Toe Su Aung

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Toe Su Aung was the General Counsel at London-based BATMark Limited, heading up the Anti-Illicit Trade unit.1
BATMark is a British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary that deals with all aspects of trademarks owned by BAT.
Aung left BATMark in 2014 and co-founded public affairs consultancy Elipe.2

Career with the Tobacco Industry

Aung joined tobacco company Rothmans International in 1992, which was later acquired by BAT.34
She has led BAT’s Legal and Corporate Affairs teams on Intellectual Property (IP) protection and policy.15

International Chamber of Commerce (BASCAP)

Aung has played an active role in the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) group for several years.
The ICC and BASCAP were key “influencers” in the tobacco plain packaging debate in the United Kingdom, according to a series of leaked Philip Morris International (PMI) corporate documents.6 Also see: Plain Packaging in the UK: Tobacco Industry Built Alliances.
In 2017 and 2018 Aung was BASCAP’s “senior policy advisor”.789

International Trademark Association

Aung has also played an active role in the International Trademark Association (INTA), a global association that promotes and protects the rights of trademark owners.10 INTA has regularly lobbied governments across the world on tobacco issues, including anti-counterfeiting and plain packaging.11
Aung actively supported INTA for more than 15 years in its “advocacy work” with focus on initiatives in Asia, Latin America and Europe.1
She has served on INTA’s Board until 2013, as Vice President (2011),12 President Elect (2012),13 and President and Chair (2013).14
At the end of her Presidency, Aung linked plain packaging with IP Protection where she warned trademark practitioners against complacency. She stated:

“As trademark owners, we have to fight the battle with everyone else. We can’t say it’s just a copyright issue and stand back… The issue of plain packaging is one example. It’s about making sure people understand the impact on IP. It’s about balance and proportionality.”4

Actively Involved in Plain Packaging Debate

In December 2017, in her capacity as Director at Elipe, Aung was a key speaker at an event titled ‘Plain Packaging: Billions at Stake for Consumer Brands’, organised by Brand Finance, a London-based business strategy consultancy.15
The event launched Brand Finance’s ‘Plain Packaging 2017- Brand Impact Analysis’ report which analysed the “potential financial impact” of a policy like tobacco plain packaging on the food and alcohol sectors.16 Aung led the discussion on the impact of Plain Packaging.

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  1. abcInternational Trademark Association, Toe Su Aung, undated, accessed November 2018
  2. Elipe, Who We Are, undated, accessed November 2018
  3. Bloomberg, Toe Su Aung, undated, accessed December 2018
  4. abJ. Nurton, Interview – INTA President Toe Su Aung, Managing Intellectual Property, 6 May 2013, accessed November 2018
  5. C. McGregor, What’s Your IP Strategy?, The Legal 500, undated, accessed December 2018
  6. Philip Morris International, UK Corporate Affairs Update, February 2012. Powerpoint leaked to Action on Smoking and Health, 2013
  7. ICC, Transport of counterfeit goods to be discussed for first time at international maritime conference, 25 April 2017, accessed December 2018
  8. MSC speaks about the movement of fruits, Container News, 30 September 2018, accessed December 2018
  9. ‘FT Business Regulation Forum- Berlin’ on 30 November 2017, Global Compact Network Poland, 5 December 2017, accessed December 2018
  10. International Trademark Association, What is INTA, undated, accessed November 2018
  11. World Trademark Review, Supporting innovation and growth for the global trademark community, 29 March 2017, accessed November 2018
  12. INTA, 2011 Board of Directors 2011, archived 13 July 2011, accessed November 2018
  13. INTA, Board of Directors 2012, archived 2 September 2012, accessed December 2018
  14. INTA, Board of Directors 2013, archived 14 August 2013, accessed December 2018
  15. Brand Finance, Events, undated, accessed November 2018
  16. Brand Finance, Plain Packaging 2017, December 2017, accessed November 2018