Intellectual Property and the Indonesia - Australia Free Trade Agreement


Key Points

  • Once implemented, the impending Australia Indonesia Free Trade Agreement (officially termed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or “IA-CEPA”) will mark an exciting new phase of Australia's economic relationship with Indonesia.
  • IP owners need to check their Indonesia strategy ahead of the impending free trade agreement and take steps to pro-actively protect their trade marks ahead of entering the Indonesian market
  • Intellectual Property (IP) owners looking to pursue opportunities in Indonesia need to be mindful of the nuances of Indonesian IP law to ensure they are best positioned for success.
  • In terms of trade mark law, the rights to a trade mark in Indonesia belong to the first party to register the trade mark.  If Indonesia is an important market for you, this makes it particularly important to proactively secure registered trade mark rights in Indonesia.


The impending IA-CEPA will provide Australian and Indonesian businesses an opportunity to expand and diversify the economic partnership.

Indonesia is the largest economy in South-East Asia. In 2018-19, total trade in goods and services between Australia and Indonesia was worth A$17.8 billion.

It has been estimated that by 2030, Indonesia will be the world's fifth-largest economy.

When it comes to intellectual property rights in Indonesia – BE PROACTIVE

Unlike Australia, Indonesia takes a ‘first-to-file’ approach to trade mark registration.  This means the first party to seek registration of a trade mark will generally acquire the registered rights, regardless of who is the first user of the trade mark in Indonesia.

This approach, taken in Indonesia, makes it easier for trade mark “squatters” or unscrupulous business partners to register a trade mark in Indonesia with a view to securing payment from the legitimate trade mark owner in exchange for transfer of the trade mark registration.

With the above in mind, businesses interested in the Indonesian market should protect their intellectual property rights in Indonesia as early as possible, provided such action is aligned with your overall commercial/business strategy.

Registering your trade mark in Indonesia

It’s important to seek advice from a suitably qualified trade mark attorney to ensure your particular circumstances are accounted for when it comes to seeking registered trade mark rights.

Indonesia is a member of the International Trade Mark Registration system (Madrid Protocol).  Therefore, owners of existing International Trade Mark Registrations can apply to extend their rights to Indonesia by way of a subsequent designation.  Your Australian trade mark attorney can arrange for this directly.

For those without an International Trade Mark Registration, you can file a trade mark application directly into Indonesia.  Your Australian trade mark attorney can arrange this through an associate firm in Indonesia.

Indonesia, like Australia, is a member of the Paris Convention.  Therefore, if you have filed your first application for registration of your trade mark in Australia and file a corresponding application in Indonesia within six months of the Australian filing date you can have your Indonesian application back dated to gain the benefits of your Australian filing date.

Additional information on IP rights, including patents and registered designs, in Indonesia, compiled by IP Australia, can be found HERE

Author:          Martin O’Sullivan FIPTA | MBA | BSc (Hons)