Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. At the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast and Thailand to the west and southwest.

The Covid-19 induced economic downturn has affected Lao PDR through multiple channels including tourism, trade and investment, commodity prices, exchange rates and lower remittances. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic increases the fiscal deficit in 2020 and will continuously affect in 2021 and generate higher debt service obligations.

Recently, on September 20, 2021, the World Intellectual Property Organization has published “Global Innovation Index 2021”, which enumerates the global innovation ranking of 132 economies. As observed in the report, despite the low ranks of Laos, the trend line over a year gives an expectation of innovation in the young and potential economy. The earlier protection of intellectual property rights in lower middle-income group economies, the cheaper expense investors put an investment to the future value.

The new Law on Intellectual Property of Laos was implemented from 9 June 2018. The New IP Law replaces the Law on Intellectual Property No. 01/NA, dated December 20, 2011. The IP Law and the before version thereof are based on WIPO model law and the requirements of the Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.

Laos is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 1995. They joined in Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1998, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 2006 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation (AWGIPC) in 1997. Besides, they also is a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) since 2013.

Laos applies the first-to-file principle, meaning that priority is determined by whoever files the application first, or if priority is claimed, the earliest priority date. An application may contain a declaration claiming priority based on one or more earlier national, regional, or international applications filed by the applicant, either in Laos or in another country, which is a party to the Paris Convention (or another international treaty to which Laos is a signatory).

Lao People’s Democratic Republic is member of both Paris Convention and The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Therefore, the foreign patent application can be filed under both corresponding routes.