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October 2, 2018

Asia IP Quotes Alec Wheatley on Current Standing of the RCEP

Asia IP

Asia IP’s August 2018 edition takes an in-depth look at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), focusing on where it stands now and its projected trajectory. The feature article, “Mission: Impossible – The RCEP Ghost Protocol,” includes extensive insights from Alec Wheatley, a consultant in the Tilleke & Gibbins intellectual property team in Bangkok.

In discussing the expansive scope of the RCEP—which includes the ten member countries of ASEAN and six of their major trading partners (Australia, China, India, New Zealand, and South Korea)—Alec is quoted as saying “The economies of [China and India] are projected to grow considerably over the coming decades, meaning that any Free Trade Area that includes them is likely to have a strong effect on global trade.” Drawing from this perspective, if the RCEP comes into effect, it would appear to be poised to have a major influence on international trade.

However, there may be limits to the RCEP’s potential. “The closed-door nature of the RCEP negotiations means that what is known about the IP provisions of the RCEP is limited to leaked text, and so while there are several important distinctions that may be drawn between the RCEP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), any analysis may be subject to change once the agreement is finalized,” Alec said.

The article also cites Alec’s comments on some major differences between the RCEP and the TPP, specifically noting the following:

  • Copyright Term. The RCEP maintains the Berne Convention minimum requirement to protect copyright for the life of the author plus 50 years, while the TPP pushes to extend the term to the life of the author plus 70 years.
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) Liability. The RCEP has similar ISP liability provisions to the TPP but is much simpler and more flexible in regard to implementation.
  • Digital Rights Management. The RCEP differs from the TPP in that it does not prevent circumvention of Digital Rights Management if permitted by a member country’s laws.
  • Broadcasters’ Rights. The RCEP provides potential new avenues for broadcasters to prevent retransmission of their content.
  • Differential Treatment. Unlike the TPP, the RCEP recognizes that less-developed countries may require less rigorous standards, which is an important acknowledgement given the different levels of development of the countries involved.

To read the full publication, please visit the Asia IP website (subscription required).

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