Chen Yi-Chih, Chen Hung-Chih 2
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
The following section aims to explain how Taiwanese enterprises can establish or modify their current IP management system to achieve its full potential:
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:
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:
|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|
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:
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.
Chien-Shan Chiu I. Introduction Taiwan, a country with limited natural resources, has been seen to create rapid economic development for the past few decades. This achievement has been praised as an “economic miracle” and making Taiwan one of Asia’s “Four Tigers1”. The success is a result of the tremendous hard work and efforts exerted by the local people and enterprises and the forward-looking national policies initiated by the government. Recognizing fast technology breakthroughs and globalization trend are going to have major impacts on the traditional ways of managing business and may as a result change the current competitive landscape, the government of Taiwan has promoted vigorously of transforming Taiwan into a “green silicon island” with high value-added production2. The goal is to make Taiwan an innovation headquarters for local enterprises and a regional research and development center for international corporations. It is hoped that eventually, Taiwan will not only be known as a country manufacturing high-quality “ Made in Taiwan” products as it is now, but also an innovative country producing products that are “Designed in Taiwan”. In order to encourage more innovation and to create more high value-added products, several national strategies were initiated by the government. One of the most important policies in today’s knowledge-based economy is certainly to provide a sound and effective intellectual property protection environment so that the results created from human intelligence can be well protected and utilized. This essay provides an overview of the recent progress of the TIPS (stands for Taiwan Intellectual Property System) project, which is currently promoted by the Science and Technology Law Center. The TIPS project is an innovative program solely developed by the Taiwanese scholars in year 2003 and has since achieved quite significant success. The second part of this essay gives a brief introduction of the recent changes made to the intellectual property system in Taiwan. II. Overview of the Recent Progress of the TIPS Project 1. The “Developmental Stage” The TIPS project has been promoted at the initiative of the Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2003. The main goal of this project is to develop a set of guidelines for managing intellectual property to be implemented by the Taiwanese enterprises. At “developmental stage”, academic journal articles and relevant legislative requirements were gathered; intellectual property management experts were consulted and companies with good and effective intellectual property management practices were interviewed. All of the information and advises were collected and analyzed and formulated into a set of guidelines which basically covers the whole cycle of intellectual property management right starts from its creation, protection, maintenance and exploitation. The types of intellectual property rights managed include patent, trade mark, copyright and trade secret. A hearing for the draft guidelines was held in 2004. A pilot study was done by selecting eight representative domestic companies in 2005. All the public opinions, comments and advises from the trial companies were collected and used to revise the draft guidelines. The revised guidelines were then formally promulgated on March 23, 2007. The project then entered into a full “promotional stage” where the Science and Technology Law Centered entrusted by The Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs was responsible for promoting the project. As the fundamental objective of TIPS is to assist companies to establish an effective internal intellectual property management system at relatively low cost, the whole system was developed based upon the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Standard. Since the ISO standards are widely recognized and adopted by many Taiwanese enterprises, for an enterprise with ISO system implemented, TIPS can be easily integrated into the existing ISO standards, conflicts between these two systems will be minimized and it will only require minimum organization structural changes and implementation costs. Further, by incorporating the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model and “process-oriented approach” of ISO 9001:2000, the IP management processes implemented within an enterprise possess the feature of being able to be continuously improved. 2. The “Promotional Stage” In order to facilitate the promotion and draw more public attention to TIPS, various supplementary measures were introduced: (1) Free on-line self-assessment tool A collection of 50 questions is provided on the TIPS website3. Once a company has registered as a member of TIPS (simply by filling up some details about the company), it can use these questions to self-assess the effectiveness and adequacy of its existing (if any) IP management infrastructure. After the company has completed all the questions, the on-line tool would automatically generate few suggestions relating to the management of intellectual property based on the answers provided by the company. The company can also find out how they stand among all the enterprises which have taken the assessment previously. The on-line self-assessment tool is the initial step for those companies wanting to know more about TIPS. Once they realize that they are far behind the requirements of an effective IP management system, they can then move on to the next stage to implement TIPS. (2) On-Site Diagnostic and Consulting Service Once a company has completed the on-line self-assessment questions, it is then eligible to apply for a more detailed assessment of its internal IP management infrastructure conducted by a qualified IP service consultant. The IP service consultant will interview the managers responsible for managing IP related matters within a company and check relevant internal policies and documents. Concrete advises in relation to the implementation of TIPS will be given based on the inadequacies and problems uncovered during the on-site visit. The cost for the diagnostic and consulting service is fully covered by the government. (3) Model Companies Every year since 2004, some model companies are chosen as “demonstrative” companies for the implementation of TIPS. For instance, a total of 14 enterprises were selected as model companies this year. Among these companies, 3 “clusters of enterprises”, each of which contains 3 companies were chosen. The so-called “cluster of enterprises” is a group of companies that can be constituted by companies providing similar products or services within the same industry, or companies having the relationships as suppliers and consumers or companies within the same corporate structure. The introducing of implementing TIPS through “cluster of enterprises” is a promotion strategy that aims to disseminate the TIPS project more effectively and efficiently. For these selected model companies, certain percentage of the cost for implementing TIPS is subsidized by the government. (4) Certification After an enterprise has fully implemented TIPS, they can then apply for certification. All the prescribed documents must firstly be sent to the TIPS working team which is responsible for all the administrative works of TIPS. After a formality check, 2 or 3 (depending on the size of the enterprise) IP experts will be chosen to conduct an on-site inspection to determine whether the newly implemented IP management system meets the minimum requirements of TIPS. If the experts are satisfied with the inspection result, a certificate for the compliance of TIPS will be issued by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The certificate serves as government’s assurance to the public that the certified enterprise has at least the minimum ability (evaluated in accordance with government’s standard) to manage and protect its intellectual property. (5) IP Management Courses Three types of courses are provided to train IP management personnel. The basic course is an introductory course, which covers the basic principles of TIPS. The intermediate course called The Practical Implementation Course covers more detailed explanations of TIPS and how it can be implemented into the enterprise. Any person who has completed this course and passed the test will receive a certificate. The advance course called Self-Assessment Course teaches students how to evaluate and determine whether their newly developed IP management system conforms to the TIPS requirements. Again, a person who has completed this course and passed the test will receive a certificate. In order for an enterprise to be eligible to apply for a certificate for the compliance of TIPS, the enterprise must firstly furnish a self-assessment report to be completed by a “qualified person”. Such “qualified person” is the person who has successfully obtained the certificate for the completion of Self-Assessment Course. 3. Achievement The TIPS project has received wide recognition since it first launched in year 2004. To the end of 2008, 297 enterprises have completed the on-line self-assessment questions; 73 companies have received on-site diagnostic and consultation services; 618 persons have taken the IP management courses; 45 enterprises have successfully obtained the certificates for the compliance of TIPS and more than142 enterprises have either completed or in the middle of implementing TIPS. Benefits of implementing TIPS as reported by TIPS implemented enterprises are summarized as follows: (1) Company A: Implementing TIPS provides an assurance that Company A has adequate ability to protect the technology secrecy belongs to its international client. Company A thus obtained a new purchasing order worth more than NT$ 100 million. (2) Company B: TIPS assists in enhancing the level of trust on the company’s ability to protect its international client’s confidential information. A new purchasing order worth NT $ 30 million is placed by such client. (3) Company C: Through systematic IP management and IP inventory audit, Company C starts to formulate a plan for licensing out its non-core IP assets. (4) Company D: The alignment of R&D and business strategies required by TIPS ensures the accuracy of the R&D direction. The systematic way of managing the R&D projects also reduces the R&D phase to 45 days, saving R&D expenditure by 10%. (5) Company E: Implementing TIPS helps Company E to formulate a more clear and definite IP mapping strategy. Company E plans to implement TIPS into its whole corporate group in 2008. (6) Company D: Systematic IP management has reduced the number of litigation allegations. Company D plans to implement TIPS into every business unit within its corporate structure in 2008. 4. Proposed New Features of TIPS In answering to the responses receiving from the TIPS implemented enterprises, two new measures are going to be launched in 2009. First, enterprises with effective IP management system and strategies are encouraged to write up an Intellectual Property Management Report summarizing their business, R&D and IP management strategies as well as their accumulated IP assets. Second, an Experience-Sharing Platform is going to be established where enterprises can freely exchange their experiences of managing IP and how to formulate an effective IP management strategy. III. Recent Development of Taiwan’s IP Protection Environment Year 2008 can be said to be a significant year for the history of IP development in Taiwan where three completely new legislations have taken effect this year. The Intellectual Property Court Organization Act4 and the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act5 were both promulgated on March 28 2007 and effective as of July 1 under which a new IP Court was established with new laws to govern the adjudication of IP cases. The Patent Attorney Act which governs the qualification and registration of a new patent attorney profession was promulgate on July 11 2007 and effective as of January 11 2008. It is believed that through the commencement of these three new legislations, the accuracy, consistency as well as efficiency of resolving IP-related disputes in Taiwan are going to be significantly improved. A short introduction for each of the three new legislations is provided below: 1. New IP Court A new IP Court was established pursuant to the Intellectual Property Court Organization Act and began to hear cases on July 1 2008. This Court is given jurisdiction to hear first and second instances of a civil action, first instance of an administrative action and the second instance of a criminal action for matters concerning IP rights. For examples, interests arising under the Patent Act, the Trade Mark Act, the Copyright Act, the Trade Secret Act, the Optical Disk Act, the Species of Plants and Seedling Act, the Fair Trade Act and the Regulation Governing the Protection of Integrated Circuits Configurations. Unlike previously, where the validity issues must be determined by the administrative court, the newly established IP Court can hear and decide the validity of an intellectual property right at issue. This will significantly improve the efficiency of resolving an IP dispute. Eight experienced judges were chosen to sit on the bench of the IP Court. Since most IP related matters involve complex technical issues, nine technical examination officers with various technical backgrounds from the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office were chosen to assist and provide their technical expertise and opinions to the IP Court judges. 