Yearly Update on the Progress of the TIPS Project – summary of a research report on corporate investors’ view on introducing a corporate IP disclosure framework

Chien-Shan Chiu

Background

In the era where inventions drive the economy, the ability to create, capture and protect these inventive ideas has become vital for a corporation to stay competitive and sustain profit growth. Various government policies have been implemented in order to stimulate inventions and to strengthen the ability to protect these inventions through effective use of intellectual property (“IP”) rights. For the past few years, the TIPS (Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System) project has been promoted extensively aiming to increase public awareness towards IP rights and to assist local companies to establish a systematic and comprehensive IP management system.

Over the years, the TIPS project has received wide recognition and positive feedbacks, and many TIPS-implemented companies are ready for the next challenges. After an extensive research, the project proposes to follow the international trend of encouraging companies to make better and more disclosure of intangible assets that are not often shown in the traditional financial statements1 . Local companies with effective IP management system and strategy are encouraged to compile an “Intellectual Property Management Report” summarizing its business, R&D and IP management strategies as well as their accumulated IP assets.

In order to compile an Intellectual Property Management Report, a company is advised to re-identify its intellectual property, re-think about its strength and weakness in every aspect and where necessary, the company may also need to re-conduct a market, technology trend or competitor’s analysis, through which it is believed that a better and more effective IP strategy will be re-formulated. Formulating a well-planned corporate strategy that takes into account various IP issues is one of the main reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework.

Promoting the disclosure of IP-related information so that the management efforts, visions and true capabilities of a corporation can be fully disclosed and recognized is the second major reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework.

This essay begins with a brief update on the yearly progress of the TIPS project, follows by a summary of the research report on corporate investors’ view on initiating a framework for enhancing disclosure of corporate IP-related information. The research report contains the result of a survey conducted between April and June this year (year 2009), consisting questions to uncover local investors’ view and attitudes towards corporate IP, and to identify kinds of IP-related information required when making an investment decision as well as to find out to what extend local investors would support the government’s initiative on promoting a corporate IP disclosure framework.

Update on the Yearly Progress of the TIPS Project

In order to facilitate the promotion of TIPS, several supplementary services have been introduced (fees and expenses are fully or partially subsidized by the government this year) :

(1) Free On-Line Self-Assessment Tool;
(2) On-Site Diagnostic and Consulting Service (selected companies were fully subsidized);
(3) “Demonstrative” Model Companies (selected companies were partially subsidized);
(4) IP Management Courses (partially subsidized);
(5) On-Site Auditing (for the Conformance of TIPS requirements) and issuing of the TIPS Compliance Certification (fully subsidized) .

To the end of 2009, 401enterprises have completed the on-line self-assessment questions; 93 companies have received on-site diagnostic and consultation services; 847 persons have taken the IP management courses; 64 enterprises have successfully obtained the certificates for the compliance of TIPS and more than 299 enterprises have either completed or in the middle of implementing TIPS.

Summary of the Research Report on Corporate Investor s’ View on Introducing a Corporate IP Disclosure Framework

Even though it is clear that the idea of encouraging corporations to disclose non-financial information has started few decades ago in Europe and are currently being vigorously promoted by many major countries, we believe that in order to facilitate smooth promotion of the new IP disclosure framework, it is important to find out the local investors’ views and attitudes towards IP and to know how investors see the role of IP can play in a local corporation. Hence a survey was conducted at the initial stage of preparing the new corporate IP disclosure framework in Taiwan.

The survey was sent via both mails and emails to 357 corporations, including venture capital firms; trust, investment consulting or management firms; security corporations, financial institutions and banks. More than one set of survey questionnaires could be distributed in one corporation to be filled by investors/analysts that are specialized in investing different industrial sectors. As a result, a total of 495 set of questionnaires were distributed..

Basic Data

The survey was conducted between April to June 2009. At the end of June, a total of 150 investors/analysts responded which equals to a 33% response rate. Most of the survey respondents specialized in investing in various industrial sectors which include: semi-conductor; telecommunication; electronic components; 3C products; IT; optical; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; new energy resources; media; creative and culture and traditional manufacturing industries.

Around 50% of the survey respondents have more than 5 years’ experience in investment; among them, 23% of the survey respondents have more than 10 years’ investment experience.

Investors recognize the importance of IP

A remarkable 94% of the survey respondents recognized that the ability to create, protect, manage and exploit IP has become an essential element for a company to stay competitive and sustain growth in today’s market environment. 88% of the survey respondents believe that companies with more or better IP assets are more likely to generate profits and 91% believe that such companies are more likely to survive in this ever-increasing competitive environment.

Yet, 94% of the survey respondents agreed that not only a company should actively create IP assets, but the ability to exploit and thus extract value from the accumulated IP assets is what makes a company stand out among the others. Taking a step further, the survey result reveals that the respondent investors believe a company with effective and well-planned IP strategy is likely to:
– Enhance its market competitiveness (84%);
– Raise its overall corporate value (71%);
– Maintain its market position (55%);
– Increase its profitability (32%);
– Affect its share price (30%);
– Assist investors in evaluating such company’s managerial ability and performance (29%) as well as evaluating its future growth potential (28%).

IP-related information influences investors’ investment decisions

Given that most investors see the ability to create, manage and exploit IP assets as well as having a well-planned IP strategy are crucial for the survival of a company, 82% of the survey respondents indicate that IP-related information has been considered when making an investment decision. Furthermore, 85% of the survey respondents think that they will place greater emphasis on IP in assessing companies in the future.

Indicators that used to assess/evaluate a company

Most often used IP-related indicators identified by the survey respondents when making investment decisions are:
– Core technology and its market competitiveness (77%)
– Research ability (experience and achievement) (73%)
– IP protection and management measures (41%)
– IP strategy (align with overall corporate strategy and market/technology characteristics) (40%)
– Ability to fully utilize self-owned IP assets (38%)
– R&D expenditure and investment (35%)
– No. of IP assets (35%)
– Time taken for competing products to enter into the market (33%)
– Cost of maintaining IP assets (19%)
Ratio of intangible assets as to the overall corporate value (19%) :

20% of the survey respondents indicated that they have turned down investment in the past for inadequate IP awareness of the target companies.

List of local companies with good and effective IP strategy

The survey respondents were asked to name local Taiwanese companies which in their mind have most effective and sound IP strategy.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Foxconn, United Microelectrc (UMC), HTC, Acer are the top 5 most named companies given by the survey respondents.

Having good quality of patents (such as essential or new technology patents); detailed and complete patent map; sound IP strategy; brand and professional IP/legal department are cited as the reasons that impress these investors.

Inadequacy of public available IP-related information

While most investors acknowledge the importance of IP and take into account various IP-related indicators when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that currently, the amount of IP-related information disclosed by companies are not sufficient for them to make an informed investment decision.

When a question asking the survey respondents to identify the channels by which they obtained their desired IP-related information, the results were quite spread out. 45% of the survey respondents relied on asking the top managers directly; 43% relied on annual report; media and news (35%); website (34%); industrial journals (25%); competitors (15%) and other private channels (15%). It appears that various sources were used but no particular source provides sufficient information. Indeed, a remarkable 91% of the survey respondents believe that if there are more channels provided for corporations to disclose their internal IP information, more accurate assessment of the corporate value can be made.

