IPO Review of Sanctions under Copyright Law
Should there be revisions to criminal sanctions laid down by the Copyright Law, including the seriousness of violations, and the principle of prosecution only being instituted by a complainant? On April 12, 2001 the Intellectual Property Office
(IPO) of the MOEA held a conference on the "Appropriateness of Sanctions under the Copyright Law", and invited the views of academics and experts. At the close of the confere
nce, the deputy head of the IPO, Mr Tsai HuiYen concluded that there is no ready answer to this question, and that the IPO will continue to consider the opinions expressed by participants of the conference, in deciding how to ensure the Copyright Law will be reasonable and systematic. Below is an outline of background to the conference:
(a) In the protection of copyright, international conventions and treaties merely require that member nations adopt effective sanctions that will ensure protection of copyright interests. It is up to the domestic laws of member nations to determine the nature and extent of these sanctions. In other words, it is left to the legislative policy of each nation to decide how sanctions will stop copyright infringement, how serious these sanctions should be, and whether prosecution should be instituted only by a complainant.
(b) Under the present Taiwanese Copyright Law, prosecution of a general case of infringement can only be instituted by a complainant, and is punishable by imprisonment for more than 6 months but less than 5 years, and/or a fine not exceeding NT$300,000. However, it is not necessary for prosecution of repeat offenders to be instituted by a complainant, and these offences are punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year but less than 7 years, and/or a fine not exceeding NT$450,000.
(c) From the point of view of a copyright owner, it is naturally desirable for sentences to be made harsher, and even to make it completely unnecessary for prosecutions to be
complainantinstituted. Nonetheless, copyright is after all in the nature of a private right, and its protection requires the rightful owner to make a claim of his/her own accord. It is also important to balance the seriousness of the offence against the punishment, so as to be consistent with sanctions applicable to other offences.
(d) In recent years, the Judicial Yuan and the Ministry of Justice have repeatedly proposed for intellectual property right infringement to be decriminalized. There is also much controversy concerning whether the degree of harshness of criminal sanctions under the present Copyright Law is appropriate. Regarding the requirement for complainantinstituted prosecution, the Ministry of Justice consistently emphasized that a complaint is an essential element in prosecution, but not in investigation. Irrespective of whether copyright infringement is committed by a repeat offender, the prosecutor may initiate an investigation of his/her own accord, and the infringed party must still file an official complaint.
(e) Copyright is essentially a private right, and a review of copyright laws of other countries shows that although infringement of copyright is punishable by criminal sanctions, in principle prosecution is instituted generally only by complaint. In addition, copyright infringement disputes overseas are generally resolved by civil actions. In contrast, copyright owners in Taiwan tend more to rely on criminal prosecutions, as a means of being awarded civil damages.
Transmission of Musical Works via the Internet "Public Broadcast"?
Does the "public broadcast" provisions of the current Copyright Law apply to transmission of musical works via the Internet? According to the explanatory letter issued by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the MOEA on May 23, 2001 (ref. 2001ChiChu09000046100), the provision of SubPar. 7, Par. 1, Article 3 of the Copyright Law, and the "other equipment" referred to in that article, were part of the 1992 enactment. At the time the Internet was not so prevalent, and the original legislative intention did not include use of the Internet. Therefore, transmission via the Internet is a novel use that only took place when the Internet became popular, and does not fall within the scope of "public broadcast" under the aforementioned article. The IPO has tabled questions concerning transmissions via the Internet as part of its project to produce draft amendments to "public transmission rights" under the Copyright Law. (A second draft of these amendments was finalized on May 4, 2001, and can be found on the IPO website at
IPO Establishes "Patent Coordination Team"
In response to the demands of its work, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) established on June 11, 2001 the "Patent Coordination Team", which will be responsible for coordinating and guiding the work of Patent Units 1, 2 and 3. The opening ceremony was held on July 2 in the ceremonial hall of the IPO on Level 18 of the building, while a ceremony to unveil the team plaque was held in the office on Level 17. The deputy head of IPO, Mr. Lu, will be acting as the convener and executive secretary of the Team, while senior patent examiners Su ChiaShen and Tong ShenYuan will act as deputy executive secretaries. The Team will be responsible for review of cases examined by each patent unit, as well as for management examination followups and personnel training.
(APEC Symposium on Intellectual Property Rights in the New Economy)」。本次會議邀請國內外專家學者擔任主持人、講座及與談人，一齊探討新經濟數位議題、專利侵權之評鑑、專利商品化與技術移轉等相關議題，期望藉由APEC各經濟體產、官、學、研各界代表之參加，達成共同研討與資訊交流之目的。
APEC/IPEG Meeting held in Taichung
The 13th Meeting of APEC and IPEG, which was hosted by Taiwan, took place at the Grand Formosa Taichung over 2 days, starting on July 16, 2000. It was attended by more than 40 government officials from 15 members in the Asia Pacific region, including Taiwan, the host country. Taiwan had hosted the 5th Meeting of IPEG in Taipei 4 years ago, and the office responsible for hosting the present Meeting was the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the MOEA.