2. New Laws Governing IP Litigation (1) Litigation procedures The Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act prescribes rules for adjudicating IP-related disputes. The Act recommends to try an IP infringement case through a 3-step processes. First, to determine the validity of an IP right. Second, to determine whether an IP right has been infringed and finally, to calculate the damages. The IP Court may at any state dismiss the case if it finds the IP right at issue is invalid or not infringed. In order to avoid unnecessary efforts spent on determining whether an IP right is infringed if such right is in fact invalid, the Act requires the IP Court to determine whether a right is infringed only after the invalidity defense raised by the defendant is dismissed. (2) Preliminary injunction The Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act also introduces the criteria used by the US courts to determine whether a preliminary injunction order should be granted. Before the enactment of this new Act, the requirements for granting preliminary injunction in Taiwan were quite loose as the court could grant a preliminary injunction order without firstly reviewing the merit of the case. The new adopted US criteria require the judges to determine the likelihood of success on the merits of the case; whether a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury would be caused if injunction is not granted; the balance of harms weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction and the impact of the decision on public interest. As the criteria become stricter, it is believed that less preliminary injunctions will be granted. A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction order in the future shall put in more efforts in preparing evidences and reasons arguing that an injunction maintaining the status quo is necessary. (3) Protective orders (as to confidential information) As most IP litigation cases involve matters concerning confidential information or trade secrets, which are often crucial for the survival of an enterprise, the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act introduces a protective order into practice to preserve the confidentiality of specific information given by parties to the suit or a third party. A party to the suit or a third party can apply to the court to issue a protective order restraining the accessibility to the protected confidential information and restraining those who have accessed to the confidential information from disclosing it to others. Any intentional violation of the protective order is subject to a criminal liability. It is expected that by introducing the protective order, confidential information or trade secret holder may become more willing to reveal such information, which may assist improving the accuracy of resolving the disputes between parties. (4) Improved evidence preservation procedure Unlike the US court system, Taiwan, a civil law country, does not have discovery or Markman hearing procedures. Before the enactment of the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act, even though a judge can ask the parties to preserve evidences for the use of the trial, the judge is however, given no authority of compulsory execution. A party can refuse to comply with the judge’s request without any legal consequence. The new Act now provides compulsory execution of an evidence preservation order. Parties who are subject to the evidence preservation order are obligated to comply with the order. Furthermore, the judge may also request assistance from technical examiners or police department to provide advises. 3. New Patent Attorney Profession The Patent Attorney Act sets the requirements for becoming a qualified patent attorney in Taiwan. According to the Act, patent attorneys should be specialized in both technology and patent regulations. A candidate must firstly pass the Patent Attorney Eligibility Examination, followed by a period of prevocational training, such candidate is then able to register with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office and join the Patent Attorneys Association. It is hoped that by introducing the new patent attorney profession, the quality of patent applications will be improved and thus reduce the ever increasing workload of patent examiners. IV. Conclusion The initiative of the TIPS project, the establishment of the IP court and the newly implemented patent attorney system all demonstrate the government’s determination to create a more sound and efficient environment for the protection of intellectual property. The overwhelming success of the TIPS project evidenced by the number of enterprises implementing the system indicates that Taiwanese companies are self-motivated, able to see the importance of intellectual property as their main source of competiveness and are ready and willing to move into the next stage of “innovative” management. It is believed that through the government’s pragmatic and foresight policies coupled with the adventurous and hard work spirits possessed by the local enterprises, Taiwan will eventually reach its goal of becoming a “green silicon island”, creating another “economic miracle”. Along with Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/taiwan/pro-economy.htm (last visited: 12/31/2008) TIPS website: http://www.tips.org.tw/ http://www.taie.com.tw/English/970520a.pdf (last visited: 12/3132008) http://www.taie.com.tw/English/970520a.pdf (last visited: 12/3132008)Recent Federal Decisions and Emerging Trends in U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation
I. Introduction The enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”) marks a milestone in the recent development of trade secret law in the United States (“U.S.”). Recent federal decisions and emerging trends in DTSA litigation regarding the following issues deserve the attention of Taiwanese companies who might be involved in DTSA litigation in U.S. federal courts (“federal courts”): (1) whether the DTSA displaces any other civil remedies provided by the existing trade secret laws; (2) whether a plaintiff should pay attention to any pleading standard when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court; (3) whether a federal court will easily grant an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA (an “ex parte seizure order”); and (4) whether the DTSA applies to trade secret misappropriations that occurred before the DTSA came into effect. This article provides insights into these developments and trends, and concludes with their implications at the end. II. The DTSA does not displace any other civil remedies provided by the existing trade secret laws, and federal courts may nonetheless turn to pre-DTSA laws and decisions for guidance The DTSA states that it does not “preempt” or “displace” any other civil remedies provided by other federal and state laws for trade secret misappropriation. Prior to the enactment of the DTSA, the civil protection and remedies of trade secrets in the U.S. have traditionally been provided under state laws. The DTSA provides federal courts with original jurisdiction over civil actions brought under the DTSA, giving trade secret owners an option to litigate trade secret claims in federal courts. As a result, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies. Some commentators point out that federal courts, when hearing DTSA claims, construing DTSA provisions or analyzing DTSA claims, oftentimes turn to state laws and decisions existing prior to the enactment of the DTSA for guidance. Various decisions show that federal courts tend to look to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions. This suggests that pre-DTSA trade secret laws and prior decisions remain an indispensable reference for federal courts. III. A plaintiff should pay careful attention to the plausibility pleading standard when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court A plaintiff's pleading in his complaint must satisfy the plausibility pleading standard when the plaintiff brings a DTSA claim in federal court. Otherwise, the plaintiff's complaint may be dismissed by the federal court. Filing a motion requesting dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint on the grounds of the plaintiff's failure of stating plausible claims for relief is thus a defense that a defendant may employ to defeat the plaintiff's claim in the early stage. The DTSA opens the door of federal courts to trade secret plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies, but the DTSA does not “guarantee unfettered access to the federal courts.” When filing a DTSA lawsuit in federal court, a plaintiff must state “the grounds for the court's jurisdiction,” the plaintiff's claims (entitlement to relief), and the plaintiff's “demand for the relief sought” in his complaint. The claim and statement pled by the plaintiff in his complaint must meet the “plausibility” threshold. In other words, at the pleading stage, a plaintiff should plead facts sufficiently demonstrating that all prerequisites of his claim (e.g., jurisdiction and venue, elements of a claim required by the DTSA, etc.) are satisfied when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court. For instance, in addition to claiming the existence of his trade secret, a plaintiff should state how his trade secret was misappropriated through improper means. However, in the context of trade secrets, the plausibility pleading standard can be challenging to a plaintiff because it is never easy to balance between “satisfying the required pleading standard” and “avoiding disclosing too much information about the trade secret in a pleading.” Let's take pleading the existence of a trade secret as an example. Under the plausibility pleading regime, a plaintiff is required to plead all relevant facts of trade secret (elements) defined by the DTSA to affirmatively prove the existence of his trade secret. In other words, a plaintiff needs to state sufficient facts indicating that the information in dispute has economic value while not being known to the public, and reasonable steps have been taken to maintain the secrecy of that information, all of which plausibly suggest that the information in dispute qualifies as a trade secret. Federal courts do not require a plaintiff to disclose his trade secret in detail in his complaint. Nevertheless, a plaintiff should be able to provide the “general contour” of the alleged trade secret that he seeks to protect. Federal courts would be reluctant to see that a plaintiff, merely “identify[ing] a kind of technology” or “point[ing] to broad areas of technology,” or barely asserting that the misappropriated information is confidential, then “invit[ing] the court to hunt through the details in search of items meeting the statutory definition.” Instead of simply alleging that the subject matter at issue involves a trade secret, a plaintiff's complaint should contain descriptions identifying the plaintiff's trade secret. For instance, in his pleading, a plaintiff has to tell what information is involved and what efforts have been made to maintain the confidentiality of such information. For further example, a plaintiff should provide documents or information constituting the alleged trade secret rather than merely listing general topics or categories of information. IV. Obtaining a DTSA ex parte seizure order is challenging as federal courts tend to take a conservative approach to prevent abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy Since the DTSA came into