Support government’s initiative of promoting IP reporting framework

Further, 73% of the survey respondents expressed their willingness to support the government’ s initiative of encouraging local companies to disclose their IP-related information. In relation to the initiation and promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, 64% of the survey respondents responded that it would be better to adopt a voluntarily disclosure policy and decide whether to switch to mandatory disclosure later; 22% think that only a voluntarily disclosure policy should be adopted followed by 14% of the survey respondents who believe that the government should adopt a mandatory disclosure policy from the start. When the survey respondents were asked to provide suggestions to facilitate the promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, the following suggestions were picked by the survey respondents:
– Provide valuation tools to assist investors in assessing and analyzing IP related information (40%);
– a central platform to collect and display all the complied IP management reports (21%);
– lists of compulsory items to be disclosed in the report (21%); and
– regulate the frequency of updating the contents of the report (15%).

Conclusion

Based on the results of the survey, we can conclude that the local investors’ view and attitude towards IP are similar to those in overseas. Majority of the investors (> 90%) see IP as valuable tools that could assist companies to create profits and sustain growth in today’s competitive market. While most of the investors (82%) have taken into account relevant IP information when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that the amount of corporate IP-related information disclosed by companies are insufficient for them to make informed investment decisions. This is an important message that local companies should pay particular attention.

It is hoped that through the introduction of the corporate IP disclosure framework, more adequate corporate IP information will be disclosed to assist investors in making better and accurate investment decisions. Consequently, a company’s true capabilities, managerial efforts and the intangible assets created upon can thus be fully appreciated and reflected on its market value.


1 Various national and institutional initiatives addressing the disclosure of corporate intellectual assets are currently being promoted vigorously at the international level such as Japan’s “IA based Management Report, (METI)”; Denmark’s “Intellectual Capital Statement (MSTI)”; European Union’s “Guidelines on Intangibles, MERITUM project”; U.S.’s “EBR 2.0 (Enhance Business Reporting Consortium)”; and The World Intellectual Capital/Assets Initiative (WICI) is currently working on developing a voluntary global framework for measuring and reporting corporate performance.

※Yearly Update on the Progress of the TIPS Project – summary of a research report on corporate investors’ view on introducing a corporate IP disclosure framework,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=171&d=6117 (Date:2024/05/18)
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Utilizing TIPS 1 to Establish a Comprehensive Intellectual Property Management System

