Brunei IP Development

Brunei (full name: Negara Brunei Darussalam), also known as Brunei Islamic Monarchy, is a country of monarchy. In 1888, it became a British protectorate; in 1941, it was occupied by Japan; in 1946, it returned to UK’s control; on January 1, 1984, it gained complete independence. Brunei is not only a member of WTO and WIPO, but also a founding member of TPP.
The State Administration of Legal and Political Affairs is responsible for the management of IP affairs in Brunei, under which the Office of Patent Registration and Office of Trademark Registration handle and approve the patent and trademark registration applications and manage patent and trademark affairs respectively.
Patent and Industrial Design
The Patent Decree and the Patent Rule of Brunei that were formulated separately in 2011 and 2012 were put into effect on January 1, 2012. The Patent Decree replaces the former patent re-registration system established by Singapore, Malaysia, UK and European Patent Office with an independent patent system.
In Brunei, a patent has to be novel, original and have industrial uses before being protected. The principle of priority on Paris Convention applies to Brunei. A licensed patent is valid for 20 years after the application date. The certificate of authorization will be issued upon the patent grant. The content and date of this certificate will be published on the Patent Journal. Practical innovations are not applicable in Brunei.
The Industrial Design Emergency Decree that was effective on May 1, 2000 specifies that industrial design is the property of shape, structure, pattern or decoration used on any product by the way of Industrial production. This property is eye-catching and visually identifiable. Since October 1, 2012, the Patent Registration Office (PRO) of Brunei has replaced Legal Department to serve as Brunei’s Industrial Design Registration Office.
In Brunei, appearance design has to present three indications: (1) novelty: hasn’t been published ever before; (2) product appearance must be in a physical form; (3) publication or use of this design will not violate public order or morality. A registered appearance design is valid for 5 years from the application date and can be renewed twice with 5 years each time, for which relevant renewal expense has to be paid.
The current Trademark Law of Brunei was modified in 2000 and implemented on June 1,2000, which stipulates in detail legal system of registered trademarks, protection of well-known trademarks, administrative management of trademarks and legal proceedings in relation to imported infringing commodities. A trademark refers to the identifiable and graphical mark that can be used to differentiate someone’s commodity or service from the commodity or service of the other. Trademarks are mainly composed of commodity trademarks, service trademarks, certification trademarks, three-dimensional trademarks and color trademarks. A registered trademark is valid for 10 years from the application date and can be renewed.
In Brunei, a registered trademark has to be novel and unique, that is, no same or similar trademark that can lead to confusion has been applied in the same category of commodities. A shape, color or package can be registered as a trademark. In Brunei, applications can be made for multiple categories, individual categories or comprehensive categories. Under the previous law, a registered trademark is valid for 7 years and can be renewed for another 7 years. Under the current law, a trademark that is renewed on and after June 1, 2000 is effective for 10 years, while a trademark that is renewed before June 1, 2000 is still effective for 14 years. Each application for trademark registration must be submitted to Brunei Trademark Office. Those trademarks being reviewed and approved will be published in the Gazette of the Trademark Office. Any third party may lodge a protest within 3 months after the publication in the Gazette.
The Copyright Law of Brunei was formulated in 1999, under which the copyright owner has the right of authorship, the right of integrity and the right to forbid the use of the author name on works not created by the author or on a distorted version of his work (namely the right to keep confidential of false and specific photos and films). In Brunei, the term of copyright protection covers the whole life of the author and 20 years after his death. The term of protection of the right of authorship, the right of integrity and the right to keep confidential of specific photos and films is consistent with that of the property right of works. Any violation against copyright constituting a crime may be fined and imprisoned.

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