effect, federal courts rarely grant an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA. The provision for ex parte seizure orders is a controversial part of the DTSA as it allows a court, upon ex parte application and if all DTSA requirements are met, to issue a civil order “for the seizure of property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret.” So far federal courts have been hesitant to order DTSA ex parte seizures and are giving great deference to the statutory text of the DTSA seizure order provision. Only when a federal court finds it “clearly appears from specific facts” that certain requirements are met and only in “extraordinary circumstances” may a federal court issue an ex parte seizure order. When being confronted with an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA, federal courts tend to favor a conservative approach to prevent the abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy. If any alternative equitable relief is available to achieve the same purpose, federal courts will likely find it unnecessary to issue an ex parte seizure order. In addition, a plaintiff's mere assertion that the defendant, if given notice, would destroy evidence or evade a court order, but without showing that the defendant “had concealed evidence or disregarded court orders in the past,” will likely be insufficient to persuade the court to issue an ex parte seizure order. Furthermore, federal courts will decline to order an ex parte seizure if a plaintiff fails to meet his burden demonstrating that the information in dispute constitutes a trade secret. All of the foregoing suggests that one will likely face an uphill struggle in federal court when seeking to obtain an ex parte seizure order under the DTSA. Though federal courts sparingly order DTSA ex parte seizures, to date at least one federal court did issue a published DTSA ex parte seizure order, which appeared in Mission Capital Advisors, LLC v. Romaka. In Romaka, the defendant allegedly downloaded the plaintiff's client and contact lists to the defendant's personal computer without the plaintiff's authorization; the plaintiff filed an ex parte motion seeking to seize some properties containing the plaintiff's trade secrets or enjoin the defendant from disclosing that information. During the trial, the defendant neither acknowledged receipt of the court's prior orders nor appeared before the court as ordered, all of which together with other facts in Romaka convinced the court that other forms of equitable relief would be inadequate and the defendant would likely evade or otherwise disobey the court order. After reviewing the facts of this case along with DTSA requirements item by item, the Romaka court found it clearly appears from specific facts that all requirements for an ex parte seizure order under the DTSA are met, and thus, issued a said seizure order as requested by the plaintiff. Romaka gives us some hints about what circumstances would cause a federal court to order a DTSA ex parte seizure. This case tells us that evading or disregarding court-mandated actions is likely demonstrating to the court a propensity to disobey a future court order and may probably increase the likelihood of meriting a DTSA ex parte seizure order. Moreover, echoing other decisions rendered by federal courts, Romaka reveals that federal courts tend to approach ex parte seizure order applications in a gingerly way. Federal courts take a conservative approach toward ex parte seizure order to curtail abuse of such order does not mean that no injunctive relief is available to victims of trade secret misappropriation. Injunctive relief provided by other federal laws or state laws is nonetheless available to those victims. As long as the facts of the case before the court meet all elements required for injunctive relief, it is not rare for federal courts to grant injunctive relief other than an ex parte seizure order. V. The DTSA might apply to a pre-DTSA trade secret misappropriation that continues after the DTSA became effective The DTSA expressly states that it applies to any trade secret misappropriation that “occurs on or after the date of the enactment” of the DTSA. Therefore, the DTSA does not apply to trade secret misappropriations that began and ended before the effective date of DTSA. In practice, it is possible that a federal court will dismiss a plaintiff's DTSA claim if the plaintiff fails to state that the alleged trade secret misappropriations (either in whole or in part) took place after the DTSA came into effect. Federal courts have begun addressing or recognizing that the DTSA might apply to trade secret misappropriations that occurred prior to and continued after the enactment date of the DTSA. However, a plaintiff should “plausibly” and “sufficiently” plead in his claim that some parts of the alleged continuing misappropriation of trade secrets occurred after the DTSA became effective. Some critics opine that, in the case of a continuing trade secret misappropriation that took place before and continued after the DTSA was enacted, the available recovery shall be limited to “post-DTSA misappropriation.” By being mindful of the foregoing, maybe someday a plaintiff will bring a DTSA claim for a pre-DTSA misappropriation of trade secrets that continues after the DTSA is in effect. In this kind of litigation, one should pay attention to whether the plaintiff has plausibly and sufficiently alleged the part of misappropriation that occurred after the enactment date of the DTSA. When a plaintiff fails to plausibly and sufficiently alleges the post-DTSA misappropriation part, the defendant stands a chance to convince the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claim. VI. Conclusion To sum up, recent federal decisions and emerging trends in DTSA litigation provide the following implications to Taiwanese companies who might be involved in DTSA litigation in federal court: 1. The DTSA does not preempt or displace any other civil remedies provided by other federal laws and state laws. Rather, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies. Federal courts tend to turn to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions for guidance when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions. Do not ignore pre-DTSA trade secret laws or prior decisions as they remain an indispensable reference for federal court. 2. A plaintiff's pleading must satisfy the plausibility pleading standard when the plaintiff brings a DTSA claim in federal court. Whether the plaintiff's pleading satisfies the plausibility pleading standard is likely one of the hard-fought battles between the parties in the early stage of the litigation. The plausibility pleading regime does not require a plaintiff to disclose his trade secrets in detail in his complaint. However, a plaintiff should be able to describe and identify his trade secrets. 3. Seeking to secure a DTSA ex parte seizure order in federal court will likely face an uphill battle. Obtaining alternative injunctive relief would be easier than obtaining a DTSA ex parte seizure. When being confronted with an ex parte application for seizure order under the DTSA, federal courts tend to favor a conservative approach to prevent the abuse of this ex parte seizure remedy. Notwithstanding the foregoing, as long as the facts of the case before the court meet all elements required for injunctive relief, it is not rare for federal courts to grant injunctive relief other than an ex parte seizure order. 4. The DTSA might apply to trade secret misappropriations that occurred prior to and continued after the enactment date of the DTSA. When a DTSA litigation involves this kind of continuing misappropriation, one of those hard-fought battles between the parties during litigation will likely be whether the plaintiff has plausibly and sufficiently stated the part of misappropriation that occurred after the DTSA came into effect. When a plaintiff fails to plausibly and sufficiently alleges the post-DTSA misappropriation part, the defendant stands a chance to convince the court to dismiss the plaintiff's claim.  The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-153, 130 Stat. 376 (May 11, 2016) (mostly codified in scattered sections of 18 U.S.C. §§1836-1839 [hereinafter the “DTSA”].  Mark L. Krotoski, Greta L. Burkholder, Jenny Harrison & Corey R. Houmand, The Landmark Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, at 3 (May 2016); Bradford K. Newman, Jessica Mendelson & MiRi Song, The Defend Trade Secret Act: One Year Later, 2017-Apr Bus. L. Today 1, 1 (2017).  18 U.S.C. §1838.  S. Rep. No. 114-220, at 2 (2016) [hereinafter “S. Rep.”]; Kaylee Beauchamp, The Failures of Federalizing Trade Secrets: Why the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Should Preempt State Law, 86 Miss. L.J. 1031, 1033, 1045 (2017); Zoe Argento, Killing the Golden Goose: The Dangers of Strengthening Domestic Trade Secret Rights in Response to Cyber-Misappropriation, 16 Yale J. L. & Tech. 172, 177 (2014); James Pooley, The Myth of the Trade Secret Troll: Why the Defend Trade Secrets Act Improves the Protection of Commercial Information, 23 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1045, 1045 (2016); John Conley, New Federal Trade Secret Act and Its Impact on Life Sciences, Genomics L. Rep. (Aug. 12, 2016), https://www.genomicslawreport.com/index.php/2016/08/12/new-federal-trade-secret-act-and-its-impact-on-life-sciences/; Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 1.  18 U.S.C. §1836(c).  Krotoski, Burkholder, Harrison & Houmand, supra note 2, at 7; Beauchamp, supra note 4, at 1033, 1045, 1072; Lily Li & Andrea W. Paris, Help! What Are My (Immediate) Defenses to a Federal Trade Secret Claim?, 58-Sep Orange County Law. 52, 52 (2016); Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 1.  Conley, supra note 4.  William M. Hensley, Post-Enactment Case Law Developments under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 59-Jul Orange County Law. 42, 44 (2017); Robert B. Milligan & Daniel Joshua Salinas, Emerging Issues In the Defend Trade Secrets Act's Second Year, Seyfarth Shaw LLP: Trading Secrets (June 14, 2017), https://www.tradesecretslaw.com/2017/06/articles/dtsa/emerging-issues-in-the-defend-trade-secrets-acts-second-year/; Jeffrey S. Boxer, John M. Griem, Jr., Alexander G. Malyshev & Dylan L. Ruffi, The Defend Trade Secrets Act – 2016 In Review, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP (Jan. 19, 2017), http://www.clm.com/publication.cfm?ID=5579; Rajiv Dharnidharka, Andrew D. Day & Deborah E. McCrimmon, The Defend Trade Secrets Act One Year In – Four Things We've Learned, DLA Piper (May 30, 2017), https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2017/05/defend-trade-secrets-act-four-things-learned/; Joshua R. Rich, The DTSA After One Year: Has the Federal Trade Secrets Law Met Expectations?, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, Vol. 15 Issue 3 Snippets 6, 7 (Summer 2017).  HealthBanc International, LLC v. Synergy Worldwide, 208 F.Supp.3d 1193, 1201 (D.Utah 2016); Phyllis Schlafly Revocable Trust v. Cori, No. 4:16CV01631 JAR, 2016 WL 6611133, at *2-5 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 9, 2016); Panera, LLC v. Nettles, No. 4:16-cv-1181-JAR, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4 fn.2 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 3, 2016); Henry Schein, Inc. v. Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d 1072, 1077, 1079-1080 (N.D.Cal. 2016); Engility Corp. v. Daniels, No. 16-cv-2473-WJM-MEH, 2016 WL 7034976, at *8-10 (D. Colo. Dec. 2, 2016); M.C. Dean, Inc. v. City of Miami Beach, Florida, 199 F. Supp. 3d 1349, 1353-1357 (S.D. Fla. 2016); GTO Access Systems, LLC v. Ghost Controls, LLC, No. 4:16cv355-WS/CAS, 2016 WL 4059706, at *1 fn.1, *2-4 (N.D. Fla. June 20, 2016); Earthbound Corp. v. MiTek USA, Inc., No. C16-1150 RSM, 2016 WL 4418013, at *9-10 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 19, 2016); Kuryakyn Holdings, LLC v. Ciro, LLC, 242 F.Supp.3d 789, 797-800 (W.D. Wisc. 2017).  Michelle Evans, Plausibility under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 16 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 188, 190 (2017); Eric J. Fues, Maximilienne Giannelli & Jon T. Self, Practice Tips for the Trade Secret Holder: Preparing a Complaint Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, Inside Counsel (June 14, 2017), https://www.finnegan.com/en/insights/practice-tips-for-the-trade-secret-holder-preparing-a-complaint.html; David R. Fertig & Michael A. Betts, The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Jurisdictional Considerations—Part I, 29 No. 7 Intell. Prop. & Tech. L.J. 3, 3-5 (2017) [hereinafter “Considerations—Part I”].  