Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement is a key factor for promoting foreign trade and investment, as well as for boosting economic development.

In recognition of its importance, IPR was included in the 1995 Osaka Action Agenda - APEC's strategic roadmap for achieving free and open trade and investment in the region.

In 1996, the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) established an Intellectual Property Rights Get-Together (IPR-GT), The aim was to ensure adequate and effective protection, through legislative, administrative and enforcement mechanisms, of intellectual property rights in the Asia-Pacific region based on the principles of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and other related agreements. In 1997, the CTI made the IPR-GT an official APEC group with explicit terms of reference, and renamed it the Intellectual Property Rights Experts' Group (IPEG).

The IPEG implements a work program which aims to:

  • Deepen the dialogue on intellectual property policy.
  • Survey and exchange information on the current status of IPR protection and administrative systems.
  • Study measures for the effective enforcement of IPR.
  • Fully implement the TRIPS Agreement.
  • Facilitate technical cooperation to help economies implement TRIPS
Last page update: 16 June 2016

Current Activities

Guidebook for SMEs’ IP-Business Cycle

The “Guidebook for SMEs’ IP-business Cycle” guidebook is a compilation of advanced IP business support policies that have been proven effective in APEC and non-APEC economies.  The guidebook is an output of the “Initiative to Facilitate the Exploitation of IPRs and Innovation in SMEs”, which is proposed by Korea and Mexico.

The project aims to conduct surveys and analyze the elements of the IP support programs of governments. The Guidebook is expected to support SME entrepreneurs and government officials throughout APEC.  It also aims to provide SMEs with comprehensive reference materials on IP commercialization in order to help them convert their innovations into IPRs and contribute to their respective economies.

During the 38th IPEG Meeting held on February 17-18, 2014 in Ningbo, China, the Intellectual Property Expert Group discussed initiatives on a wide range of topics, such as raising public awareness on intellectual property rights (IPR); international cooperation and patent acquisition procedures; capacity building and anti-counterfeiting initiatives.

The IPEG Member Economies are also working closely with other APEC fora, such as the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), to exchange views and share their expertise in issues such as IPR Border Enforcement.  

Transfer of Appropriate Technologies for Sustainable Development

As part of the IPEG work program, Korea self-funded a project to help transfer appropriate technologies for sustainable development to Papua New Guinea and Philippines. For example, in Papua New Guinea, the project identified a simple water harvesting technology sourced from local materials and suited to shifting cultivation and small farm size. For more information, click here for the presentation on the project.


Graphic courtesy of Multilateral Affairs Division, Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).

The project aims to enhance the capacity of APEC economies to utilize Intellectual Property (IP) strategies tailored to developing economies and raise awareness on the importance of developing appropriate technologies through an APEC – Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) workshop.  The specific objectives of the project are to share information and experiences in relation to transfer of appropriate technologies among APEC economies including case studies in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines; to identify best practices of appropriate technologies to apply to APEC economies; and to evaluate possible areas of future cooperation between economies.


The IPEG has been especially active in providing IP capacity building programs over the past two to three years:

A seminar entitled Trading Ideas 2009: the Future of IP in the Asia Pacific was held in conjunction with the 29th IPEG meeting in Singapore on July 30-31, 2009. The event was aimed at building the capacity of small and medium enterprises to commercialize their IP.

A workshop on Effective Practices in the Border Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights was held on July 20-23, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The workshop demonstrated how economies can develop a successful border enforcement regime. Topics of discussion included TRIPS border measure obligations, public policy concerns, case studies, risk assessment and ex-officio actions, and the APEC Model Guidelines.

A Colloquium for Public Prosecutors and the Judiciary on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement was held on June 9-11, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In order to confront the global challenge of copyright piracy and counterfeiting, this colloquium provided an opportunity for public prosecutors and members of the judiciary to share their experiences in handling the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Participants focused on civil and criminal law enforcement systems and their utilization for the protection and enforcement of IPR. Discussions covered: critical IPR enforcement and adjudication issues such as public health and safety concerns; the evolving standards of IP enforcement; best practices and strategies to be utilized in the prosecution of organized crime and Internet-based copyright piracy and counterfeiting operations; deterrent sentencing; and alternative dispute resolution and judicial mediation of IPR disputes.

