The Protection Of Indonesian Native Products is Weak 

By: Dr. Iman Sjahputra, SH, Sp.N,LL.M*)

Beside is still being called as the hijacker country, it is not a new if Indonesia is often loss its rights on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The lost of the IPR ownership is caused by the lack of attention and awareness from the “stake holder” to give a legal protection.  Ironically when Indonesia is labeled as a hijacker country, at the same time it is also often lost its ownership on the IPR because it is already “claimed” by other country or nation.

Regarding the losing of the right ownership of Indonesian’s IPR have been publicized by the media and it is understood by the community.  For example, the claim of the ownership for “Rasa Sayange” song by Malaysia whereas Indonesia cannot do anything to prove otherwise.  The same happened for the claims on the dancing and batik arts.  Including, when Indonesia can only “dazed” when the IPR ownership of “tahu” (tofu) and “tempe” (fermented soy bean) was claimed by other nation because such innovation were registered earlier by Japan.  In fact we know that “tempe” and “tahu” which are made from soybean are the original products of Indonesia and the local foods of the people in this country.

The Question is, why are we so weak in giving the protection on IPR? Do we concern? Of course we are! Because the pierce in giving the protection for IPR which finally will loose the ownership right on IPR seems to continue.

For example the legal protection on the production of “Beras Adan”. “Beras Adan” in fact originally comes from the local rice of East Kalimantan now its IPR ownership is claimed by Malaysia under the name of “Bario” rice.  In fact geographically indicated “Beras Adan” rice can only grow in Krayan Area, Malinau, East Kalimantan!

Why is this happened? It is because Indonesia, especially the government, is not soon responsive to give the legal protection on the original products which are spreading all over the Indonesian region.

Every original regional food products should legally be protected so that the foreign countries cannot easily claim the IPR ownership.  In the case of IPR ownership for “Beras Adan”, it is clear that the regional administration is not so responsive to give the legal protection by registering “Beras Adan” in accordance to its geographic indication which is originally from East Kalimantan because “Beras Adan” comes from rice plant that can only grow in East Kalimantan area.

IPR Regime.

Legally, the geographic indication falls into the legal regime of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in which regulating about the products that essentially influenced by its original place.  But what we can say, Indonesia is not only losing its IPR rights on the food products and arts, we even lost an island and finally it belongs to another country’s ownership, isn’t it? The best that we can do is to criticize only and we cannot do further so much!  Indeed, our weakness is often giving a chance to other countries to do as they are pleased.

In fact, in other country, the protection on the food products with regional characteristics of their country has been grown as from the 14th century.  In France, the “Roquefort” cheese product has been registered as the geographic indication from 14th century. Such awareness was started when the France noble, Charlemagne, instructed the cheese manufacture in Requefort village to deliver their cheese product to his palace in Air la Chapelle for the year end celebration.  Such order, in turn, had made the cheese made by the community of Requefort village even more popular. Because of the quality and the typical characteristic taste of the cheese then the King gave the appreciation.  The appreciation of Royal Charter by King Charles VI and the Requefort village was appointed as the only village that can produce cheese. Further in the year 1863 the “Roquefort” cheese received a legal protection in the form of a simple trademark certificate.

If in the western the products protection based on geographic indication had been started from the 14th century, then what about in Indonesia? We actually do not necessarily to look at other country’s history to give product protection on the original product of the regional community.   But, it is so ironic if in this 21st century when Indonesia has got laws to protect the original product of the community of a region is still often “get stolen“ and at the end it is recognized and it is owned by other country.


The legal protection of geographic indication product has been owned by Indonesia i.e. the Law No. 15 Year 2001.  In this law, especially in the Article 56 paragraph 2 it is stipulated that the applicant of the geographic indication registration can be done by an institution. Refers to an institution is an institute which is representing the regional community where the said goods/products are originally come from, and an institute which is given the authority to do such thing, and also the consumer group of the related goods.

In fact under such regulation we do not need to loss our IPR rights on a product based on the geographic indication, aren’t we?  Because there is no further reason to excuse us from carelessly give protection on the geographic indication products which are spread all over our country’s region.  At least, there is no further excuse for the regional administration in giving the legal protection for the regional community special products.  The regional administration and the community are allowed to directly register their regional characteristic products, such as coffee, tea or other food products to the Directorate of Trademark, Directorate General of the Intellectual Property Rights, Department of Law and Human Rights.                

We cannot be continuously cheated by other nations or countries.  So, it is not even a regional characteristic product, each island and every member of the societies of this country shall be protected so our sovereignty will be respected by other nations. Hopefully!

* The writer is an advocate who is handling the Copyright, Trademark and Patent cases.