M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1357; Chatterplug, Inc. v. Digital Intent, LLC, No. 1:16-cv-4056, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2016); Raben Tire Co. v. McFarland, No. 5:16-CV-00141-TBR, 2017 WL 741569, at *2-3 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 24, 2017).  Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b).  Jessica Engler, The Defend Trade Secrets Act at Year One, 12 No. 4 In-House Def. Q. 20, 22 (2017).  Conley, supra note 4.  Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3.  Pleading the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, the plaintiff's claim (entitlement to relief), and the plaintiff's demand for the relief sought are requirements for the pleading under Article 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the “FRCP”). Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The FRCP applies to “all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 1. Thus, the FRCP requirements also apply to DTSA civil actions brought in federal courts. Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-4.  In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted Article 8(a) of the FRCP, introduced the concept of “plausibility pleading,” and established the plausibility pleading standard. Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547, 570 (2007). Under the plausibility pleading standard, a plaintiff is not required to provide “detailed factual allegations” in his complaint, but he needs to state the grounds of his claim (entitlement to relief), which should be “more than labels and conclusions.” Id. at 555, 570. At least, the plaintiff's complaint should contain enough facts showing that the plaintiff's claim is “plausible on its face.” Id. Two years after Twombly, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal the U.S. Supreme Court expressly affirmed that the plausibility pleading standard established in Twombly applies to “all civil actions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009). Accordingly, the plausibility pleading standard applies to all DTSA claims brought in federal courts. Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5. It is worth mentioning that some commentators are of the opinion that federal pleading stands are often higher than those required under state laws. Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.  Gold Medal Prods. Co. v. Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., No. 1:16-CV-00365, 2017 WL 1365798, at *5-8 (S.D. Ohio, Apr. 14, 2017). See also Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 4; David R. Fertig & Michael A. Betts, The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Jurisdictional Considerations—Part II, 29 No. 8 Intell. Prop. & Tech. L.J. 12, 12 (2017) [hereinafter “Considerations—Part II”].  McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2-3; M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1357; Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3. See also Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5.  Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 5; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part II, supra note 18, at 13-14.  Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.  Id.  18 U.S.C. §1839(3).  McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2.  Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10.  Engler, supra note 13, at 21-22. Providing help in identifying the trade secret in question by requesting as much detail as possible is a common point shared by the plausibility pleading standard in the U.S., and the “Case Detail Explanation Form” (to be filled out by the complainant or the victim) attached to Article 6 of the “Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority” in Taiwan. However, they apply to different circumstances: 1. The plausibility pleading standard in the U.S. sets forth the threshold requirements to be met by a plaintiff in his pleading when the plaintiff brings a civil claim in federal court and applies to all federal civil actions. On the other hand, the aforementioned Case Detail Explanation Form in Taiwan is a form to be filled out by the complainant or the complainant's agent. This Form provides a reference to prosecutors for the investigation of major trade secret cases (criminal cases), but it does not serve as the basis for a prosecutor to determine whether to prosecute a case. 2. The plausibility pleading standard is not only followed by those bringing a federal civil action but also adopted by federal courts when hearing civil cases. Contrarily, the aforementioned Case Detail Explanation Form in Taiwan is provided to prosecutors as a reference for investigation. A prosecutor is not bound to prosecute a case simply based on the information provided in this Form. Likewise, this Form and the information provided therein are not binding on any court in Taiwan. A commentator noted that the Ministry of Justice in Taiwan referred to the “Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual)” of the U.S. Department of Justice when adopting the “Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority” on April 19, 2016. “Article 6 indicates that the complainant or the victim should first fill out the Case Detail Explanation Form, which would help the prosecution authority not only figures out whether the allegedly misappropriated trade secret meets the elements of secrecy, economic value, and secrecy measures under law, but also evaluates whether it is necessary to resort to compulsive measures”. Ti-Chu Chen (陳砥柱), Guideline for Handling Major Trade Secret Cases in the Prosecuting Authority, Louis & Charles Attorneys at Law (遠東萬佳法律事務所) (July 14, 2016), http://www.louisilf.com/zh-tw/posts/2016-07-14 (last visited Dec. 31, 2017). See also Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual) (4th ed. 2013), available at: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-ccips/legacy/2015/03/26/prosecuting_ip_crimes_manual_2013.pdf. However, the cover of the “Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes (Manual)” expressly states that its contents are provided as “internal suggestion to Department of Justice attorneys.” Id. Therefore, the contents of this manual theoretically are not binding on any federal court.  Mission Measurement Corp. v. Blackbaud, Inc, 216 F.Supp.3d 915, 921 (N.D.Ill. 2016).  Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3.  McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2; Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921; Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 798.  Evans, supra note 10, at 191. Some federal court decisions show that requesting the plaintiff to provide sufficient facts describing the trade secret in question is not something newly developed following the enactment of the DTSA. Rather, it has been the position held by federal courts before the DTSA came into effect. AWP, Inc. v. Commonwealth Excavating, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:13cv031., 2013 WL 3830500, at *5 (W.D. Va. July 24, 2013); Events Media Network, Inc. v. Weather Channel Interactive, Inc., Civil No. 1:13–03 (RBK/AMD), 2013 WL 3658823, at *3 (D. N.J. July 12, 2013); Council for Educational Travel, USA v. Czopek, Civil No. 1:11–CV–00672, 2011 WL 3882474, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 2, 2011); DLC DermaCare LLC v. Castillo, No. CV–10–333–PHX–DGC, 2010 WL 5148073, at *4 (D. Ariz. Dec. 14, 2010).  Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.  Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 800.  Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Hensley, supra note 8, at 44.  Hensley, supra note 8, at 44; Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Engler, supra note 13, at 20.  18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A).  Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.  Under the DTSA, a court may, only in “extraordinary circumstances,” issue an ex parte seizure order when “find[ing] that it clearly appears from specific facts that”: (1) “an order issued pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or another form of equitable relief would be inadequate to achieve the purpose of this paragraph because the party to which the order would be issued would evade, avoid, or otherwise not comply with such an order;” (2) “an immediate and irreparable injury will occur if such seizure order is not issued;” (3) “the harm to the applicant of denying the application outweighs the harm to the legitimate interests of the person against whom seizure would be ordered of granting the application and substantially outweighs the harm to any third parties who may be harmed by such seizure;” (4) “the applicant is likely to succeed in showing that the information is a trade secret and the person against whom seizure would be ordered misappropriated the trade secret of the applicant by improper means or conspired to use improper means to misappropriate the trade secret of the applicant;” (5) “the person against whom seizure would be ordered has actual possession of the trade secret and any property to be seized;” (6) “the application describes with reasonably particularity the matter to be seized and, to the extent reasonable under the circumstances, identifies the location where the matter is to be seized;” (7) “the person against whom seizure would be ordered, or persons acting in concert with such person would destroy, move, hide, or otherwise make such matter inaccessible to the court, if the applicant were to proceed on notice to such person;” and (8) “the applicant has not publicized the requested seizure”. 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A)(ii).  18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A)(i).  Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Michael T. Renaud & Nick Armington, DTSA and Ex Parte Seizure – Lessons from the First Ex Parte Seizure Under The DTSA, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC (Aug. 21, 2017), https://www.globalipmatters.com/2017/08/21/dtsa-and-ex-parte-seizure-lessons-from-the-first-ex-parte-seizure-under-the-dtsa; Matthew Werdegar & Warren Braunig, One Year On: the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, Daily J. (Apr. 26, 2017), available at: https://www.keker.com/Templates/media/files/Articles/Keker%20(DJ-4_26_17).pdf.  Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39.  OOO Brunswick Rail Mgmt. v. Sultanov, No. 5:17-cv-00017, 2017 WL 67119, *2 (N.D. Cal., Jan. 6, 2017); Magnesita Refractories Company v. Mishra, CAUSE NO. 2:16-CV-524-PPS-JEM, 2017 WL 365619, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 25, 2017).  Baleriz Carribean Ltd. Corp. v. Calvo, Case 1:16-cv-23300-KMW, at 7 (S.D.Fla. Aug. 5, 2016). See also Renaud & Armington, supra note 39. A commentator opines that federal courts are reluctant to issue an ex parte seizure order against someone who has never concealed evidence or disregarded court orders before. Engler, supra note 13, at 21.  Digital Assurance Certification, LLC v. Pendolino, Case No: 6:17-cv-72-Orl-31TBS, at *1-2 (M.D.Fla. Jan. 23, 2017).  Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.  Mission Capital Advisors, LLC v. Romaka, No. 16-cv-05878-LLS (S.D.N.Y. July 29, 2016). Some commentators consider Romaka the very first case in which a federal court ordered a DTSA ex parte seizure after the DTSA became effective. Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.  Romaka, No. 16-cv-05878-LLS, at 1-3.  Id. at 2.  Id.  Id.  In Romaka, the federal district court found the followings after reviewing the facts of this case along with the requirements under the DTSA: (1) “[a]n order issued pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or another form of equitable relief would be inadequate because [the defendant] would evade, avoid, or otherwise not comply with such an order;” (2) “[a]n immediate and irreparable injury to [the plaintiff] would occur if such seizure is not ordered;” (3) “[t]he harm to [the plaintiff] of denying the application outweighs the harm to the legitimate interests of [the defendant];” (4) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that the information at issue is a trade secret based on [the plaintiff's] averments;” (5) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that [the defendant] has misappropriated [the plaintiff's trade secret] by improper means;” (6) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing that the [defendant] has actual possession of the [plaintiff's trade secrets]; (7) “[d]espit the risk that [the defendant] would make the [plaintiff's trade secret] inaccessible to the court, or retain unauthorized copies, [the plaintiff] is proceeding on notice;” and (8) “[the plaintiff] is likely to succeed in showing, and has represented, that it has not publicized the requested seizure.” Id. at 2-4.  