A three day workshop entitled Conducting Effective IPR Public Education and Awareness Campaigns for Small and Medium Enterprises was held in Melbourne, Australia on April 1-3, 2009. The objective was to equip APEC Member Economies with the skills and resources required to implement public education and awareness campaigns for SMEs which promote the identification, protection, commercialization and enforcement of IPR in the region.

In 2008, a seminar on Raising Awareness and Providing Policy Insights on Promoting Appropriate Access and Protection of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge in APEC Economies was held in Peru. The purpose of the seminar was to collect information and share experiences on the institutional and legal frameworks that support access to genetic resources and protection of traditional knowledge in the region, with a view to providing policy insights and promoting further debate and action in the APEC region. An APEC-funded study, Survey on Access to Genetic Resources and Protection of Traditional Knowledge in APEC Economies was also undertaken and as a follow up, a seminar on “Successful Experiences Implementing Tools for Traditional Knowledge Protection” was held in Lima, Peru, on 1-2 September 2011. The seminar provided an opportunity for APEC participants to share their experiences in the use of tools for traditional knowledge protection, building on previous work carried out by APEC in this area. Participants were also able to evaluate possible areas of future cooperation between economies in this area, taking into account their similarities and differences.

Korea presented “APEC Project for Training Intellectual Property Right Information Facilitators Using e-Learning Content – IP Xpedite” in 2009 which derived in an interesting training course tool entitled “IP Panorama” which was also translated into Thai. An online course based on IP Xpedite was held to foster basic IP awareness in APEC economies and a follow-up off-line course was held in Daejon, Korea in 2009. An advanced version, which includes new features, of the IP Xpedite program is currently being implemented. An online course was provided in July 2011, attended by 406 participants from 14 economies and a follow-up off-line course was held in Daejon, Korea in October 2011, attended by 24 participants from 14 economies. The IPEG completed an APEC-funded project in cooperation with the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the Korea Invention Promotion Association to further develop and disseminate the so-called "e-learning" program  Xpedite, which is aimed at increasing awareness and utilization of IP information. E-learning content is being developed based on these trainings.

Led by Chile, in 2009 the IPEG completed the publication, "APEC - IPEG Survey on Copyright Limitations & Exceptions Report on Copyright L&E in APEC Economies” which was submitted to member economies in hard copies. A follow-up seminar on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations” was held on 2-3 April, 2012, in Santiago, Chile. The Seminar among others highlighted the issue of limitations and exceptions in copyright, building on the key findings of the Report on Copyright L&E in APEC Economies to create a better understanding within APEC of how the issue of limitations and exceptions has been addressed across the different economies.

The Intellectual Property Explorer web-based tool was introduced in 2010 by Australia based on the APEC IP Public Education and Awareness project for Small and Medium Enterprises. This is a free, secure and simple on-line business tool aimed to assist SMEs to gain a better understanding of IP in their respective businesses and strategies to exploit their intangible assets at The project was jointly sponsored by Australia; Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

The APEC project on "Enhancing of APEC Capacity Building for Intellectual Property Protection and Utilization: Training for Trainers" was held in Sanya, China on November 30 to December 2, 2010. A total of 22 trainers from different APEC member economies attended the session. Participants exchanged knowledge of the different approaches and best practices of intellectual property training in APEC economies. As part of the project, a comparative analysis of the existing capacity building and IP training programs had also been developed. A follow-up workshop from Russia on “Training for Trainers on Intellectual Property Issues: Management and Commercialization” is currently being organized.

The "One Village, One Brand" seminar took place on 23-25 June, 2010 in Seoul, Korea. This seminar was intended to help train local farmers and producers to use intellectual property rights (IPR) systems to create successful branding strategies. Most farmers in developed economies already take advantage of IPR to maximise their products' value, but farmers in developing economies often do not have the capacity to brand their products. This capacity building seminar demonstrated how local farmers can create effective brand strategies and to protect their brands in an effort to position their product in the international market, increase their export income, and enhance their standard of living. A follow-up project on “One Village, One Brand project: Use of IP for SMEs in Developing Economies” is currently being implemented aiming to support local producers or SMEs of APEC member economies to establish and implement IP strategies for product branding. Five products were proposed by China; Chile; Mexico and Thailand. They participated for selection and the selected ones were “Bamboo Fiber Articles” from China and “FUEGOS packaged drinks” from Chile.  This project is due to be completed soon. Latest report on findings will be released before the end of 2012.