Chen Yi-Chih, Chen Hung-Chih 2 I. Foreword Intellectual Property (IP) Management is a subject of recent focus in Taiwan . More than 1 million patents have been filed in Taiwan and each year, Taiwan dedicates NT $80 3 trillion in research and development. The estimated cost for IP prosecution, maintenance, litigation, conciliation, compensation and authorization amounts to NT $200 trillion (U.S.$6.5 trillion) 4. Even though many enterprises have gradually recognized the importance of intellectual property, the situation has not significantly improved based on the statistics stated above. Observation shows that only few enterprises in Taiwan have taken active steps to manage their IP and it was only after facing infringement lawsuits and tremendous amount of loyalty payments, most companies started to realize the important of IP management. Two main causes are believed to have negative impact on the lacking and ineffectiveness of most Taiwanese enterprises' IP management: Taiwanese enterprises have not taken proactive measures to handle IP management issues and IP management is only viewed as a mechanism to prevent IP infringement. Taiwanese enterprises have not sought ways to proactively and strategically use their intellectual property as a tool to yield profit. Due to limited professional knowledge and resources, Taiwanese enterprises do not know how to manage and exploit IP generated within their companies . Therefore, it is critical to assist these enterprises to develop and implement an effective IP management strategy under which the full potential of their IP can be utilized and the maximum value of the enterprises' IP can be realized. The Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs recognized the importance of governmental role to address this issue. Since 2003, it has collaborated with the Institute of Information Industry to work on a project for developing a standardized IP management system. In 2005, the project was handed over to the Industrial Development Bureau which then carried on the development and promotion of the Taiwanese Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). Taiwanese enterprises 5 are able to use TIPS as a basis to establish their own comprehensive IP management systems. Based on our experiences in promoting TIPS and the feedbacks from those enterprises which have followed the TIPS's guidance to establish their IP management systems, we are pleased to find that TIPS is capable of assisting enterprises to develop a comprehensive IP management system. The system no only meets an enterprise's operational needs but also can be continuously improved owing to its adoption of the PDCA management cycle 6. II. The Introduction of TIPS A. The Origin and Overview of TIPS On December 9, 2004, The Ministry of Economics, in recognition of the needs to assist Taiwanese enterprises to better manage and more fully utilize their intellectual property, organized a “Taiwanese IP Management Standardization and Promotion Summit”. In order to establish a consensus on IP management among Taiwanese enterprises and to encourage the enterprises to implement an internal IP management system, the Taiwanese government positioned TIPS as an industry standard. In 2006, The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) established a TIPS promotion program and revised the 2004 draft of the Intellectual Property Management System Standard to become the Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). The industrial experts' opinions and comments were gathered and used to amend the draft, TIPS was then formally announced 7 on March 23, 2007 and consequently promoted. In hopes to protect Taiwanese enterprises and to improve their market competitiveness, IDB initiated extensive promotion program, encouraging Taiwanese enterprises and organizations to establish a convenient, efficient, and low-cost IP management system by following the TIPS's guidance The main characteristic of TIPS is the incorporation of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model from the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System. By adopting this model, not only the challenges of IP management can be resolved, but the whole system can also be continuously improved. Since TIPS shares the ISO's characteristics of being credible, comprehensive, and easily adaptable, TIPS and be easily integrated into the ISO standards within an enterprise such that the conflicts between these two systems will be minimized and it will only require minimum organizational structural changes and implementation costs. If an enterprise has already implemented ISO, implementing TIPS becomes more easily and efficient. In addition, TIPS emphasizes the concepts of using “process-oriented approach” and “systematic management” 8. Enterprises can merge their existing infrastructures and TIPS to establish a convenient, effective and efficient IP management system to reduce losses caused by IP infringement. Enterprises may also strengthen their market competitiveness and increase profits through royalty income. TIPS includes nine chapters. The first four chapters cover Summary, which describes the background of TIPS; Scope of Application and Terminologies. Clause 0.3.1 9 of TIPS states that the purpose of TIPS is to promote the utilization of IP management as one of the means to maximize an enterprise's profits. Rather than an individual or a specific department, protecting IP assets is the responsibility of all employees within the enterprises. In addition, the establishment of an IP management system is essential regardless of the scale, product or service provided by an enterprise. Clause 1.2 of TIPS clearly provides that TIPS is applicable to all enterprises, despite their types, scales, products and services provided. Therefore, TIPS is not designed solely for large enterprises. It can be applied to all kinds of organizations which include but not limit to a company, a specific department/division within a company, a laboratory or a project team. B. The Foundation of TIPS Before establishing TIPS, the government recognized that an enormous amount of resources is required to establish an IP management system. Therefore, the ISO9001:2000 quality management framework was adopted and TIPS was developed based upon the ISO's management principles. By incorporating IP managing strategies into an enterprise's operation goals and internal activities, the IP management system is no longer just a risk management system but a system that is closely aligning to the overall operations of an enterprise. Since it was found that many domestic companies implemented ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System solely for compliance purposes, people are skeptical about its effectiveness. In fact, if one understands the rigorous formulation processes behind the quality management system and its principles, one would recognize that an enterprise's IP management system can be significantly improved by adopting the management characteristics of ISO Quality Management System. The main characteristics shared between TIPS and ISO are outlined as follows: The effectiveness of an IP management system can be evaluated through clear policies and goals Chapter 5 of ISO 9001 : 2000 discusses Management's Responsibility. It states that top management should establish an enterprise's mission, vision, policies and goals, otherwise known as Visionary Leadership. An enterprise should consider its stakeholder's needs, understand the gap between its current status and the ideal state when setting its mission, vision, policies and goals. It should also decide its operational goals by considering available resources and the external environment. Traditional way of IP management only focuses on the operational and managerial processes. Strategic issues such as strategic planning and mission/vision planning are often forgotten, which often leads to a disconnection between strategy and actual operations. The concept of setting clear policies and goals used in ISO Quality Management shall be adopted to manage IP. That is to say, clear policies and objectives should be defined by the top management followed by detailed processes and steps required to realize the goals. Clear operational processes and responsibility help to achieve IP management goals ISO9001:2000 states that quality issues are caused by process, not product and process issues are caused by management since processes are carried out by people. Therefore, all personnel who is involved in carrying out the processes (in other word, all the employees within an organization) shall have the responsibility to improve quality. This concept applies to IP management as well. It is an incorrect general belief that IP management is merely for damage control or risk prevention. It is also an incorrect belief that an IP management is the sole responsibility of the legal department that other departments have no roles to play in enhancing the added-value of IP. For enterprises intending to utilize IP to enhance its competitiveness, some suggestions as listed below should be taken into account when planning their IP strategies: Set IP management as one of the company's operational goals. Organize a team to implement the IP strategy and to determine the processes required to achieve the IP goals. Clearly identify roles and responsibilities for personnel involved in all levels of IP management. Identify tasks required to be documented. Ensure the employees understand the linkage between their assigned tasks and the corresponding organizational goals. Through careful considerations of planning the organizational goals, processes and the expected outputs derived thereupon, enterprises can determine whether the processes so planned are necessary, appropriate, and effective . Consequently, minimizing the resources required to be invested into IP management. Monitoring, evaluation, and corrective actions can help to ensure the effectiveness of an organization's IP management processes Clause 8.2.1 of ISO9001:2000, “customer satisfaction”, emphasizes that customers own the right to evaluate. In the case of IP management, customers are basically the enterprise itself, therefore the performance is evaluated based on whether the set organizational goals can be achieved. It has been observed that many companies implemented the ISO Standards purely for the purpose of obtaining ISO's certification and do not consider whether the processes implemented are, in the practical sense, effective or efficient. Under this circumstance, the enterprises would not gain any actual benefits, despite that the requirements of ISO standards are met. The goal of process management is to improve the process efficiency, effectiveness and adaptability. Clause 8.2.3 of the ISO9001:2000 discusses Monitoring and Measurement of Process and Clause 8.2.4 talks about Monitoring and Measurement of Product. They state that an organization should establish a mechanism to monitor, evaluate, and understand the organization's internal and external customers' needs. This mechanism can also help to determine whether the organization can meet or exceed the expectation of its customers (in terms of processes, products, and/or services), which is also a critical element in establishing a systematic IP management system. If the result of evaluation does not meet expectation, there is a problem. In order to prevent the problem from reoccurring, prevention is the best. The concept of prevention is to design measures to avoid the occurrence of hidden problems. Unexpected problems are inevitable to occur even if preventive measures have been taken. We should analyze the impact of the problems occurred and propose counter measures to minimize their impact. The efficiency of IP Management relies on continuous improvement There are always opportunities to improve any process. Clause 8 of the ISO9001:2000 discusses Measurement, Analysis and Improvement which includes continuous improvement processes. Clause 8.2 Monitoring and Measurement, Clause 8.3 Control of Nonconformity, and Clause 8.4 Analysis of Data discuss the issues surrounding monitoring, measurement, analysis and control of nonconformity. Clause 8.5 discusses Improvement, which covers action taken to address the causes of identified issues. There are many issues that may be identified after analysis which cannot be resolved at once. Clause 5.1 of ISO 9001:2000 Management Commitment requests that the top management team be responsible for setting policy and goals, and providing resources needed to achieve the goals. By introducing ISO9001:2000 measurement, analysis, and improvement methodologies into the IP management system, it is believed that enterprises can thus effectively manage their IP and achieve a win-win scenario with their customers. C. The expected benefits of Implementing TIPS Since TIPS shares the above mentioned characteristics of the ISO Quality Management System, it not only can reduce the risks of infringing the IP rights of the others, but also can assist an organization to achieve its operational goals provided that the organization has designed relevant processes pursuant