Id. at 4. In Romaka, the plaintiff also applied for the seizure of its proprietary information other than its client and contact lists. However, the Romaka court denied the plaintiff's request for the seizure of other proprietary information because the plaintiff failed to describe “with sufficient particularity” such information and related facts, such as “confidentiality and irreparable harm.” Id.  Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.  Id.  Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.  Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.  For instance, the injunctive remedies available under the DTSA. 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(3). For further example, a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order available under the FRCP. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a), (b).  As stated above, the DTSA does not preempt or displace any other remedies provided by other federal laws and state laws for trade secret misappropriation. 18 U.S.C. §1838.  Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1077, 1076-1077, 1079; Daniels, 2016 WL 7034976, at *10-11, 14; Nettles, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4. See also Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.  DTSA §2(e), Pub. L. No. 114-153, 130 Stat. 376, 381-382.  Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39; Krotoski, Burkholder, Harrison & Houmand, supra note 2, at 14; Engler, supra note 13, at 21.  Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. v. Nanoprecision Products, Inc., Case No. 16-cv-03737-JCS, 2017 WL 412524, at *9 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 31, 2017); Cave Consulting Group, Inc. v. Truven Health Analytics Inc., Case No. 15-cv-02177-SI, 2017 WL 1436044, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 24, 2017); Physician's Surrogacy, Inc. v. German, Case No.: 17CV0718-MMA (WVG), 2017 WL 3622329, at *8-9 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2017). See also Tara C. Clancy, April Boyer & Michael R. Creta, Emerging Trends in Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation, National Law Review (Sept. 26, 2017), https://www.natlawreview.com/article/emerging-trends-defend-trade-secrets-act-litigation; Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.  Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1076-1079; Allstate Insurance Company v. Rote, No. 3:16-cv-01432-HZ, 2016 WL 4191015, at *1-5 (D. Or. Aug. 7, 2016); Syntel Sterling Best Shores Mauritius Limited v. Trizetto Group, Inc., 15-CV-211 (LGS) (RLE), 2016 WL 5338550, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2016); Adams Arms, LLC v. Unified Weapon Systems, Inc., Case No. 8:16-cv-1503-T-33AEP, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 27, 2016); Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services, Inc. v. Irex Contracting Group, CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-2499, 2017 WL 1105648, at *3-8 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 24, 2017); Sleekez, LLC v. Horton, CV 16–09–BLG–SPW–TJC, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6 (D. Mont. Apr. 21, 2017). See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.  Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6; Horton, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6. See also Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39. A recent federal court decision reveals that federal courts will likely dismiss a DTSA claim if a plaintiff makes no specific allegations other than a “conclusory allegation” of the continuing trade secret misappropriation. Hydrogen Master Rights, Ltd. v. Weston, 228 F.Supp.3d 320, 338 (D.Del. 2017). See also Engler, supra note 13, at 23.  Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6. See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.  Engler, supra note 13, at 23.  Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.  Engler, supra note 13, at 23.  18 U.S.C. § 1838.  Conley, supra note 4.  Synergy Worldwide, 208 F.Supp.3d at 1201; Cori, 2016 WL 6611133, at *2-5; Nettles, 2016 WL 4124114, at *4 fn.2; Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1077, 1079-1080; Daniels, 2016 WL 7034976, at *8-10; M.C. Dean, 199 F. Supp. 3d at 1353-1357; Ghost Controls, 2016 WL 4059706, at *1 fn.1, *2-4; MiTek USA, 2016 WL 4418013, at *9-10; Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 797-800.  Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5.  Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.  Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3. See also Evans, supra note 10, at 191.  Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.  Sultanov, 2017 WL 67119, at *2; Mishra, 2017 WL 365619, at *2; Calvo, Case 1:16-cv-23300-KMW, at 7; Pendolino, 2017 WL 320830, at *1-2. See also Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Renaud & Armington, supra note 39; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39.  Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.  Cook, 191 F.Supp.3d at 1076-1079; Rote, 2016 WL 4191015, at *1-5; Trizetto Group, 2016 WL 5338550, at *6; Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6; Irex Contracting Group, 2017 WL 1105648, at *3-8; Horton, 2017 WL 1906957, at *5-6. See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.  Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.  Engler, supra note 13, at 23.The Taiwan Intellectual Property Awareness and Management Survey
The “National Intellectual Property Strategy Program” was announced by the Taiwan government in November 2011 in an effort to promote and raise the intellectual property capability of Taiwanese firms. As policy adviser to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in drafting the “National Intellectual Property Strategy Program,” the Science and Technology Institute under the Institute for Information Industry (STLI) conducted a survey in 2012 in order to gain a broad overview of the level of IP awareness and IP management and use among Taiwanese firms. The survey was distributed to 1,384 firms that are listed either on the Taiwan Stock Exchange or the Gre Tai Securities Markets. 281 companies responded to the survey, achieving a survey response rate of almost 20%. The content of the survey was divided into three parts: IP knowledge and understanding, current IP management within the companies and IP issues that companies face. The Importance of IP to Businesses Intellectual property has become a commonplace asset owned by firms. The growing significance of intellectual property to companies in general is undeniable, and firms are recognizing this as well. An overwhelming 93% of the respondents claim to own some form of intellectual property. The most common type of intellectual property owned by companies is trademarks, followed by patents and trade secret. Many companies are also actively seeking to obtain more intellectual property. Over 68% of the respondents indicated that they have submitted applications for formal intellectual property rights in the past two years. 84% of the respondents agreed with the statement that they believe intellectual property can bring added value for the firm. In addition, over 78% of the respondents also believe that intellectual property helps enhancing the company’s market position. It is clear that the majority of Taiwan firms already consider intellectual property to be a vital asset for their business and that building up and expanding their IP portfolio has become a top priority. This is also reflected in the annual spending that firms allocate for intellectual property. The survey respondents were asked whether a specific budget is allocated toward spending related to intellectual property every year, and the majority of the respondents, almost 70%, responded in the positive. Particularly, the respondents pointed out that they commit the most resources to obtaining and maintaining intellectual property rights every year. 10% of the respondents even indicated that they spent over NT$5 million annually on obtaining and maintaining intellectual property rights. The respondents were also asked about spending on inventor incentive, IP personnel, IP disputes and litigations and staff IP training. The results showed that companies commit the least spending on providing IP training for staff, with more than half of the respondents noting that they spend less than NT$500,000 on IP training each year and only 14% of the respondents noted that they will increase spending on IP training the following year. Weakness in Generating Value from IP As noted above, Taiwan firms are actively seeking to obtain more intellectual property and building up their IP assets. With almost 70% of the respondents noting that they have applied for intellectual property rights in the last two years shows that companies are generating quite a lot intellectual property, but whether all the intellectual property generated is being exploited and creating commercial and economic benefits remains doubtful. Most of the firms, almost 86% of the respondents, acquired their intellectual property through their own research and development (R&D). In contrast, the proportion of firms using other means of acquiring intellectual property is quite low, with only 17% of the respondents acquiring intellectual property through acquisition and 28% through licensing, while 41% percent of the respondents acquired their intellectual property by joint research or contracted research with others. With R&D being the major source of intellectual property for firms, firms are clearly putting in a lot of investment into acquiring intellectual property. However, the returns on these investments may not be proportionate. When asked whether the firm license out their intellectual property, only 13.5% of the respondents claimed to be doing so. This suggests that most Taiwanese firms are not using their intellectual property to generate revenue and commercial value. Instead, intellectual property is still mostly regarded and used as merely a defensive tool against infringement. Companies in Taiwan are also facing increasing risks of being involved in IP-related disputes and litigations. More than 30% of the respondents have already been involved in some kind of IP-related disputes and litigations in the past. The most common type of litigations faced by Taiwanese companies are patent infringement, followed by trademarks infringement, piracy and counterfeit, and disputes with (former) employees. Furthermore, more than 50% of the firms that have been involved in IP litigations noted that patent infringement and trademarks infringement pose the most detriment to the company’s business operations in general. It is evident that intellectual property has become a competitive weapon in businesses, and IP disputes and litigations are inevitable threats that most firms must face in today’s business world. Hence, it is essential for firms to have the necessary strategies and protection in place in order to minimize the risks created by potential legal disputes. With this in mind, it is worrisome to observe that most firms have not incorporated intellectual property into the company risk management program. Nearly 86.1% of the respondents claim to have some kind of risk management program in place within the company, but when asked what is included in the risk management program. Only 40.7% of the firms with risk management programs said that intellectual property is included, which is considerably lower than other types of risks generally seen in risk management programs. With IP disputes and litigations becoming an increasing threat that may bring negative impact for businesses, Taiwanese firms need to incorporate and strengthen IP risk management within the company. IP still not widely considered as business strategy With intellectual property being an important asset, firms should also have the necessary infrastructure and resources to manage IP accordingly and integrate IP into the company’s overall business operations. However, more than 50% of the respondents do not have designated personnel or department that is specifically responsible for managing the company’s intellectual property. Nearly 33% of the respondents indicated that the responsibility for managing IP is shared by other departments within the firm. When further asked about the tasks of the designated personnel or department that is responsible for IP, it is observed that the designated personnel/department mostly undertake routine tasks such as filing for patent applications and trademark registrations and maintaining relevant databases. Tasks such as patent mapping and competitive landscape analysis are the least performed tasks. The proportion of designated personnel/department for