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  • Matthew Willis

IBI supports intellectual property management in Laos

Since early 2022, the IBI team implementing the USAID Laos Business Environment (LBE) Activity has recognized the key role of intellectual property (IP) for emerging businesses. Strong IP rights allow SMEs to maintain and protect the unique features of their products, enhancing their competitiveness in the market. As Lao PDR’s economy grows and more companies begin conducting commercial activities, it has become increasingly important for businesses to be aware of their IP rights, and for government counterparts to provide high-quality IP management services.

Many Lao SMEs are not fully aware of the benefits of IP registration during product development; meanwhile, the Department of Intellectual Property has long relied upon handwritten applications and files. Therefore, the IBI team has taken an inclusive approach to IP development, working with public and private sector partners to increase knowledge, build the capacity of government officials to provide up-to-date information on policies and procedures, and modernize application processes. Since last year, IBI’s team implementing LBE has supported the following:

  • A series of workshops in both Vientiane and Champasak to provide information on the different types of IP and registration procedures. The sessions were attended by over 190 participants, including both SME representatives and government officials.

  • The installation of a new rack server at the Department of Intellectual Property’s headquarters in Vientiane, as well as a new E-Filing Service. The improved server will allow the Department to process and store IP applications electronically, as well as keep their website updated with high-quality information on applicable policies and procedures.

  • The drafting of new legislation which outlines the authority of IP registration agents, as well as remedies for IP disputes.

A screenshot of a webpage written in the Lao language.
The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) website.

These activities are supporting SMEs to develop new products with full confidence in their intellectual property rights, a crucial part of their businesses as they seek to strengthen linkages with regional and global markets.

LBE is a six-year activity to improve the operating environment for private sector firms, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), empowering them to make a greater contribution to the Laos’ economic growth. Since its inception in 2019, the Activity has supported a range of private and public sector stakeholders to enhance product standards, build operational capacity, leverage emerging technologies, and improve the government of Lao PDR’s facilitation of a market economy.



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