to the requirements of TIPS and has thoroughly implemented the designed processes. Using TIPS's external evaluation mechanism 10, enterprises implementing with TIPS can prove to their customers and external stakeholders that they have the capability to manage and maintain their IP. If an enterprise follows TIPS to establish its IP management system, its expected benefits include the followings: Enhancing market competiveness and increasing the added-value of an organization An IP management system that is designed to meet the specific needs of an organization shall play a significant role in achieving the organization's operational goals. Take a fitness equipment or an automobile parts manufacturer as an example, if the manufacturer owns the IP rights (ex: new design patent or trademark) embodied within the products, it is expected that the manufacturer can profit more than a purely OEM company which does not own its own brand. This is because the IP rights embodied within the products could provide significant added-value beyond what an OEM company can offer. Increasing customer's ordering intent The guidelines of TIPS also serve as the requirements for certification purpose. A government certified IP management system will ease concerns over trade secret protection and thereby promote cooperation and trusting relationships between the suppliers and the buyers and between research collaborations which consequently would foster better research results and potentially more purchasing orders. Minimizing resource wasting and actively creating profits Most small and medium enterprises in Taiwan do not have adequate labor and financial resources to develop a comprehensive IP management system. It is the hope of the government that a simple, effective, and low-cost IP management system can be established which tailors to the specific needs of every enterprise by adopting the TIPS framework. Once enterprises are capable of systematically manage their IP, it is expected that the IP generated and their exploitation can really match the enterprises' requirements and expectations, so that no resource is wasted to produce unwantable IP. The enterprises may further increase their profits by licensing or assigning their IP rights. Fostering an organizational culture that values the importance of intellectual property and the ability to continuous improve Establishing IP management policies, coupled with ongoing IP management seminars and education and training programs for new employee would enhance the awareness of the importance of IP management to the organization among the employees. The employees may further change their attitudes from passively complying with the policies to actively participate the system such as paying particular attention to potential IP risks and offer suggestions for process improvement. One company which implemented TIPS commented that the regular and ad hoc audits requirement and the necessity of assigning roles and responsibilities as required by TIPS assist it to identify problems concerning management issues. Corrective and preventive actions can be rapidly taken to address the problems identified, allocate the liabilities and improve the whole system. As a consequence, the IP management system can be effectively carried out to ensure that the planned objectives are met. It was found that most companies do not have internal audit and continual improvement programs to detect the hidden problems concerning management. Enhancing risk management and the capability to respond Currently, the fundamental and most important goal for an enterprise's IP management is to reduce the risks of infringement. Enterprises which have implemented TIPS found that TIPS is capable of enhancing data sharing across the departments which allows the IP department to detect potential risks at the earliest time. Further, the establishment of risk management mechanism and processes in response to infringement allegations as required by TIPS helps to institutionalize an enterprise's management system in handing legal risks. III. A holistic approach to IP management The Taiwanese government hopes that enterprises can systematically manage their IP through the implementation of TIPS. In other words, following TIPS's guidance, the Taiwanese enterprises should establish an IP management system that incorporates the usage of the PDCA management cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Action) and process management approach and such system must be built by taking into account the enterprise's business operation strategies and objectives. Enterprises should have clear processes and related rules for handling all IP related issues. For example, prior to filing a patent application, there should be a plan for the ways to acquire the targeted IP and prior art research shall be conducted. Based on the search results, enterprises can then decide whether they would like to internally develop the targeted IP or to seek licensing opportunities. Effective IP management processes shall be able to answer the following questions: Whether records are stored property? Who should conduct the audit? Whether the current system meets the IP management policy or goals? What are the roles and responsibilities? The following section aims to explain how Taiwanese enterprises can establish or modify their current IP management system to achieve its full potential: A. Roles and Responsibilities for Implementation All employees within an organization shall participate in order to realize the most benefits out of the IP management system. Leadership responsibilities, roles and responsibilities allocation, training and education programs and the subsequent auditing processes on the performance of operation shall be clearly defined and planned. Establishing a successful IP management system shall not be the sole responsibility of the legal department. During the implementation stage, the following personnel should participate and complete the related tasks: Executive management team (Management executives, ex. CEO, President, COO) a. Establish IP management policy and goals; b. Communicate the importance of compliance to the IP management policy; c. Evaluate and review the effectiveness of the IP management system; and d. Ensure the readiness of the resources available for establishing the IP management system. IP Management System Representatives (Managers who have decision-making authority, ex. EVP, VP) a. Ensure that the required processes for the IP management system are established, implemented, and maintained; b. Report to the executive management team on the performance and improvement needs for the existing system; and c. Ensure employees understand the IP management policy and goals. Department Representatives (All department representatives) a. Execute tasks assigned by the IP management system representatives; b. Execute action items reached by the steering committee meetings; c. Ensure the achievement of IP management goals, and d. Responsible for the Maintaining and improving the IP management system. B. Steps of Implementation Plan Establishing a systematic IP management system requires the participation of all employees and it requires reengineering of the existing processes. It is not an easy task to be established and planned solely by the legal department. All other departments within an enterprise shall participate and offer their suggestions. The followings are the recommended stages for implementing an IP management system: Stage Tasks Description Responsibility Remark 1. Preparation 1). Review of current status Understand resources available and the status of operation Data collection; define roles and responsibilities 2). Establish implementation team Identify team members and team leader Confirm organizational structure for implementation 3). Set goals and establish all management programs Evaluate current situation to formulate IP management policy, and define measurable goals. Processes planning shall be made by taking into account the management responsibility, resource management, product development, and performance analysis and improvement. This helps to identify the position of a process within the overall IP management system and its inter-relationships between the processes themselves. Provide evaluation report; organize IP management deployment document Documentation: IP Management Manual à Procedures à Guidelines à Records 2. Training and Education & System Integration 4). Relevant training and education Understand the direction, method, and spirit of standardization. Participated by the implementation team and management representatives. 5).Drafting documentation Decide documentation framework, format, table of contents, numbering principles, and appoint editors and the completion date. Management team assigns tasks 6). Establishing documentation Drafting and revising procedural documentation Internal discussion and review IP management principles (refer to prior text) Define the scope and content of standard format. Appoint editors and the completion date. Establish standard format as an example before documenting Prepared IP management manual to aid employees and customers to understand the organization's IP management system Implementation team and management team 3.Implementation 7). Provide training & education specifically for the internal audit personnel Explain the purpose of auditing and execution details Participated by Internal audit committee Prepare checklist for auditing to be used by auditing personnel 8). Conduct system implementation and internal audits Execute documentation processes for the management system and conduct internal audits and review the performance Implementation, review, correction and prevention. Participated by all employees 9). Conduct overall examination of the intellectual property management system Implement IP management system Participated by all members of the implementation team C. Implementation Chapter five through chapter eight of TIPS define the core of the guidelines which cover the basic requirements of IP management requirements; top management's responsibilities; resource management; the acquisition, protection, maintenance and exploitation of IP, as well as performance evaluation and improvement. To facilitate Taiwanese enterprises' understanding of TIPS and how to use it to establish a comprehensive IP Management system, we provide the following main steps of establishing an IP management system based on the TIPS's requirements: Define the company's IP management goals Enterprises that would like to establish an IP Management system have to understand their unique features and future operation strategies to evaluate the needs for managing their IP. Clauses 4.1, 5.2, and 5.3.1 of TIPS stipulate that the management team has the responsibility to set clear IP management policy and goals. For example, one policy can be to increase R&D efficiency and the goal can be to reduce the product development cycle by 10%. Defining appropriate IP Management policies can help to establish a IP management system that meets an enterprise's practical needs. It can also be used as basic principles for formulating IP strategies and subsequently the implementation processes of IP management system. The management team should utilize intranet or bulletin boards to inform its employees of the organization's IP management policies, goals, and relevant responsibilities assigned to each department. This will help employees to understand their roles and responsibilities and the importance of their participation in achieving the organization's goals. Develop required processes for achieving enterprise's IP management goals The ultimate purpose of establishing an IP management system is to maximize profits and to minimize losses. To ensure successful acquisition of targeted IP, companies should plan and develop processes and operating procedures based on their needs and business development strategies. During this stage, companies should focus on the followings in order to meet TIPS's requirements: Understand statutory and regulatory requirements concerning IP The management target of TIPS is intellectual property, which includes trademark, patent, copyright, trade secrets and etc. Different IP acquisition approaches apply to different IP targets. Complying with Clause 7.1, companies must firstly understand all the statutory and regulatory requirements before a plan is made for the acquisition of targeted IP. For example, according to the relevant legislations in Taiwan, once a work is created, the authors obtain the copyright in the work. However, the right to patent or trademark can only be acquired through registration. Evaluate options for acquiring the targeted IP Enterprises shall evaluate different options (i.e. self-development, purchase or outsourcing) for acquiring their targeted IP by taking into account of their business operation objectives and the characteristics of their products as the methods of acquiring IP will influence the subsequent processes concerning the protection, maintenance and exploitation of the acquired IP. Clause 7.2 of TIPS requires enterprises to