IP that are involved in the company’s business and research strategic decision making process is also quite low. This suggests that despite the importance of IP to firms, many Taiwanese firms still have not integrated IP into their overall research and business strategies and utilize their intellectual property as a strategic tool in their business operations. Low Levels of IP Awareness and Training within Firms In order to gauge the level of IP knowledge and understanding in Taiwanese firms, the survey also contained 10 very basic questions on intellectual property. Surprisingly, the respondents that answered all the questions correctly were less than 4%. The proportion of respondents that correctly answered 5 or less questions did not even reach 50%. This means that Taiwanese firms still lack fundamental IP knowledge and understanding in general. This is also reflected in the response to the question whether the company has an overall IP policy in place, which also serves as an indication of the level awareness and concern with intellectual property within the firm. An IP policy that is distributed to company staff means that IP awareness is promoted within the company. However, almost 40% of the respondents claimed that there is no overall IP policy within the company, and nearly 30% of the respondents noted that even if there is an IP policy, it is not made widely known to company staff. This reveals that many Taiwanese companies still need to undertake more IP awareness promotion within the firm. More IP awareness promotion is also justified by the results to the question as to whether the company provides IP training for company staff. The results showed that almost 44% of the respondents do not provide any form of training in IP to company staff at all. This also corresponds to the result noted earlier that most respondents commit the least funding to providing IP training each year. Providing regular IP training to staff is certainly still not the norm for most Taiwanese firms. Issues facing businesses and their policy needs Taiwanese firms still faces many difficulties and challenges in their intellectual property management and hope that the government could provide them with the assistance and resources needed to help them enhance their intellectual property capacity and capability. Some of the major difficulties that the respondents pointed out in the survey include the lack of IP experts and professionals. It is difficult for firms to find and hire people with adequate professional IP skills, as the education and training currently provided by universities and professional schools do not seem to meet the actual IP needs of companies. Another major difficulty faced by Taiwanese firms is the lack of information and knowledge regarding international technical standards and standard setting organizations. A significant portion of the respondents expressed the wish for the government to help them gain entry and participation in international standard setting organizations. Among the other difficulties, the regulatory complexity and lack of clarity with the ownership of intellectual property arising from government-contracted research, which poses as barrier for firms in obtaining licenses for use and exploitation, is also an issue that the majority of the respondents hope the government could improve. In addition to the difficulties mentioned above that Taiwanese firms hope the government would help them encounter, the respondents were also asked specifically what other resources and assistance they would like to seek from the government. 69.4% of the respondents hope that the government could provide more training courses and seminars on IP. Many respondents are also seeking a common platform that can unify all resources that could help enhance IP management. Expert assistance and consultation on obtaining intellectual property rights and providing information on international IP protection and litigation are also resources that Taiwanese firms desire. More than 50% of the respondents also indicated that they would like to receive assistance in establishing IP management system within their firms. Conclusion The results of the survey provided insight into the level of IP management among companies in Taiwan. Although the importance of intellectual property for businesses is undeniable and widely recognized by firms, the results of the survey revealed that there is still much room for improvement and for Taiwanese firms to put in more efforts into strengthening and enhancing their IP capabilities. In general, Taiwanese firms have not incorporated their intellectual property into their management strategies and derived adequate value. Intellectual property remains mostly a defensive tool against infringement. Furthermore, there is still need for greater promotion of IP awareness among firms and within firms. With these IP management difficulties and deficiencies in mind, it should be noted that the respondents of this survey are all listed companies that are already of a certain size and scale and should have greater resources in their disposal to commit to their IP management. It would be reasonable to assume that small and medium firms, with significantly less resources, would face even more difficulties and challenges. Using this survey results as reference, the “National Intellectual Property Strategy Survey” would seek to help Taiwanese companies address these IP issues and provide adequate assistance and resources in overcoming the challenges Taiwanese companies face with their IP management. It is also hoped that this survey would be carried out regularly in the future, and that the survey results from 2012 would serve as a baseline for future surveys that will assist in observing the progress Taiwanese businesses are making in IP management and provide a whole picture of the level of IP awareness and management within Taiwanese firms.Antitrust Issue of Reasonable Royalty and Prohibition of Excessive Pricing in Taiwan
Antitrust Issue of Reasonable Royalty and Prohibition of Excessive Pricing in Taiwan A proposed antitrust framework to determine a reasonable royalty I. INTRODUCTION “Can, and should antitrust laws and authorities step in market prices?” - It has long been a controversial antitrust issue, especially when an antitrust case is involved with allegedly unlawful monopolization (or called abuse of monopoly in some countries), Intellectual Property (IP) rights (IPRs), reasonable royalties, and the complex and fast-changing technologies behind. It thus constitutes the tricky and challenging antitrust issue of reasonable royalty - “if a monopolistic firm is charging reasonable royalties or abusing its monopoly power?” Since the goals and regimes of antitrust are very different between Asia, the United States (the U.S.), and Europe, there are consequently various ways to deal with such issue. A. China and its Per-Se Violation of Excessive Pricing Several countries in East Asia aim to protect fair competition and social public interests via antitrust laws, including some other non-competition-based goals. China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan’s goals of antitrust all include protection of fair competition. China also articulates its goals to maintain public interests and promote socialist market economy. Japan also aims to promote the employment rate and the level of national income which are not competition-based goals. Furthermore, South Korea expresses its antitrust goal to achieve balanced economic development which is somehow tricky to judge. As a result of the concepts of fairness and non-competition interests, the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty can possibly lead to the determination of unfairly high prices and thus constitutes an unlawful per se violation of excessive pricing in East Asia. Take China as an example, China explicitly articulates the prohibition of charging unfairly high prices as a firm in dominant position. Moreover, China has further stepped in determining “appropriate royalties” supposedly charged by licensors and has demanded foreign firms in China to charge lower royalty rates. In Huawei v. InterDigital Technology Corporation (IDC), the court ruled that IDC charged Chinese firms unfairly high royalties and further held that the royalty rates of the Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) charged by IDC shall not exceed 0.019%. In the Qualcomm case in China, National Development and Reform Commission of China ruled that Qualcomm was charging unfairly high prices and demanded it to lower its royalty base. Additionally, China’s Anti-Monopoly Guidelines on the Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights published by the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM) in March of 2017 were passed in the end of 2018. While already waiting to be formally executed, these Guidelines had received comments regarding reasonable royalties – especially the antitrust violation of licensing IPRs at unfairly high prices with 5 listed factors to consider whether there is abuse of dominant position. By pointing out the dangers of regulating price following with potential harms to competition, one of the comments encourages the Guidelines to have the relevant factors in terms of determining unfairly high prices, such as the prices of comparable licenses instead of any other irrelevant indicators. B. European Commission (EC) and its Per-Se Violation of Excessive Pricing While embracing free market economy and achieving social and political goals at the same time, EC prohibits unfairly high prices as unlawful per se by articulating “directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions” as abuse of market dominance. The test to it started from the case United Brands (1978) which stipulates the difference between cost and price. As the time came to the late 2000s, EC once said that “it takes no position on what a reasonable royalty is” in 2013 but later stated its option to act directly against excessive prices in 2016. In 2017, the Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors Association (the AKKA/LAA case) was brought to the court for charging excessive fees for its exclusive right to license. According to Article 267(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) shall have jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings concerning the interpretation of the Treaties. Given the questions referred to the CJEU in the AKKA/LAA case, the concept of excessive pricing therefore had the chance to be clarified further.  Three important principles established in this case are: (1) comparing the price at issue between the prices charged by other appropriate and sufficient comparators; (2) there is no threshold of what a royalty rate must be regarded as appreciably high, but a difference between rates must be both significant and persistent to be appreciable; (3) an analysis of fairness justification provided by the alleged dominant firm must be conducted. The AKKA/LAA case reestablished and reaffirmed EC’s resolve to enforce prohibition of excessive pricing. As for the recent times, the Danish Competition Council found that the Swedish pharmaceutical distributor - CD Pharma had abused its dominant position by charging excessive prices for Syntocinon, ruling the price increase of 2000% unjustified. The appeal against this decision is now pending. Many more excessive pricing cases are still ongoing within EU jurisdictions. C. The U.S. and its Hands-Off Approach towards Pricing U.S., on the other hand, never did and does not prohibit monopoly or excessive pricing, and has been warning the great dangers and potential harms to competition resulting from regulating price. The long-established principle of not regulating price, however, was shaken by U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s complaint against Qualcomm for conducting unfair methods of competition in 2017. U.S. FTC filed a complaint against Qualcomm in 2017, alleging Qualcomm violating the Federal Trade Commission Act.According to the complaint, customers accepted elevated royalties that a court would not determine fair and reasonable due to Qualcomm’s unlawful maintenance of monopoly. However, the complaint fails to explain what a reasonable royalty is and why Qualcomm charges more than it is supposed to be charging. Furthermore, the dissenting statement of this case states that the theory adopted by FTC required proof of Qualcomm charging unfairly high royalties where there was failure of proving reasonable royalty baseline in the case. In January of 2019, this case finally kicked off in a California courtroom and the outcome of it will definitely have tremendous impacts on every stakeholder. Later in May 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that