本 期 提 要HEADLINES
1.Requirement for Patent Infringement Verification Report Ruled Unconstitutional
On 19 May 2000, the Council of Grand Justices issued an interpretation holding unconstitutional the requirement of Article 131 of the Patent Law that patentees instituting complaints must submit infringement verification reports. The interpretation is as follows:
Article 16 of the Constitution provides people with the right of instituting legal proceedings. The scope of this guaranteed right includes the right of people to seek redress with courts when their rights are infringed. How to exercise their right, however, shall be stipulated in law. The law imposes reasonable restrictions on public and private prosecutions in order to prevent frivolous lawsuits which harm the liberties of others, to prevent the waste of limited judicial resources. These restrictions must conform to the principle of proportionality in Article 23 of the Constitution.
Paragraphs 2-4 of Article 131 of the Patent Law as amended on 21 January 1994 provides "In instituting a complaint against the offenses specified in Articles 123 through 126, the patentee shall submit along with his complaint the infringement verification report and the written notice given by the patentee to the infringer requesting discontinuation of the infringement. In the absence of the documents set forth in the preceding Paragraph, the complaint filed shall be deemed not in accordance with the law. The Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan shall coordinate with each other in appointing professional infringement verification agencies."
According to these provisions, the harmed party must submit an infringement verification report in order to file a complaint. This is an unnecessary restriction on the right of instituting legal proceedings and violates the abovementioned principle of proportionality. From the date of the announcement of this interpretation, the provisions of Paragraph 2 and 3 of Article 131 of the Patent Law shall not be applicable which require an infringement verification report be submitted, and that complaints be deemed not in accordance with the law if infringement verification reports are not submitted.
2.Results of Customs Inspections in the First Quarter of 2000
The following are the results of Customs enforcement of IPR inspection systems from January through March 2000:
a. Export Inspections
1. Computer Software Export Management System:
2. Compact Disc Export Inspection System:
3.Trademark Export Inspection System:
b. Inspection System for Parallel Imports of Audio-Visual Works:
1. Imports of U.S. audio works:
2. Imports of movies, videotapes, and laser discs of major U.S. studios:
3.Government Information Office Uncovers 20 Illegal Cable TV Stations in March 2000
In March 2000, the GIO and county and city agencies jointly investigated 187 cable TV operators (channel 4s). (Fifty-five of these investigations were made after 8 p.m.) The investigations included 57 investigations of primary broadcast facilities and 130 investigations of secondary broadcast facilities. One primary broadcast facility was suspected of violating public morals. Five secondary broadcast facilities and 14 secondary broadcast facilities were suspected of violating programming and advertising regulations respectively.
The GIO also handled 306 cases of consumer complaints alleging violations by cable TV operators This total included 28 programming cases; 34 advertising cases, 63 subscription fee cases, and 180 copyright cases.
4.Results of Work by the Foundation for the Protection of Film and Video Works in the First Quarter of 2000
From January through March 2000, the Foundation for the Protection of Film and Video Works (FVWP) reviewed 7 cases of suspected parallel importation of copyrighted audio-visual works referred to the FVWP by Customs. The FVWP's opinion was that the importers in none of these cases failed to obtain properly authorization from the copyright holders to import the works into Taiwan.
In addition, the FVWP conducted 239 investigations of video rental stores, MTV parlors, laser disc exchange centers, and cable television stations during this period. The FVWP also carried out 108 raids with the assistance of the Government Information Office and other related agencies. These raids resulted in the seizure of 72,351 video cassettes, laser discs, VCDs and DVDs.
Finally, in the first quarter of 2000 the FVWP represented member companies of the Motion sPicture Association of America in 16 lawsuits filed in Taiwan.