implement processes regarding to the evaluation of the options for acquiring the targeted IP. Clause 7.3.5 further requires enterprises to set up an assessment procedure for every IP application and suggests to incorporate an invention incentive program. Define roles and responsibilities After completing the feasibility study concerning various options to acquire the targeted IP, enterprises have to decide whether to establish an IP management specialized department (ex. legal or IP department) and to define clear roles and responsibilities based on the company's scale and resource available. Companies should pay particular attention on preparation work, such as conducting patent or trademark prior art search, to avoid wasting of resources and voided applications. If enterprises outsource IP management related activities to external bodies, Clause 7.4.1 of TIPS requires them to have a clear knowledge of the service quality provided by the outsourcing bodies and to establish a controlling mechanism over the outsourcing activities (ex. evaluation → outsourcing → contract → periodic evaluation…etc.). Special attention has to be paid to the contractual terms concerning obligations and ownership of IP. Determine Resources Required Enterprises that would like to establish an IP management system not only have to ensure that they have enough resources, but also need to ensure that the resources can be utilized in an effective way. The management team, in accordance of the requirements for Clauses 5.4.2 a nd 6.1 of TIPS, should provide resources (including labor and equipment) required for the implementation of the IP management system. Examples include the continual recruitment of manpower and the purchasing of computer software and hardware equipments and etc. As far as labor is concerned, enterprises, in accordance with Clause 6.2.1 , have to ensure that their employees have adequate abilities to assume their responsibility. Clause 6.2.1 states that companies should provide basic IP education and training to equip the employees with necessary knowledge. Pursuant to Clause 6.2.3, enterprises should provide their patent engineers and legal staff with advanced training, such as intellectual property litigation and arbitration, intellectual property licensing and contracts, techniques for patent design around, IP valuation and so on. In summary, enterprises should enhance the employees' (both new and existing employees) awareness of IP, the importance of complying with statutory requirements and the enterprises' internal IP policies and goals through education and training. Establish an IP Management System After determining the resources required, enterprises need to establish a basic system to manage their IP. The system shall include a documentation control system, an audit program, an internal communication channel and so on. We provide a summary explaining the details of each program required to establish a basic IP management system: Basic IP Management System (1) Documentation Control System: Enterprises should establish a systematic documentation control system based on their IP management policies and goals, such as document control procedures, internal audit process and etc. Among those, the most important one is an IP management manual. Clause 4.3 of TIPS requires the enterprises to state all the following items in their IP management manual: IP management policies and goals; roles and responsibilities; processes and procedures; and flow charts or grid charts to explain the interrelationships between the processes and procedures. Further, Clause 4.4 also states that all documents, no matter whether they are internally generated or externally acquired (ex. court notice, invitation to tender, official documents) should be properly managed. The source, level of confidence, method of management should be clearly labeled for future purposes. (2) Audit Program: Clause 5.4.2 states that top management has to be responsible or otherwise shall designate a management representative (the most senior staff that is responsible for intellectual property matters, such as vice president or director of IP management department) to manage a company's IP related issues. The top management team is also in charge of establishing a management review meeting, and setting agenda for each meeting such as discussing or revising the IP management policies and goals. Through management review meeting, pursuant to Clause 5.5, management representative must confirm that the set IP goals are met or if not, whether to revise the original policies or goals. All departments or responsible personnel (ex. legal, IP, general administration, accounting, human resource) shall participate the management review meeting. (3) Confidentiality Control Program: Enterprises in accordance with Clauses 4.4.1 a nd 7.4.4, should enhance feasible safety controls to protect their IP, such as setting document confidential criteria, physical access control, and control over replication of confidential documentation to limit exposure of important data. Supplemental IP Management System In addition to the above mentioned programs, supplemental IP management programs are required to assist in establishing an effective IP management system. They are outlined as follows: (1) Outsourcing Program: Due to cost or resource concerns, enterprises may outsource its R&D or IP prosecution activities to external professional agencies. Clauses 4.1 and 7.4.1 of TIPS require that the contracts entered into must clearly identify the ownership of IP involved and include a term of confidentiality obligation. This is to ensure that the outsourcing activities can be properly monitored and to prevent the leakage of important data. (2) Contract Review and Human Resource Management Programs: In order to prevent and avoid intellectual property infringement, in accordance with Clause 7.4.6 , enterprises should review all contractual terms of their contracts. As far as human resource management is concerned, in accordance with Clause 7.4.3, enterprises shall require new employees to sign an employment contract . Such contract shall include a term of confidentiality obligation and a non-competing clause may be included if necessary. (3) Internal Consulting and Communication Channel: During the period of establishing an IP management system, enterprises in accordance with Clause 5.5.2 must request relevant departments (ex. legal, sales, finance and accounting) to provide useful information concerning IP management. According to Clause 5.4.3, enterprises must establish communication channels (ex. dedicated mailbox, email) which is used to understand the feelings and to know the difficulties faced by the employees as it is inevitable to face challenges when a new system is being implemented, consistent communication and coordination is the only way to overcome these challenges. Ensure that Auditing and Preventive and Corrective Measures have been Taken Pursuant to Clauses 8.1 and 8.2, enterprises with IP management systems need to establish internal audit plans (including audit frequency, time, or method) to ensure that their IP management policies or goals are being met. Enterprises should ensure that their internal auditors are qualified i.e. have obtained the relevant professional certification, before conducting the internal audits. If nonconformities have been found through internal audits, corrective or preventive measures should be taken pursuant to Clauses 8.4.2 a nd 8.4.3. For instance, if the result of internal audit reveals that the R&D staff failed to keep their R&D records in accordance with the set rules and requirements, companies shall find out the causes (i.e. the reasons of the nonconformity) and then take appropriate corrective or preventive measures. An example of corrective measure can be to increase the frequency of checking the relevant records. And an example of preventive measure can be to provide incentive program to encourage the compliance of the relevant rules and regulations. Pursuant to the requirements of Clause 8.3, enterprises should collect and analyze relevant information, such as the internal audit reports, results of the corrective measures taken, and the results of market/competitors analysis. The above information can be used as input information during management review (Clause 5.5.2 ) to decide whether it is required to amend or set new intellectual property management policies and objectives. Through continual auditing and revising, a systematic IP management system can be established. IV Conclusion In the era of knowledge economy, the abilities of most domestic enterprises to manage tangible assets have gradually matured (ex. ERP system). However, the abilities to manage intangible assets which include intellectual property have yet to be developed. Management systems in most domestic enterprises are fragmented. For example, legal departments are only responsible for contract reviewing tasks; R&D staff has limited IP knowledge. The importance of IP is often overlooked and most enterprises do not see that intellectual property management is the responsibility of every employee. As a consequence, the Taiwanese government establishes and promotes TIPS to encourage domestic enterprises to adopt a systemic approach of managing their intellectual property and TIPS is also provided as a tool to assist enterprises to establish a sound intellectual property management system. The purpose of implementing TIPS is not to request enterprises to establish a separate management system. In order to maintain efficiency and competitiveness, an enterprise has to have an integrated management system to support its core operations and also to meet the requirements of different management system standards. Eliminating overlaps of the requirements between different quality management systems is an inevitable trend. TIPS incorporates IP management with the ISO 9000 quality management system, which is capable of simplifying the complicated IP management tasks into an effective and standardized IP management system. TIPS helps an enterprise to establish a systematic process for managing its IP. Through competitive analysis, market trend analysis, and periodic IP management operations review, a company can revise and amend its IP management policies and goals and continually improve its IP management system. For example, sales departments shall collect market trends, competitive information and shall also consciously avoid acquiring materials that may raise infringement concerns. Human resource departments shall focus their efforts in providing IP education and training. Finance departments shall evaluate the costs required for maintaining the existing IP rights and inform the R&D departments to conduct relevant review at the appropriate time. R&D departments shall conduct prior art search before a new research project is commenced. TIPS offers a simple, efficient, and low-cost management system which assists an enterprise to establish an IP management system that aligns to its business goals and operation activities. We hope that by promoting and encouraging domestic enterprises to adopt and implement TIPS, Taiwan can strengthen its international competitiveness and sustain the growth of its economy and the whole society. 1.Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). The Ministry of Economics Affairs combined the IP management principles and the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model used in ISO9001:2000 quality management system to create TIPS. The adoption of PDCA model helps organizations to establish a systematic and effective IP management system which can be continuously improved. 2. Chen Yi-Chih is a Section Manager at the Science and Technology Law Center ; Chen Hung-Chih is a legal Researcher at the Science and Technology Law Center . 3. Data Source: http://www.atmt.org.tw/html/modules/news/article.php?storyid=135&PHPSESSID=cab6428078a0435c5af1b2e7bbe2b121 (last visited: 08/11/2007 ) 4. Data Source: http://www.cyberone.com.tw/ItemDetailPage/PDAFormat/PDAFContent.asp?MMContentNoID=36372(last visited: 08/11/2007 ) 5. “Enterprise” as defined in TIPS includes company, corporate, school, research institute, a specific department or a project team is also included. 6. TIPS was developed based on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check Action) model, a typical ISO management process which requires continuously monitoring, evaluating, analyzing and improving the whole system. 7. The TIPS guidelines can be found at: http://www.tips.org.tw/public/public.asp?selno=236&relno=236 8. Refer to article: New Philosophy of Intellectual Property – Use ISO Quality Management to establish a systematic IP management in Intellectual Property Journal, issue 74, 02/2005. 9. http://www.tips.org.tw/public/public.asp?selno=236&relno=236 (last visited: 08/12/2007 ) 10. The guidelines of TIPS also serve as the requirements for certification purpose. The Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs will issue a certificate to an organization if such organization has implemented an IP management system satisfying the requirements of TIPS.

