One of the Indonesian government’s ways of protecting its traditional Indonesian heritage takes place in the field of batik textiles. One goal is to establish the world’s perception that Javanese batik-patterned textile, which includes the traditional practice of dying cloth through wax-resist methods, originates from Indonesia. Thus, the Indonesian government has nominated Javanese batik-patterned textile to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s list of intangible cultural heritage. The nomination will be officially listed in May 2009. In furtherance of this nomination, the government now issues a certification mark, called “Batikmark”, through its Department of Industry (Departemen Perindustrian RI) that can be applied to properly certified Indonesian batik products.
“Batikmark” was introduced by the Indonesian Department of Industry through its Ministerial Decree (Peraturan Menteri Perindustrian RI) No. 74/M- IND/PER/9/2007. The government’s step of establishing a regulatory framework for registration and protection of Batik-pattern textile using a mark is not a new step. Similar practice has already been acknowledged by international treaties and is practiced by the states. Under article 7bis(2) of the Paris Convention, each country is entitled to be the judge of the particular conditions under which a collective mark should be protected. This article in the Paris Convention is the force that drives India’s “SILK MARK” collective mark. In a similar manner, “WOOLMARK” is a world-renown private certification mark.
With “Batikmark”, Indonesia somewhat combines the concepts of collective and certification marks. Under the Indonesian Ministerial Decree, only batik manufacturers who already sell their products under a registered trademark can obtain a “Batikmark” certification. The manufacturer’s products also must pass a series of tests conducted by the National Standardization Agency (Badan Standardisasi Nasional). Products that pass their tests are considered to conform to the “Indonesian National Standard” (Standar Nasional Indonesia). The manufacturer receives a certification upon passing the tests. If the manufacturer is eligible, they can then file a written request, attached with its company profile, to the head of the Yogyakarta Grand Handicraft and Batik House (Balai Besar Kerajinan dan Batik). Yogyakarta Grand Handicraft and Batik House is an institution authorized by the Ministerial Decree to perform additional tests on the batik-patterned textile. The Batik Institution will then perform tests in their laboratories. The aim of the tests is to assure that the textile meets the certification standards of the batik-patterned textile. The qualifications include reviewing: the materials applied to the textile, the pattern, the dyeing technique, and the textile quality. If the batik-patterned textiles pass the tests then the manufacturer will be eligible to obtain a numbered “Batikmark” certification. This certification is valid for three years and can be renewed. The certification is in the form of a label printed “Batik Indonesia” that is placed in every single product of batik-patterned textile that has been certified. This label has been copyrighted in the Indonesian Copyright Office.
The first purpose of having “Batikmark” certification is to assert Javanese batik-patterned textile as an Indonesian traditional cultural heritage. Further, the “Batikmark” certification also serves as a quality assurance label for batik- patterned textile that originates from Indonesia. This helps protect consumers of Javanese batik-patterned textiles by assuring that the consumers are indeed purchasing an original Indonesian Javanese-batik patterned textile that has been certified by an authorized national institution. Lastly, “Batikmark” certification is meant to face competition of other similar or almost identical products on the market and to overcome the threat of unauthorized copying of Indonesian Javanese batik-patterned textile by foreign textile manufacturers. These practices have been ongoing, as many Asian and African countries have been copying Indonesian batik patterns.
Manufacturers who obtain a “Batikmark” certification automatically get protection in Indonesia but not necessarily in other countries. The manufacturers must apply for intellectual property rights in another country in order to secure greater protection. These rights can be in a form of design patents, copyrights, and/or trademarks. Even though a batik-patterned textile has been granted certification by the Indonesian government, the manufacturer must independently secure intellectual property protection in their foreign countries of interest. Until the Indonesian government globalizes their portfolio of intellectual property protection for batik textiles and other products of cultural heritage, the manufacturer’s international protection will generally be limited to their own protection efforts.
A word, name, symbol, device or any combination of these can be approved as a trademark as long as they are used to identify and distinguish a manufacturer’s goods from those manufactured or sold by others; it is an indicator of the source of the goods. Thus, a trademark is defined by three important elements: (1) the actual word, symbol or device, (2) the use of the symbol as a mark on goods and services, and (3) the ability of the mark to identify and distinguish a source of goods and/or services. A “Batikmark” trademark certification from the Indonesian government guarantees that the product has certain traits that make it different from other batik-patterns. It assures the uniqueness of the textile, the pattern, the dyeing technique, and the textile quality. These traits establish the identity of the product and distinguish them from other batik-patterned textiles. Thus, a trademark provides protection for consumers from confusion as to the source and quality of a manufactured object.