ASEAN member states will be better equipped to educate their respective business communities on intellectual property management following the release this month of a practical Intellectual Property (IP) public education and awareness strategy.

According to ASEAN Secretariat's recent press release, the development of the strategy is part of an ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Work Programme (ECWP) project which aims to implement a sustained and strategic approach to IP public education and awareness in the region.

Chairman of the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation, Tan Yih San, said IP was gaining importance amongst the thriving ASEAN economies. IP has assisted many business owners as well as creators in the ASEAN region to grow and seek out new markets and opportunities internationally.

He said the joint initiative between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand is a knowledge multiplier to benefit businesses, innovators and creators in the regional bloc. Through this initiative, businesses, innovators and creators in ASEAN will be able to learn more about IP protection, management and commercialisation with useful toolkits.

An IP Educators’ Community of Practice has also been set up - following a workshop and meeting in May 2013 in Thailand - to enable communications practitioners to support one another and share practical best practices to IP public education and awareness, the statement read.

The AANZFTA Joint Committee Lead for Australia , Michael Mugliston, said that IP-savvy businesses were already taking advantage of the commercial and trade opportunities opened up by the creation of the AANZFTA.

“Cooperation between ASEAN, Australia and New Zeland through this project means that we can ensure more regional businesses are focusing on their IP as part of their regional exporting plans,” Mugliston said.

AANZFTA is the most comprehensive trade agreement that ASEAN has negotiated to date. The ECWP helps to implement the AANZFTA and is funded under the five-year AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme.-VNA