorsed the changes that were proposed to the IPR Action Plan.

The 5th ASEAN – EU Heads of IP Offices Meeting was held at the sidelines of the 63rd AWGIPC Meeting. The EU delegation was led by the Executive Director of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Mr. Christian Archambeau. Chairman of AWGIPC, Mr. Tran Le Hong shared on the highlights and key achievement of the AWGIPC to date and set out the key priorities of the Working Group for the next five years. The ASEAN-EU Heads of IP Offices Meeting also noted the development and progress of the EU-ASEAN Cooperation Program.

The 12th ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (12th AANZFTA) IP Committee (IPC) Meeting was also held alongside the 63rd AWGIPC Meeting. The co-chairs from ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand discussed on key updates to Intellectual Property laws and legislations and exchanged useful information on the use of technology in the daily operations of the IP offices. There was also a discussion on initiatives and support provided by the IP Offices to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially during the COVID-19 situation.

There were also Consultation Meetings with the following Dialogue Partners - ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the European Union for Intellectual Property Rights (ARISE+ IPR); European Patent Office (EPO); Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the China National IP Administration (CNIPA).

The Meeting was updated by the ARISE +IPR on the status of the recently completed Annual Work Plans (AWPs) and was apprised of the key activities for the upcoming Annual Work Plan 4. The Project Leader from EPO updated the Meeting on the status of the ASEAN Common Guidelines on Patent Examination project while the JPO presented its draft of the 2021-2022 ASEAN-JPO Action Plan.  CNIPA provided the Meeting with the Mid-Term Report on the Implementation of the 2020-2021 ASEAN-China IP Cooperation Work Program.

The 63rd AWGIPC Meeting also witnessed the handover of the AWGIPC Chairmanship from Viet Nam to the Philippines. In his handover speech, DG Dinh Huu Phi of IP Viet Nam highlighted the key initiatives and deliverables achieved under its Chairmanship and reiterated the importance of cooperation and close coordination among the AMS in achieving the goals of the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025.

In his acceptance speech, DG Rowel Barba of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) shared with the Meeting the intended mechanism to enable the AWGIPC to achieve and complete its deliverables under the ASEAN IPR Action Plan 2016-2025. This is through Accelerating the completion of deliverables through a clear work plan; Intensifying collaboration and coordination among the AMS and dialogue partners as well as Modernizing the process through digital transformation. DG Barba also reminded the Meeting to AIM High and to make significant progress within and outside the region and called on fellow AMS to renew their commitment to the AWGIPC.