President-elect Trump – what are the implications for IP in the Asia Pacific?

It’s early days but we can say a few things about probable implications for IP in the Asia Pacific region of the election of President-elect Trump:

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – and for that matter its Atlantic counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – are not going to happen any time soon, if at all. Mr Trump is opposed to these trade deals and so are likely senior IP advisors. One likely advisor, Orrin Hatch, indicated back in July that the TPP allowed Australia to “steal” medical patents, particularly in the field of biologics. Not a good start for TPP proponents though Mrs Clinton was no fan of TPP either.
  • On the other hand, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a possible trade deal between Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and countries including Australia and New Zealand having free trade agreements with ASEAN – might move forward, possibly at faster pace with less to work on. The United States is not a party to this Asia focused trade agreement and its political stance is unlikely to affect it.
  • That said, China which is a party to the RCEP, is likely to come in for some attention from the Trump administration. The Trump campaign website stated Mr Trump wishes to “protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold IP laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing US companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market”. One mooted possibility was imposition of additional tariffs to compensate for the perceived disadvantage to US companies.
  • IP Reviews by the US Trade Representative under Section 301 and Special 301 may well become more stringent and demands for reform, where required, louder. Time will tell.
  • The markets, including the Australian Stock Exchange, have seemed to see Mr Trump’s election as good for the banking sector.  Could this encourage still further investment in fintech? Possibly, yes. Again, time will tell.

Whatever lies ahead, the election of Mr Trump is going to have at least some implications for IP in the Asia Pacific region. Those implications will be the subject of future articles.