The Demand of Intellectual Property Management for Taiwanese Enterprises

Science & Technology Law Institute (STLI), Institute for Information Industry has conducted the survey of “The current status and demand of intellectual property management for Taiwanese enterprises” to listed companies for consecutive four years since 2012. Based on the survey result, three trends of intellectual property management for Taiwanese enterprises have been found and four recommendations have been proposed with detail descriptions as below. Trend 1: Positive Growth in Intellectual Property Awareness and Intellectual Property Dedicated Department/Personnel, Budget and Projects 1.Taiwanese enterprises believe that intellectual property plays an important role 74.18% of Taiwanese enterprises believe that intellectual property can increase economic value and 58.61% of those believe that it can effectively prevent competitors from entering the market. Source: created by project team members Graph 1 The benefit of intellectual property for the company 2.Taiwanese enterprises increase investment in the dedicated department and full time personnel for intellectual property Nearly 80% of listed and OTC companies set up full time personnel for intellectual property and over 50% of those have established dedicated department to handle its business that is higher than 30% in 2012. Source: created by project team members Graph 2 Specialized Department or personnel for intellectual property by year 3.Taiwanese enterprises plan budget for intellectual property each year 81% of respondent companies plan certain budget for intellectual property each year. Among the expenses items, the percentage of 90.95% for intellectual property application is the highest. Next are 58.29% for inventor bonus payment and 56.28% for intellectual property education training. Source: created by project team members Graph 3 Taiwanese enterprises plan budget for intellectual property each year Trend 2: Insufficient Positive Activation for Intellectual Property 1.Interior intellectual property personnel is seldomto be involved in the core decision making in Taiwanese enterprises Based on the importance and difficulty of intellectual property, most items in the area of high importance and difficulty are demand of professionals and practical experiences (e.g.: lack of interior talent, do not understand international technology standard and specification, lack of platform to obtain experiences and cases). Only application time is for administrative procedure of Intellectual Property Offices. Therefore, it is known that intellectual property department of respondent companies lacks experienced talents. Source: created by project team members Graph 4 Importance and difficulty of intellectual property In addition, most of the jobs of intellectual property personnel are “keeping close cooperation and communication with R&D department”, “coordinating issues relevant to intellectual property between departments” and “keeping close cooperation and communication with marketing or sales department” instead of “R&D strategy involvement” and “marketing and operation strategy involvement” (see Graph 5). Therefore, it is demonstrated that the work of intellectual property personnel is mainly for providing coordination and assistance to other departments other than corporate strategy with intellectual property as basis. Maybe it is the reason for insufficient activation and lower investment of intellectual property in the business. Source: created by project team members Graph 5 The job of intellectual property department or personnel 2.Insufficient positive activation for intellectual property in Taiwanese enterprises It is shown that 60% of firms are without and did not obtain technology transfer (among which the traditional manufacturing sector has the highest percentage). 22.95% of firms are without but obtained technology transfer and 4.51% of those are with but did not obtain technology transfer. In addition, most of the jobs of intellectual property are administration other than activation such as treatment of authorization contract and transaction and sending warning letter of infringement. Therefore, it is assumed that intellectual property is not the key for profitability in the business. 3.Taiwanese enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio intend to have more positive activation of intellectual property Although the entire firms are not positive for activation of intellectual property, it is found that enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio (the ratio of R&D expenses / total operating expenses is higher than average) intend to have more positive activation of intellectual property. For example, intellectual property department with higher R&D expenses ratio involves more in the decision making of R&D strategy in the business. Compared with the enterprises with higher R&D expenses ratio, the enterprises with lower R&D expenses ratio also has higher ratio in the absence and failure of technology transfer. (see Graph 6) Source: created by project team members Graph 6 Presence and achievement of technology transfer in the different sector 4.Most of Taiwanese enterprises R&D on their own so to lack of introduction experience of external R&D results Among the survey, nearly 90% of firms R&D each item on their own except the copyright part with lower percentage of 78.5%. 15.89% of it is from outsourcing development and 13.08% of it is from authorization. In addition, the outsourcing development and authroization of invention patent part have higher percentage which is 17.34% and 15.61% respectively. However, the speed of self R&D can’t meet the speed of product elimination nowadays. Therefore, under global open competition, corporate may try to cooperate with universities and research institutions to speed up R&D progress. Table 1 Source of Intellectual Property Right Source: created by project team members Further, among the services s that corporate ask for assistance from government, there are high demand for promotion of cooperation between industrial, academic and research sectors as well as assistance provided by academic and research institution to enhance corporate’s R&D ability. Based on this, it is clear established that a smooth access can help enterprises to cooperate with academic and research institutions for R&D instead of doing it on their own. Source: created by project team members Graph 7 The Government Policy for Intellectual Property 5.Taiwanese enterprises focus only on patent and trademark but ignore trade secret and copyright From the intellectual property items enterprises possessed each year, it is found that trademark has the highest percentage (over 80% for four-year average) and next items are invention patent and utility model patent. The awareness that corporates have on intellectual property is only limited to patent and trademark. They overlook that their core ability may be protected by trade secret and copyright. Source: created by project team members Graph 8 Owned IP right Trend 3: Increasing Demand on International Intellectual Property Service 1.The overseas intellectual property risk Taiwanese enterprises faced greatly varies from sectors Among the 2015 survey, 85% of respondent firms developed to overseas. Under which the highest percentage is 79.81% for overseas sale then 56.25% for self-establishment of overseas factory for manufacturing. Furthermore, the percentage of outsourcing in traditional manufacturing sector is the highest than that of other industries which 77.36% of traditional manufacturing firms established overseas factory for manufacturing. The percentage of overseas sale in pharmaceutical and livelihood sector is 91.3% and slightly higher than that in other industries. The result shows that different industry will select different overseas development strategy based on its sector characteristics and R&D difficulty. Source: created by project team members Graph 9 The overseas intellectual property risk As a whole, the highest risk that might be occurred from enterprises developed overseas is leakage of trade secrets. Next risks are 47.12% for being accused of product infringement and 42.31% for patent being registered. Further, the risk control greatly varies from different sector. The risks that industry and commerce service sector regards are quite different from other sectors. For example, its risk of dispute of employee jumping ship or being poached which accounted for 50% is higher than that of other sectors. In addition to the three common risks mentioned above, information and technology sector believes that there might be risk of patent dispute which accounted for 35.29% and is higher than that of other sectors. Source: created by project team members Graph 10 The overseas risk control which might be occurred by enterprises 2.The most dissatisfied part that Taiwanese enterprises have to the intellectual property outsourcing service is insufficient experiences on the treatment of international affairs Based on the 2012 and 2013 data, the too expensive fees is the primary factor that intellectual property outsourcing service didn’t meet the demand. However, from the 2014 and 2015 survey result, the experiences on the treatment of international affairs became the primary factor. It is shown that enterprises increase demand for international intellectual property work but current services from providers can’t satisfy it. From survey data, it is found that different sector has different demand on overseas development. Among which the pharmaceutical and livelihood sector has higher demand on the management of overseas trademark use, investigation of overseas infringement risk, contract of overseas patent authorization, contract of overseas trademark authorization, contract of overseas technology transfer and contract of overseas mutual R&D (See Graph 11). Source: created by project team members Graph 11 The outsourcing professional resources unsatisfied with demand – annual comparision Recommendation 1: Taiwanese enterprises shall build intellectual property creation strategy based on a variety of intecllectual property rights Enterprises may apply for patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright. For instance, brand management can be conducted with trademark and copyright and core technology or service can be protected by patent and trade secret instead of using trademark or patent alone as primary strategy. Recommendation 2: Provide Taiwanese enterprises with assistance of overseas intellectual property consultation 85% of respondent firms have overseas business which greatly varies from different sector so to accompany with different overseas intellectual property risk. Therefore, government may provide enterprises with the information of overseas intellectual property and even real time consultation services of overseas intellectual property risk which is the requirement to be satisfied immediately. In addition, the actual overseas intellectual property demand of enterprises can be found through this introduction of consultation services. To satisfy enterprises’ demand, service providers may need to improve their ability together. Recommendation 3: Build cooperation access of industry, academics and research to assist Taiwanese enterprises to enhance R&D ability Under the fast-evolved and competitive environment, enterprises shall not only depend on their own R&D. Moreover, they shall leverage the R&D result of academic and research institutions to improve so to make subsidy of those institutions from government have real impact on them. Therefore, there is demand of cooperation between industry, academics and research. The cooperation access between them should be built to achieve synergy of R&D. Recommendation 4: Experienced professionals of intellectual property are requried to be cultivated and demand of intellectual property human capital is needed to be expanded for Taiwanese enterprises Enterprises lack of experienced professionals of intellectual property. This demand could be satisfied only through on-the-job training for large personnel other than new graduates of department of intellectual property. Furthermore, enterprises can make department of intellectual property contribute its professional services into R&D and marketing strategy through design of organization work procedure to reduce risk of intellectual property they have to face.

