本 期 提 要HEADLINES
法 規 報 導
The Cabinet-level Council for
Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) has targeted passage of the
Electronic Signature Law as one of its priorities this legislative session.
The law is part of the effort to promote Taiwan as global operations center.
The Legislative Yuan is currently considering five rival versions of the
Electronic Signature Law. The CEPD has studied the five versions and
recommended that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Research,
Development and Evaluation Commission reach a consensus with industry and
scholars on how certification agencies should be governed. A consensus is
expected to speed approval of the law by the end of December 2000.
Measures and Enforcement
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently announced the results of the Computer Software Export Monitoring System (EMS) for 1999. The inspection centers examined a total of 13,535 documents and conducted on-site inspections of 7,028 exports. Samples were taken in 78 cases. Copyright owners were notified of suspected infringement in 40 cases. In addition, Customs referred 71 cases to inspection centers and informed copyright owners in four cases. Customs discovered six suspected cases of copyright infringement.
The EMS was implemented in November 1992 in order to prevent exports of computer software-related products that infringe intellectual property rights. The system was revised on 10 July 1998. The EMS uses border control measures to protect software copyrights. The Institute for Information Industry (III) was designated as the agency-in-charge where copyright owners could record software copyrights. The III established software inspection centers at Customs bureaus to inspect 16 types of products containing software, including computers, printers, and electronic games. The inspection centers compare exports with software record with III and notify copyright owners if cases are discovered which are suspected of infringing copyrights.
Under the EMS, companies suspected of exporting products containing computer software that infringe intellectual property rights are place on an exporter watch list. Suspected cases of infringement are referred the Anti-Counterfeiting Committee for investigation. Cases of suspected forgery of documents are referred to district court prosecutors. The Board of Foreign Trade investigates possible violations of the Trade Law and may impose fines, suspend an exporter's right to export of goods, and revoke a firm's export and import registration. Firms may not apply for reinstatement for an export and import registration for two years after the date of revocation of a registration, or for two years from a suspension which leads to a revocation.
(The information for this report was
taken from a report on the IPO's website, located at www.moeaipo.gov.tw/p2.htm.)
According to statistics released by the Anti-Counterfeiting Committee (ACC) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the ACC in August 2000 investigated 47 new trademark and place-of-origin cases involving the export of goods. During this month, 43 cases were handled by the ACC internally and 19 were referred to the Board of Foreign Trade for administrative action. In addition, of the counterfeit cases that were brought to the attention of the ACC by private companies, 60 were handled by the ACC and 52 were referred to other administrative agencies.
The ACC coordinated raids with
prosecutors, police, and investigators in 33 counterfeit trademark raids
during August 2000. The raids resulted in the seizure of counterfeit goods
worth NT$13,184,842. The ACC also participated in two meetings related to
counterfeit raids and intellectual property during August 2000.
In August 2000, the National Police
Administration handled IPR-related investigations resulting in the referral
of 355 cases involving 416 defendants to district court prosecutors on
suspicion of infringement. Of these 355 cases, 89 defendants in 69 cases
were suspected of trademark infringement, 15 defendants in 11 cases were
suspected of patent infringement, and 312 defendants in 275 cases were
suspected of copyright infringement. Ten defendants in six copyright cases
were suspected of infringing U.S.-owned intellectual property. The total
street value of counterfeit products seized during the investigations was
estimated to be NT$126,640,653.
In August 2000, the Government Information Office (GIO) and local government agencies jointly made 95 investigations of MTV parlors. (Sixty-three of these investigations were made after 8 p.m.) They also made 217 investigations of video rental shops and 48 investigations of other business establishments. These investigations resulted in the seizure of 290 illegal videotapes and 755 illegal laser disks. Five cases were referred to district court prosecutors on suspicion of violating copyrights and public morals. Twenty-six cases were subject to administrative sanctions under the Broadcasting and Television Law.
In addition, one case was referred
by the Foundation for the Protection of Film and Video Works and the Film
Industry Anti-Piracy Working Committee to prosecutors on suspicion of
copyright infringement on the basis of information supplied by the GIO.
In August 2000, the Government Information Office (GIO) and local government agencies jointly investigated 144 cable TV operators. (Twenty-four of these investigations were made after 8 p.m.) The investigations included 45 investigations of primary broadcast facilities and 99 investigations of secondary broadcast facilities. The 99 investigations of secondary broadcast facilities resulted in 5 cases of suspected violations of programming regulations and 20 cases of suspected violations of advertising regulations.
The GIO also handled 330 cases of
consumer complaints alleging violations by cable TV operators in August
2000. This total included 14 programming complaints, 35 advertising
complaints, 65 subscription fee cases, and 216 right protection cases.
From July through September 2000, the Foundation for the Protection of Film and Video Works (FVWP) reviewed ten 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 two of these cases failed to obtain properly authorization from the copyright holders to import the works into Taiwan.
In addition, the FVWP conducted 138 investigations of video rental stores, MTV parlors, and laser disk exchange centers during this period. The FVWP also carried out 88 raids with the assistance of the Government Information Office and related agencies. These raids resulted in the seizure of 11,816 video cassettes, laser disks, VCDs and DVDs.
Finally, in the third quarter of
2000 the FVWP represented member companies of the Motion Picture Association
of America in 55 lawsuits filed in Taiwan.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Justice, of 246 defendants in copyright, trademark, and patent infringement cases in August 2000, 156 persons were sentenced to jail terms, received detention, or were fined. Of the defendants sentenced to jail terms, 90 persons were sentenced to less than six months. Of these 90 persons, 5 were convicted of infringing U.S.-owned intellectual property. Nine persons were sentenced to no less than six months but no more than one year, of which 1 was convicted of infringing U.S.-owned intellectual property. Twenty-six persons were sentenced to no less than one year but no more than two years, of which 1 was convicted of infringing U.S.-owned intellectual property. One person was sentenced to no less than two years but no more than three years. Eighteen persons received detention.