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Industrialization of South-East Asia and Intellectual Properties -Analysis of domestic applications of patents in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam-


To industrialize the own country, the developments of new exporting goods is necessary to obtain foreign money for importing new technology. The new products must have their technological background upon their indigenous, traditional knowledges. I have researched the domestic patent and design applications for the purpose and obtained much more fruitful data for their situations of technology, ie, geographical, technological distributions and political problems.

Key words: South-East Asia, Patent Application

The modernization of any country needs the foreign money to import new technology and to maintain or make renewal of them.
To spend such money those countries must cultivate new and competition advantageous products to export and obtain foreign money continuously. Such products are only generated from traditional knowledges.
I, considering the patent systems have the role to promote domestic development of technology, obtained the lists of patent and design applications of South-East Asian countries and analyzed them. I know such analysis is very fruitful as I have a similar experience to analyze real patent data in editing the "Centennial History of Patent System of Japan" (1985) and analyzed more than 200,000 patents before the world war II. Such data are based upon real contents and give us very large information than formerly I supposed.
I bought the following data by a subsidy of Scientific Research Subsidy of the Ministry of Science and Education.
Here, I use a six large classification to compare the analyzed data (not the section number of IPC) in order to compare the data with those of Japan before 1903.
This time, I obtained the patent, utility model and design applications of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet-Nam.
The data are:

Indonesia (Patent and Design from 1983): 866
Malaysia (Patent from 1986 to 99): 315
Thailand (Patent and Design from 1987): 4453
Viet Nam (Patent, Utility Solution and Design from 1980): 2241

As the total: 7460

Each term of the data contains dates and numbers of application publication and grant, title of invention, name and province of inventor and applicant.
The data are classified with the field of technology, province and so on and calculated.

Fig. 1 Comparison of patent applications. (Japan till 1900: 0.2 times, Japan 1995: 0.0001 times)

I show the comparison of numbers of patent applications of those four countries. They are divided to 6 fields, ie. agriculture, machinery, textile, chemistry, electricity and daily materials. For Malaysia the data are granted numbers. The graph compares with the total data of Japan before 1903 when the first statistic data were published. Typically noticed is that all of South-East Asian countries lack the patent applications in the field of textile. The field of textile contains machinery and dying processes for textile and papers. This phenomenon indicates those countries having subcontract textile industriesfor exportation cannot develop the relating industries which need further highly advanced engineering such as of machine- tools. Contrarily to these countries, Japan in the latter half of 19th century had a reasonable numbers of patent which were similar to those of other fields.
Now we discuss on every country.

In Indonesia, 103 applications among 380 had no classifications. This ratio quickly became negligible after they introduced computer system. In the field of textile there are some embroidery and emboss and others are paper. They try to make paper from bamboo, oil palm, coconuts and other plants. They are very important indigenous cultivation. Such research are also applied to use fiber of beans to medical purposes.

No typical features are detected.

They have applications in all technological fields. This phenomenon shows Thailand may become a supplier of industrialized materials in those regions. But they can not make any advanced machines such as weaving machines and sewing machines for they have no machine-tool industry. Further the applications in daily commodities are very few and I think Thai's merchant direct their face not to their own country.
Checking detailed applications wee find they have some large numbers of applications in the fields of horticulture, food-treatment, making medicine, container(B65d), cement, water-treatment, key, water-tap, athletic tool and so on. The water tap is not made in Indonesia and Thailand has some higher quality of technology.
Contrary to the applications there are no signal which relates to the effect of the recent one village-one product movement.

According to the Patent Office about 50% of companies have their trade-mark and almost of products are for domestic purposes.
They have rather small number of patent applications and the technological level are not high but considerable attention is 27 applications for new variety of rice plant. It reaches about 10% of applications.
Design applications reached to 7000 recently and their designs attract foreign merchants.
They changed the patent system in 1995 and my analysis is total of grant in old law and application in new law.


Almost of Indonesian patent applicants dwell in Jakarta and East and West of Jawa and some applications were made by ones of Medan and Bali island. A noticeable is Brunei which is neighbour of Malaysia. This district may develop as an industrial region in future.

Total population is about 20 millions and number of patent application distribute in all of the country with nearly same density.
Kuala Lumpur and the province, Selangor have similar numbers of patent applications and Johore next.
A special province is Sarawak where 4 Chinese and 1 MalayAN have granted patents. The province is next to Kalimantan and the relation is considerable.

From 1979 to 2001 there are 738 published applications having the address of applicants and 516 of them dwelt in Bangkok. Other applicants almost dwell near Bangkok. It means there are no vitality of local provinces and weak competitions in the country.

There ae many provinces distributing well in the country which have some applicants of patent Distribution is very similar to Japan in the late 19th century.
Mainly the applicant distribute in southern Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City has highest positions of the number of applications.
When the infrastructure is advanced, the country easily leave South Korea behind. And make an industrial territory of high quality.


The system of intellectual property is not familiar now and the applicants are nearly limited to professors and some relating persons. Very few applications were done by members of large companies. The applicants are some kind of status.

Fig. 2 Regional distribution: Indonesia.

The largest matter in this country is a severe Malayan struggle against overseas Chinese.
As the applications of overseas Chinese are four times of those of Malayans, the government organs and universities make numbers of patent applications and try to control the industries of former English colonial age, ie. palm oil and rubber.
Here is a table of applicants

Overseas Chinese123Research Institutes31
Family (maybe Chinese)10Governmental Organs6
Total 171 144

Fig. 3 Regional distribution: Malaysia.

The largest matter is in their centralization to Bangkok. At present there have been not yet detected effects of one village one product movement.
We must consider the future applications from local provinces.

Fig. 4 Regional distribution: Thailand.

A very large difference to other South East Asian countries is anti-America and no overseas Chinese, no Koreans. All of them control the industries and markets of those countries but they can not make any influence in this country. Further the nation is very diligent. The southern part of this country will catch up well.

Fig. 5 Regional distribution: Viet-Nam.

Here I compare these data with Japan at the beginning of patent system from 1885 to 1900.

Fig. 6 Regional distribution: Japan total till 1900.

Number of patents (granted) in technological field was very few in the field of electricity but all fields had suitable patents, agriculture, machinery, textile and chemistry.
In the field of textile there was suitable number of patent. It is also said Japan established the engineering of textile independent of foreign technologies, especially of England.
To compare the number of population in 1903 and patent from 1885 to 1905 in every prefecture, we find they distribute very well.

Now I have the data what situations the industry and markets of south-east countries are and where the next develop come from the patent applications which reflect the activity of any country and any province.
Finally I show the Harschman Herfindahl Indices of patent and populations of those countries. The index takes a total of square of percentages of all shares. The larger number of the index is the worse condition.

2494 (granted)
design 6067
design 4092
JAPAN (1903)