What can we do to support intellectual property rights?

The end product of human innovation is recognised through intellectual property rights, which are accorded to the individuals and groups who use their creative qualities to create a product that is unique and should not be reproduced or copied, especially for the purposes of sale. However, given the proliferation of fake goods on sale in the Asian region, we need to make a greater effort to support intellectual property rights, and this support is bolstered through International Intellectual Property Day on September 8 each year. Vientiane Times decided to find out how vendors and officials uphold intellectual property rights.


Mr Kwanchai Imjaiboon, a vendor in Bangkok, Thailand: I have been a vendor for nine years. Most of the goods I sell are the result of human ingenuity and produced by mechanical means, which means that the products are derived entirely from human intelligence. I would like governments worldwide to join forces to set up a huge event at which all producers sell their goods in the same place, while recognising intellectual property rights. This would provide them with a huge market and I’m sure it would mean that each country’s economy would be strengthened as a result.  

Ms Manyphone Thommasat, an official in Sisattanak district, Vientiane: I think that hand-made goods truly reflect human imagination and creativity. I buy them to show my support for the makers of these items, and I hope that other people also realise the importance of respect for intellectual property rights. If you make the effort to create something that’s unique and embodies only your own ideas, then you should have the right to protect it as being your own intellectual property. It is an item of intrinsic value and this value should not be debased, or other people allowed to profit by imitating the product you made. I also think we should publicise and improve the products made by certain countries and areas, such as the One District, One Product goods we make in Laos, and advertise them at international events.

Ms Bang-on Chanthalangsy, a vendor in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: Intellectual property reflects not only the physical effort involved in making something but represents everything you learned in the process of creating something unique. I would like the government to do more to protect intellectual property rights so that goods are more highly valued and their worth is respected.

Ms Souchitta Douangmy, a government official in Sisattanak district, Vientiane: Material things do not last, but I believe that human ingenuity is an individual attribute, and one’s efforts to make something of value that is unique should be recognised and preserved. If somebody has a unique idea, is intellectually talented and produces something that benefits other people, their ownership of this product or service should be upheld and their right to its ownership should not be infringed by illegal reproduction of the item in question.

Ms Noy Keopadith, a vendor in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: Intellectual strength is something very personal and a person’s or company’s right to exclusive ownership of something they have created using their own ideas is something that deserves more respect and protection under the law. In my opinion, intellectual property rights should be much better protected than they are at present. It’s important that vendors sell only goods that have been legally produced and do not infringe intellectual property rights in any way, which unfortunately is all too common in this region. I’d like the government to do more to publicise this by building an international market where producers from Laos and other countries could sell their legally and personally produced goods.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update September 12, 2018)

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