Qualcomm violated the FTC Act. The case is still ongoing. D. Taiwan and its Unclear Attitude towards the Antitrust Issue of Reasonable Royalty So, where does Taiwan stand between prohibition of excessive pricing and the hands-off approach in the U.S.? In Taiwan, improperly setting, maintaining, or changing the price for goods or the remuneration for services as a monopolistic enterprise has long been unlawful per se since Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act (FTA) was enacted in 1991. This unlawful per se violation is in fact Taiwan’s prohibition of excessive pricing. However, the attitudes of Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) and the courts in Taiwan towards the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty can be switching. They have avoided the issue, left the issue for private contracting, resorted to Patent Act, and determined royalties for the involving parties. Antitrust cases involving the issue of reasonable royalty can be a matter of billion-dollar fines, tremendous costs of litigation, negative impacts on innovation and competition, and harms to consumers. Such important issue can no longer be neglected by Taiwan anymore. By focusing on the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty in Taiwan, this paper will begin with the past attitude and the current antitrust framework of reasonable royalty in Taiwan. Further, because Taiwan has been looking up to the U.S. and its patent law in terms of calculating reasonable royalty in patent infringement cases; this paper will then turn to the reasonable royalty approach in Taiwan and the U.S. respectively. Even though this paper does not support prohibition of excessive pricing, we hope the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty in any excessive pricing case in Taiwan will be properly and carefully dealt with. Therefore, based on the proposed methodologies in a 2016 paper, the core of this paper will be proposing a framework for Taiwan in order to give clearer directions on how to face the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty along with the potential violation of Article 9 of FTA. II. THE PAST ATTITUDE AND THE CURRENT ANTITRUST FRAMEWORK OF REASONABLE ROYALTY IN TAIWAN A. The RCA, Catrick, and Microsoft case - 1995 ~ 2003 TFTC’s attitude towards the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty had long been unclear. In TFTC v. Radio of Corporation of America (RCA)(1995), RCA settled with TFTC for the accusation of charging improper royalties.In TFTC v. Microsoft (2002-2003), Microsoft settled with TFTC after 10 months being accused of conducting excessive pricing.  However, the details of both settlements were never published. In the Catrick case (1998), a U.S. firm named Catrick was accused of improperly charging royalties. TFTC attempted to resort to Patent Act but Patent Act at that time was silent on calculation of royalties. To play safe, TFTC did not interpret FTA or determine a reasonable royalty. Instead, TFTC left the issue to be solved under the principle of freedom of contract and closed the investigation. B. The CD-R Patent Pool Case – 2001~2015 1. Summary of the case Even being given 15 years of time, the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty still remained unsolved in the CD-R Patent Pool case (2001-2015). Upon the investigation from 1999, TFTC found that Philips Electronics NV (Philips) and other two companies had violated Article 10 of FTA with their unlawful concerted action and abuse of dominance in 2001. Here is the background: The CD-R manufactures in Taiwan accounted for 80% of the global CD-R manufacturing output when the time the CD-R technologies were a worldwide industrial revolution. The price of CD-R was originally at around $60 per piece in 1990. It later went down to $0.20 per piece in 2000. However, the three enterprises in the case kept refusing to change the formula for calculating the license fee. Thus, the pricing issue here was that if the three monopolistic enterprises improperly maintained the formula for calculating the CD-R license fee by joint licensing and refusing to change the license fee even though the market conditions had changed drastically at that time. After a series of appeals and retrials, TFTC again ruled that Philips violated Section 2 of Article 10 of FTA by abusing its dominant position and improperly maintaining the price for its jointly licensed technologies in 2015. To everyone’s disappointment, TFTC again left the determination of reasonable royalty unsolved. 2. Fights over reasonable royalty between courts and TFTC The tricky thing is, administrative courts, TFTC, Intellectual Property Court of Taiwan (IP Court of Taiwan) held totally different positions in the CD-R case in terms of the antitrust pricing issue: a. Taipei High Administrative Court (2003)  The court reasoned that the license fees should be determined by competition and cost structure on principle. As a result, the determinants to reasonable royalties would be supply and demand in the market. b. TFTC Decision No.095045 (2006)  TFTC did not hold that the defendants’ pricing practice in violation of FTA. However, it stated its position in stepping in royalties - “Business value of patents varies due to maturity of technologies and market development. Therefore, patent holders should consider prices of final products, value of patents, and contributions made by licensees while determining reasonable royalties… It is inappropriate for the antitrust authority in Taiwan to step in royalties unless there is indication of illegal monopolization or cartel. “ c. Intellectual Property Court Appeal Case No.14 (2008)  IP Court of Taiwan incorporated the concept of fairness in its decision by saying – “courts could only adjust the royalty rates in consideration of fairness towards both parties and other relevant factors in the contract.” Further, the court also said that it was not within TFTC’s jurisdiction to determine the reasonableness of the license fee charged by Philips. d. TFTC Decision No. 098156 (2009) By revealing the prices of CD-R output, shipment of CD-R, change of market conditions within 10 years, and the 60 times higher royalty revenues earned by Philips, Sony and Taiyo Yuden, TFTC found that the profits earned by the three defendants were beyond expectation and estimation. In conclusion, TFTC again held in its 2009 decision that the three defendants violated FTA by not giving opportunities to negotiate over the CD-R license fee upon the easily perceived market changes. e. Supreme Court of Taiwan, Case No.883 (2012)  After the long fights between courts and TFTC for 10 years, Sony and Taiyo Yuden had stopped fighting and their cases were affirmed in 2011. As for Philips, they enjoyed a huge turning point in 2012 because the Supreme Court of Taiwan abolished IP Court of Taiwan’s 2008 verdict and ruled that the governing laws of the contracts between the involving parties were Dutch laws. f. TFTC Decision No. 104027 (2015) TFTC did not get defeated and reached another decision against Philips in 2015. In the reasoning, TFTC first clarified that market prices should be determined by competition and cost structure. Then it claimed to still have the role to rule that Philips had been improperly maintaining the license fee of CD-R through abuse of dominance, refusals to renegotiate and earning excessive profits. To everyone’s disappointment, TFTC still left the determination of reasonable royalty unsolved. C. TFTC v. Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm) (2015 - 2018) In 2017, TFTC ruled that Qualcomm violated Article 9(1) of FTA by refusing to license, imposing no license no chips policy, and conducting exclusive dealing. As for the pricing issue in this case, it was argued if the license fees charged by Qualcomm were unreasonably high and if the fees should be based on value of patents instead of net prices of manufactured phones. TFTC did point out the pricing issue in its reasoning but did not say much further. Instead, TFTC commented in the decision that Qualcomm had been enjoying excessive profits and stated that license fee was a matter of freedom of contract and negotiation. After a series of fights between TFTC and Qualcomm, both parties agreed to settle in August 2018. The Administrative Decision No. 106094 issued by TFTC was vacated with the replacement of the settlement which Qualcomm agreed to invest hundreds of millions in Taiwan and on other matters. D. The Current Antitrust Framework of Reasonable Royalty in Taiwan The current antitrust framework of reasonable royalty in Taiwan in this paper is based on the latest version of Fair Trade Act of Taiwan which was amended in 2017 and the latest version of IP Guidelines of Taiwan which was amended in 2016. There are three main steps in the current antitrust framework to deal with the reasonable royalty issue that suspiciously violates FTA in Taiwan. 1. Proper conducts pursuant to Intellectual Property Laws in Taiwan First, and most importantly, Article 45 of FTA excludes the application of FTA to all “proper conducts” pursuant to all IP Laws in Taiwan where TFTC does not give quite clear explanation of. The reason behind such exclusion stated in the legislative rationale of Article 45 of FTA is problematic - “Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents are monopoly rights endowed by IP laws. Therefore, FTA shall not apply to them by nature.”  2. Guidelines on Technology Licensing Arrangements (IP Guidelines of Taiwan) Secondly, TFTC shall turn to review if IP Guidelines of Taiwan apply to any licensing practice in the case when it sees Article 45 of FTA not applicable. IP Guidelines of Taiwan articulates a correct and fundamental principle while reviewing a technology licensing agreement – “TFTC does not presume market power resulted from owning a patent or know-how.” Further, IP Guidelines of Taiwan do not articulate reasonable royalty or excessive pricing. Instead, the Guidelines make clear of the allowed and prohibited calculation methods for royalties. By recognizing the ease of calculation as efficiency, IP Guidelines of Taiwan basically allows the end product approach and the net sales approach to be applied in a technology licensing agreement as long as the licensed technology was indeed used by the licensee. Notwithstanding, TFTC still has the power to find an antitrust violation upon finding of improper matters even if a licensor complies with Section C of Article 5 of IP Guidelines of Taiwan.  3. Prohibited monopolistic conducts When neither Article 45 of FTA nor IP Guidelines of Taiwan applies to the case, the last step TFTC shall take towards reasonable royalty issue is to review if Section 2 of Article 9 of FTA applies - ” Monopolistic enterprises shall not engage in improperly setting, maintaining or changing the price for goods or the remuneration for services.”  Basically, it is the prohibition of excessive pricing in Taiwan. To be noticed, Article 9 of FTA can only be applied when there is one or more monopolistic enterprises involved. 4. Some issues under the current antitrust framework of reasonable royalty in Taiwan a. Proper conducts pursuant to all IP laws in Taiwan. Article 45 of FTA excludes the application of FTA to what so called “proper IP conducts.” Such exclusion is based on the idea that IPRs are monopoly rights – which is problematic. The fact is - IPRs are exclusive rights instead of monopoly rights. IPRs do not necessarily confer monopoly power or induce more anticompetitive behaviors than other types of property. Moreover, exercising an IPR can be engaging in improper market conducts that lessens competition. In other words, what should be kept in mind is that a proper IP conduct may still possibly constitute an antitrust violation. b. The maybe-violation in IP Guidelines of Taiwan. IP Guidelines of Taiwan are basically friendly towards the end product and the net sales approaches for calculating royalties. However, Article 5 of the Guidelines still gives TFTC the power to find a “maybe” antitrust violation upon any improper matters. Such maybe violation makes the protection under IP Guidelines shaky and even not that useful. c. No such thing as excessive profit. One of the legislative reasons behind the prohibition of excessive pricing in Taiwan is that - “when a firm does not price its products based on reflection of the costs but intends to gain exorbitant profits, such improper pricing conduct would be the most effective way to exclude competition.”  