Review of Singapore IP Dispute Resolution Development

Review of Singapore IP Dispute Resolution Development Preface   In recent years, advantage of capital and productivity are not enough for company to stand out from the business battle. Innovation and creation become the driver of business growth. Intellectual Property (“IP”) Right turns out to be the power to boost international competitiveness.   In March 2013, Singapore submitted 10-year IP Hub Master Plan to guide Singapore’s development as a Global IP Hub in Asia. Six Strategies are identified from IP Hub Master Plan. This article focuses on strategy 4, developing Singapore as a choice venue for IP dispute resolution through a strong IP Court and deep IP alternative dispute resolution capabilities, to understand how Singapore attracts various stakeholders and hence create a hive of IP activities by adopting tailored processes to facilitate the resolution of IP cases and promoting alternative dispute resolution. Key Points of IP Dispute Resolution   When it comes to IP issue, oblige will take either marketplace or area of IP application into account for choosing jurisdiction of dispute resolution. The major IP war occurs in America and China. Although Singapore deals with less IP case, the government considers itself as a transparent, efficient and neutral justice system, coupling with lots of transnational divisions in Singapore, which creates an opportunity to develop IP dispute resolution.   To achieve the goal, Singapore puts its hand to enhance capabilities of IP Court and IP alternative dispute resolution for bringing more IP litigations and IP alternative dispute resolution to Singapore. 1. Enhance Capabilities of IP Court (1) Efficiencize Processes   In September 2013, the Registrar of the Supreme Court released Circular 2 of 2013 on the issuance of the IP Court Guide, which will apply to all cases under the IP docket of the Supreme Court with immediate effect. An IP Judge will be assigned to hear all interlocutory appeals, milestone pre-trial conferences (“PTCs”) and the trial on liability.   The IP Court Guide provides for two milestone PTCs before set down for trial whereby the lead counsel must personally attend to address the IP Judge on certain specified issues. All other PTCs will be heard by the senior assistant registrar managing the IP docket. Subject to certain exceptions, an assistant registrar will hear all interlocutory applications arising in each IP case.   In addition, to support the IP Court’s adjudication functions, the IP Court Guide provides for the appointment of assessors (for technical expertise) and amicus curiae (for legal expertise) for IP cases. Parties are encouraged to propose a single candidate by agreement. Otherwise, parties should agree on and propose a shortlist of candidates.   Due to improvement, it is more convenient for parties to track trail status. For IP Judges, they can get familiar with cases and related evidence through PCTs before entering trail process. On the whole, this change increases trail efficiency and quality. (2) Set Up Singapore International Commercial Court   The Ministry of Law proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and the Supreme Court Judicature Act in October 2014. The new legislation and regulations laid the foundation of Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”), which was set up in January 2015.   The SICC, the only one International Commercial Court in Asia, is a division of the Singapore High Court and part of the Supreme Court of Singapore designed to deal with transnational commercial disputes including business issues and patent suits. Key Features of the SICC: A. SICC matters will be heard by a Panel comprising High Court Judges, associate Judges and foreign associate Judges with extensive experience and highly regarded reputation. B. A party may be represented by a registered foreign counsel without any involvement of local Singapore counsel if the matter in question is considered to be an “offshore case”. An “offshore case” is defined in the amended Rules of Court as a case which has no substantial connection to Singapore either because (i) Singapore law is not the law applicable to the dispute and the subject matter of the dispute is not regulated by or otherwise subject to Singapore law, or (ii) The only connection between the dispute and Singapore are the parties’ choice of Singapore as the law applicable to the dispute and the parties’ submission to the SICC’s jurisdiction (“Singapore Law-only Connection”). C. The SICC will hear cases governed by Singapore law and by foreign law, with the Court taking judicial notice of the foreign law. In addition, the SICC is not bound by the domestic rules of evidence at all and may apply other rules of evidence whether they are found in a foreign law or otherwise, if the parties make an application for it. 2.Strengthen Capabilities of IP Alternative Dispute Resolution   Singapore International Arbitration Center (“SIAC”) and the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Singapore Office were set up respectively in 1991 and 2001 to strengthen capabilities of IP arbitration. On the basis of these two centers, in order to enrich alternative dispute resolution, Singapore also established Singapore International Mediation Center (“SIMC”) and launched the service of arbitration-mediation-arbitration (“Arb-Med-Arb”) in November 2014.   Arb-Med-Arb is a process where a dispute is referred to arbitration before mediation is attempted. If the parties are able to settle their dispute through mediation, their mediated settlement may be recorded as a consent award. If the parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation, they may continue with the arbitration proceedings. Arb-Med-Arb is definitely a better way for parties to reach a consensus on a dispute since arbitration is more costly and mediation is less powerful. Conclusion   The SIMC and the SIAC are now collectively working on mediation, Arb-Med-Arb and arbitration and providing various IP alternative dispute resolutions. Moreover, the SICC and IP Court are charged with IP litigation. These make Singapore a comprehensive IP dispute resolution system.   In the process of revolution, Singapore puts itself up to breakthrough as to amendments and the Supreme Court Judicature Act, which establish legitimacy of SICC. The government also defines IP dispute resolution services, such as SIMC’s mediation, Arb-Med-Arb, arbitration as well as SICC features. Nevertheless, other than SIAC, SICC decision may be difficult to enforce transnationally due to lack of legislation.   To sum up, Singapore earns recognition for aggressively proposing amendments and assigning responsibilities after setting IP target and evaluating obstacles; however, it is better to pay special attention to that if the market can keep up with administrative efficiency or if the IP strategy could accord with the demands of the market.