With the sponsorship of Japan, the IPEG completed a project to foster a more coherent approach under the APEC Cooperation Initiative on Patent Acquisition Procedures. A "one-stop" website has been set up ( to allow patent system users to download forms to be used when they request an IP Office to conduct an examination by referring to the results of previous searches and examinations carried out by another Office.

The IPEG also completed another project led by Japan - the "Intellectual Property Academy Collaborative Initiative (iPAC initiative)." This project has set up a web-based platform ( to facilitate effective information sharing and dissemination on IP academies (training, educational, or research organizations and institutions in the IP field).

In the margins of the 30th, 31st and 32nd IPEG Meetings, held in Hiroshima, Japan in February 2010; in Sendai, Japan in September 2010; and in March 2011, Washington, D.C., the United States, ABAC-IPEG Dialogues were organized with mutually agreed topics.

The 33th IPEG meeting was proceeded by a joint “ACT-IPEG Workshop on Investigating and Prosecution Corruption and Illicit Trade: Stemming the Flows of Counterfeits and Dismantling Illicit Networks”, organized in September 2011 in San Francisco, the United States, which was a follow-up workshop to one that was held in Washington D.C. on counterfeit medicines, held in March 2, 2011, and an IPEG Seminar “From Research to Reality: IP Commercialization and Policy” held in September, 2010 in Sendai, Japan.

APEC Effective Practices for Addressing Unauthorized Camcording

In 2011, APEC Ministers endorsed the APEC Effective Practices for Addressing Unauthorized Camcording. The effective practices assist affected economies to implement public awareness efforts; engage in cooperation with the private sector on capacity building; and adopt effective legal frameworks, when necessary, to address the challenges of unauthorized camcording in cinemas.

APEC Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative

In 2005, APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade endorsed the APEC Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative the goals of which are to:

  • Reduce counterfeit and pirated goods trade and combat transnational networks that produce and distribute these items. Actions for economies include establishing guidelines for authorities to inspect, suspend, seize and destroy goods and equipment used in counterfeit and pirated goods trade.
  • Promote the enacting of appropriate legal regimes and enforcement systems to curtail online piracy and to undermine the online trade in counterfeit goods. This includes the development of guidelines to prevent Internet sales of counterfeit goods.
  • Increase operational contact and the sharing of information between customs and law enforcement agencies to combat counterfeiting and piracy networks.
  • Increase Member Economies' ability to develop and manage effective anti-counterfeiting and piracy enforcement systems through education and training throughout the region.

To advance its mandate, the IPEG has established a series of IPR Model Guidelines. These include model guidelines to:

  • Reduce trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.
  • Protect against unauthorised copies.
  • Prevent the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet.
  • Provide effective public awareness campaigns on IPR.
  • Secure supply chains against counterfeit and pirated goods.
  • Strengthen IPR capacity building.

The IPEG continues to encourage APEC economies to put the model guidelines into practice and monitors the status of implementation. The IPEG is currently considering new initiatives derived therein.


Miguel Angel MARGÁIN (Mr)
Director General
Mexican Institute for Industrial Property
Periférico Sur # 3106, 9th Floor, Col Jardines del Pedregal, Mexico DF CP 01900
Ricardo Gallegos (Mr)
Head of Multilateral Affairs
Mexican Institute for Industrial Property
Jonghan Park (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat


18 Aug 2016 Intellectual Property Rights Experts’ Group (IPEG) Meeting Lima, Peru
17 Aug 2016 Workshop on Plant Variety Protection (IPEG 01 2016S) Lima, Peru
17 Aug 2016 Intellectual Property Rights Experts’ Group Plant Variety Protection: Case Studies from Developing Economies and Small and Medium Enterprises Lima, Peru
25 Feb 2016 Intellectual Property Rights Experts' Group Meeting Lima, Peru