The Meeting on both days was chaired by the Japanese chairman of IPEG, Mr Kobayashi. Besides reports by the APEC Secretariat and IPEG, and an important matter tabled for discussion at the Meeting was a new joint action plan. The said plan primarily focused on strengthening mechanisms for policy dialogues, the digitalization of intellectual property rights, protection of intellectual property rights, and the promotion, cooperation and mobilization of IPR management and technology transfers. Japan, the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Mexico and Hong Kong all produced case study reports on various relevant topics. Taiwan also produced summary reports on such topics as "famous trademarks", "protection of biological technology", "enforcement of ECommerce and WIPO Internet Treaty", "traditional knowledge and cultural works", and "creating an effective IPO protection system".
The IPEG is an expert unit within the APEC structure that is responsible for the area of intellectual property rights. Besides daytoday liaison, IPEG gains an overview of global IPR development trends as well as the most recent issues through the meetings held twice annually. It also reviews the policies and measures adopted by each member, with a view to reaching a consensus in IPR protection attitudes and practices within the region, and gradually to achieve the goals of uniformity and transparency. Taiwan's IPO had actively sought the right to host this Meeting, which also reflected Taiwan's determination and efforts to participate in the international arena.
In addition, so as to aid the exchange of experiences and information between the 21 member bodies in APEC, on July 19 the IPO also held an "APEC Symposium on Intellectual Property Rights in the New Economy". The Symposium invited experts and academics from Taiwan as well as overseas to be chairperson or participants, and together they discussed such topics as digitalization in the new economy, assessment of patent infringement, industrial application of patents, and technology transfers. It is hoped that reciprocal discussions and information exchange will be achieved by the participation of industry, government, academic and research representatives from members of
Patent & Trademark Application and Grant Cases in 2000
According to statistics released by the Intellectual Property office (IPO), the IPO handled 61,231 new patent applications in 2000, an increase of 9,310 (17.93%) from the previous year. Amongst these, 36,369 applications were filed by Taiwanese nationals (weak at approximately 60%), while 24,862 were filed by foreign nationals (strong at approximately 40%). The number of approved and gazetted applications was 42,241, an increase of 13,097 cases (44.94%) from the previous year. Amongst these, 25,812 approved cases were filed by Taiwanese nationals (strong at approximately 61%), while 16,429 cases were filed by foreign nationals (weak at approximately 39%). Approximately 22,029 applications were rejected, and a total of 30,465 patent certificates were issued.
The IPO also received a total of 7,103 applications for reexamination, a decrease of 13.66% compared to the previous year. A total of 8,428 applications for reexamination were handled, amongst which 6,389 were approved for receipt of patents, while 2,039 were rejected. A total of 2,266 applications for oppositeion were received, an increase of 9.26% compared to the previous year. A total of 1,544 applications for opposition were examined, amongst which 569 oppositions were approved, while 975 were rejected. A total of 583 objections were received, an increase of 10.72% from the previous year. The IPO handled 536 objections, including 200 cases that were approved, and 336 that were rejected.
The Office also handled a total of 88,002 new trademark applications during the year 2000, an increase of 14,790 (20.20%) from the previous year. Amongst these, 64,683 applications were filed by Taiwanese nationals (strong at approximately 73.50%), while 23,319 were filed by foreign nationals (weak at approximately 26.50%). The number of approved and gazetted applications was 68,168, an increase of 11,404 cases (20.09%) from the previous year. Amongst these, 52,370 approved cases were filed by Taiwanese nationals (strong at approximately 76.82%), while 15,798 cases were filed by foreign nationals (weak at approximately 23,18%). Approximately 6,400 applications were rejected, and a total of 52,954 trademark certificates were issued.
A total of 1,486 applications for opposition of trademark were examined, an increase of 37.08% from the previous year. Amongst these, 723 oppositions were approved (48.56%), while 763 were rejected (51.35%). The IPO also handled 431 assessment cases, a decrease of 13.28% from the previous year. Amongst these, 239 cases were approved (55.45%), while 192 were rejected (44.55%).
依據財團法人國際唱片業交流基金會(IFPI, Members' Foundation in Taiwan)就有聲出版品取締的統計資料披露，九十年一至三月該會協同警察機關等相關單位查察取締侵權之有聲出版品案件計487件，包括夜市攤販459件、中盤3件、門市2件、倉庫3件、MP3販賣11件、CDR販賣4件及住家5件，共查扣盜版卡帶11,928卷、CD 395,746片、MP3 1,013片、CDR 8,223片、VCD 72片及機械設備與半成品乙批，市場評估損失約432,518,385元。此外，該季查獲涉嫌侵害著作權而移送偵辦之嫌疑犯計563人。
Work by IFPI in 1st Quarter 2001
According to statistics recently released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Members' Foundation in Taiwan (IFPI), the IFPI had assisted police and other related agencies with a total of 487 raids for infringing audio products during the period from January to March 2001. These consisted of 459 raids on night market vendors, 3 wholesalers, 2 retailers, 3 warehouses, 11 MP3 vendors, 4 CDR vendors, and 5 residential premises, resulting in seizures of 11,928 pirated cassettes, 395,746 pirated CDs, 1,013 MP3 disks, 8,223 CDRs, 72 VCDs, and a set of machinery, equipment and semifinished goods. This constitutes an estimated loss of NT$432,518,385 at market value. In addition, a total of 563 defendants were referred to the prosecutors' office for suspected infringement of copyright.