Mainland China changes domestic regulation for game consoles

In 2000, the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China issued “the Notice on Launching a Special Campaign against Illegal Electronic Game Rooms”(國務院辦公廳轉發文化部等部門關於開展電子遊戲經營場所專項治理意見的通知). From then on, Mainland China has strictly enforced prohibition on gaming consoles, however in December 21, 2013, “the State Council released the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the State Council’s Decision to Temporarily Adjust Relevant Administrative Laws and State Council Regulated Special Administrative Measures for Approval or Access in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”(國務院關於在中國(上海)自由貿易試驗區內暫時調整有關行政法規和國務院文件規定的行政審批或者准入特別管理措施的決定). As a result of the thirteen year long prohibition on game consoles, the development of the game consoles market has been limited in Mainland China, while mobile phone and online games have dominated the video games market in the country. Mainland China’s lifting of the ban on game consoles will lead to a reshuffling of the gaming market, and is certainly worth a deeper look. This following article will review the evolution of the gaming regulatory policy in Mainland China over the recent years, and identifies the changes and problems that may arise during the deregulation process. The sale of game consoles has been prohibited in Mainland China since 2000 According to “The Notice on Launching a Special Campaign against Illegal Electronic Game Rooms” issued by General Office of the State Council in 2000, “companies and individuals were prohibited from the manufacture or sale of game consoles, as well as the production or sale of related accessories”. As a result, the mobile game consoles and the television game consoles both lost their legitimacy in the video game industry in Mainland China. The stated intent of the ban against video arcades was to protect the youth and ensure public order. And yet, in spite of potentially impacting youth in a similar manner, the online game sector has been listed as a key industry for development and has been strongly supported by the government. This has clearly contradicted the reason of banning the game consoles. Thus, the major console manufacturers, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, have been trying in various ways to enter the Chinese market, and have called on the Mainland China government to open their domestic market for the sale of game consoles. Announcement of reopening the sale of game consoles in China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone in 2013. After thirteen long years, the State Council issued the “the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”, permitting foreign enterprises to produce and sell game equipment in the Free Trade Zone. Five days later, Blockbuster that under Shanghai Media Group announced a cooperation with Microsoft in a joint venture company within the Free Trade Zone, claiming their main business as " design, development, production games, entertainment applications and derivative products; sales, licensing, marketing and production for third-party games and entertainment applications software; technical advice and services related to video games ". In December 21, 2013, “the State Council released the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the State Council’s Decision to Temporarily Adjust Relevant Administrative Laws and State Council Regulated Special Administrative Measures for Approval or Access in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”, officially lifted the prohibition on game consoles in the Free Trade Zone, and also opened the gates to investors. Potential problems facing China’s game consoles market As the case study above describes, Microsoft chose to enter the Mainland China market through a joint venture, the main reason being that foreign investment in entities engaged in internet data operations is still prohibited in China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone. Thus, Microsoft will need to rely heavily on Blockbuster for the data operation and set-top box business license, which was the main subject as the Internet service content provider. In addition, apart from the joint venture between Blockbuster and Microsoft, there are two other companies in the industry: Sony and Nintendo, which retain a large part of the game consoles market, but have not taken action at the moment. These two companies have a pivotal position in the game consoles industry, and therefore it is predicted they will likely follow the Blockbuster and Microsoft example to look for a license holder vendor as a way to enter the mainland China market. On the other hand, at the end of June 2014 the updated announcement regarding the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone “negative list”, still clearly stated that foreign enterprises in the Free Trade Zone are “prohibited from direct or indirect participation in online game operations and services”. Due to the trend among game consoles towards online connectivity, the classification of related games as online games, and prohibition of foreign enterprises from entering this space, domestic game developers have enjoyed a safe monopoly over the industry in Mainland China. But if the industry is not restricted under the scope of foreign operation of online games, and foreign enterprises may be allowed involvement in the management of their operations directly or indirectly, “fully localized” online game industry in Mainland China may be challenged in a noticeable way. In addition, although Mainland China has begun to loosen control over game consoles, the publication of electronic publications licensed by a foreign copyright owner (including online gaming works) will be determined under the General Administration of Press and Publication (新聞出版廣電總局). An enterprise who wishes to enter the Mainland China market has to create content which is able to pass a content review, at the same time maintaining the original integrity of the game. Moreover, consumers in Mainland China have long been accustomed to "cheap" or "free" Internet games, so are they going to change their behavior and be willing to pay for their games? These are big obstacles to be overcome by the industry.

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