Firstly, there is no such thing as an excessive or exorbitant profit in a free market economy when a price is determined by supply and demand which results in profits you earn accordingly. Secondly, instead of the profits, it should be the price or the pricing practice to be evaluated due to the purpose of excessive pricing violation. d. Missing harms to competition. Most important of all in any excessive pricing case – where are the harms to competition? It should be clear that unjustified profits are not what antitrust laws aim to punish but the anticompetitive market conducts that harm competition. Which is to say – if a monopolistic enterprise has been charging excessive prices through abuse of monopoly that generates harms to competition? With the ultimate goal of protecting the overall competition and consumers, there must be potential or actual harms to competition proven in any excessive pricing case. Such as higher prices, lower outputs, exclusion of competition, entry barriers, negative impact on innovation, or so. E. The Reasonable Royalty Approach under the Patent Act in Taiwan 1. Damages as reasonable royalty Article 97(1) of Patent Act of Taiwan lists three approaches for calculating damages in any event of patent infringement. One of the approaches is the reasonable royalty approach. The so-called reasonable royalty is the royalty the licensee would have paid if there had been a negotiation instead of an infringement. In practical, any profit earned by the licensee from the infringement is excluded from the damages while adopting such approach. Since the infringing licensee saved the costs of negotiation and the licensor spent extra costs on patent infringement litigation, it is also recognized that damages calculated by adopting the reasonable royalty approach can be more than the royalty the licensee would have paid. 2. Determinants and principles in a hypothetical negotiation over royalty After all, the reasonable royalty approach assumes a hypothetical negotiation over royalty between the licensee and licensor. There are still controversies over the determinants and principles to be applied while adopting such approach. Various considerations would possibly lead to drastically different reasonable royalties just like the NT$10 million and NT$1 billion damages in the Philips v. Gigastorage case.  Koninklijke Philips NV (Philips) brought a patent infringement lawsuit against Gigastorage Corporation (Gigastorage, a Taiwan-based manufacturer) at the IP Court of Taiwan in 2014, alleging that Gigastorage had been infringing their Taiwanese patent from 2000 through 2015 by manufacturing and selling DVD related products. The pricing issue here is how to calculate the damages and compensation of unauthorized utilization of the patent involved where the calculation methods and considerations would make big differences. IP Court of Taiwan awarded NT$10.5 million as damages based on reasonable royalty approach in the first trial. However, the same court of different judges later ruled that the damages should be over NT$1 billion according to unjust enrichment. The case was brought to the Supreme Court of Taiwan in 2017. In September 2018, the NT$1 billion judgement was remanded and now the IP Court of Taiwan is thus responsible for a retrial. Nevertheless, the two most common determinants to a reasonable royalty under this approach are – licensing history and comparable patents. Interestingly and importantly, these two determinants are also taken into consideration by several antitrust jurisdictions in the world while dealing with the issue of reasonable royalty. III. WHETHER TO REGULATE EXCESSIVE PRICING AND THE MONDERN REASONABLE ROYALTY APPROACH IN THE U.S. A. Whether to regulate excessive pricing? Supply and demand are two key factors that determine a price in a free market. Profits are usually what encourage innovation and attract firms doing businesses in the first place. There is no doubt that a firm sets a price it believes to maximize its profits – which is profit maximization rule in economics. When a monopoly tries to manipulate or disturb the market by setting a lower or higher price that does not go along with profit maximization rule, here are some possible consequences: (1) new entries in the market trying to share the profits; (2) consumers might switch to substitutes of the product in order to pay less; (3) monopoly might lose profits that it would earn otherwise. Simply saying, a free market usually responds to market changes quite well and can function accordingly without too much disruption. Regardless of the free market mechanism, there are still many voices discouraging the prohibition of excessive pricing due to the inherent dangers of regulating prices – such as discouraging investment in research and development activities, impairing innovation, and ultimately harming consumers. Along with the antitrust jurisdictions that prohibit excessive pricing by law, there are studies showing that prohibition of excessive pricing may benefit the market or – the consumers. A 2015 research finds that: “when economies of scale and entry barriers imply a great likelihood of dominant firms not subjecting to regulation but capable of charging supra-competitive prices, excessive pricing regulation is then important for smaller markets.” A study in 2017 further examines the competitive effects of the prohibition of excessive pricing by applying two competitive benchmarks – retrospective benchmark and contemporaneous benchmark to assess the price charged by a dominant firm excessive or not. The study finds that the two benchmarks restrain the dominant firm’s behavior but soften the firm’s behavior when its competing with a rival. By setting certain factors homogeneous, a retrospective benchmark for excessive pricing benefits consumers. While under different circumstances, consumers are worse off and inefficient entries are created. Overall, the study indicates that the competitive effects of prohibition of excessive pricing vary as we consider various factors – such as the nature of competition, the expected fines, incentive to invest in research and development (R&D), cost of litigation and more.  As a whole, there are still a great number of concerns about potential dangers of regulating price. However, whether to regulate excessive pricing or not, the fundamental question to ask is still – “how to determine a reasonable price to assess if the price at issue is excessive?” B. The Modern Reasonable Royalty Approach in the U.S. U.S. antitrust agencies do not prohibit excessive pricing. An IPR holder is free to charge a monopoly price just as a monopoly is free to earn its monopoly profits as long as the monopoly price and profits are not resulted from anticompetitive conducts that violate antitrust laws in the U.S. While saying that, U.S. still has a reasonable royalty approach developed under its patent law which is the law Taiwan has copied a lot from.  There are different methodologies for the reasonable royalty approach in the U.S., the most common one would be the hypothetical negotiation which was matured from Georgia-Pacific Corp. v. United States Plywood Corpin 1971 (Georgia-Pacific case), ruling that the proper damages in a patent infringement case as – “the amount that a licensor and the infringer would have agreed upon.” By adopting this hypothetical negotiation framework, the case eventually developed a list of 15 determinants as to a reasonable royalty:  (1) The royalties received by the patentee for the licensing of the patent in suit, proving or tending to prove an established royalty. (2) The rates paid by the licensee for the use of other patents comparable to the patent in suit. (3) The nature and scope of the license, as exclusive or non-exclusive; or as restricted or non-restricted in terms of territory or with respect to whom the manufactured product may be sold. (4) The licensor's established policy and marketing program to maintain his patent monopoly by not licensing others to use the invention or by granting licenses under special conditions designed to preserve that monopoly. (5) The commercial relationship between the licensor and licensee, such as, whether they are competitors in the same territory in the same line of business; or whether they are inventor and promotor. (6) The effect of selling the patented specialty in promoting sales of other products of the licensee; the existing value of the invention to the licensor as a generator of sales of his non-patented items; and the extent of such derivative or convoyed sales. (7) The duration of the patent and the term of the license. (8) The established profitability of the product made under the patent; its commercial success; and its current popularity. (9) The utility and advantages of the patent property over the old modes or devices, if any, that had been used for working out similar results. (10) The nature of the patented invention; the character of the commercial embodiment of it as owned and produced by the licensor; and the benefits to those who have used the invention. (11) The extent to which the infringer has made use of the invention; and any evidence probative of the value of that use. (12) The portion of the profit or of the selling price that may be customary in the particular business or in comparable businesses to allow for the use of the invention or analogous inventions. (13) The portion of the realizable profit that should be credited to the invention as distinguished from non-patented elements, the manufacturing process, business risks, or significant features or improvements added by the infringer. (14) The opinion testimony of qualified experts. (15) The amount that a licensor (such as the patentee) and a licensee (such as the infringer) would have agreed upon (at the time the infringement began) if both had been reasonably and voluntarily trying to reach an agreement; that is, the amount which a prudent licensee who desired, as a business proposition, to obtain a license to manufacture and sell a particular article embodying the patented invention would have been willing to pay as a royalty and yet be able to make a reasonable profit and which amount would have been acceptable by a prudent patentee who was willing to grant a license. The U.S. reasonable royalty approach and the calculation of reasonable royalty have been evolving since then. The Federal Circuit in a 2011 case held that the long-used and criticized 25 percent rule of thumb is fundamentally flawed for determining a baseline royalty rate in a hypothetical negotiation. The rule suggests that 25% of the expected profits for the product that incorporates the IP at issue as a baseline royalty rate. Practically, the profits earned by the licensee and the revenues of the product are still often taken into consideration nowadays while applying the U.S. reasonable royalty approach. Further, the Ninth Circuit modified some factors in Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola Inc. (2012) which was a case involved with reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) commitment, standard essential patents (SEPs), and patent pool.  This case raised some important factors to determine a RAND royalty, such as RAND commitment and its purposes, SEPs’ contribution and importance, alternatives of SEPs to the adopted standard, and so on. Comparable patents play a very critical factor in this case in terms of calculating a RAND royalty. Also, it is important to notice that the function of a RAND commitment limits a SEP licensor to royalties that reflect their ex ante values instead of the incremental monopoly power provided by the standard. In Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Systems, Inc. (2014), a modified version of the 15 factors was adopted after the Federal Circuit held that – not every factor from the 15 factors in Georgia-Pacific will apply to every case, and courts must instruct the jury on factors that are relevant in the case. Also, the burden of proof is on the implementer (or, the antitrust authority in an excessive pricing case) to establish a baseline royalty with evidence. That royalty then must be assessed to determine if it is excessive. By adopting incremental value approach and incorporating apportionment, the Federal Court here provides a more complete guidance on how to calculate royalties for patents on RAND terms: (1) Importance of RAND commitment; (2) Apportionment of patented features: the royalty for the patented technology must be apportioned from the value of the standard as a whole; (3) Incremental value approach: the royalty must be based on the incremental value of the invention, instead of any value added by the standardization of the invention or the standard itself. Lastly, two factors that were not often discussed while determining a reasonable royalty were applied inPrism Technologies LLC v. Sprint Spectrum L.P. (2017) - previous settlement agreements and cost savings though infringement. In conclusion, the modern reasonable royalty approach under U.S. patent law was evolved from the adopted 15 factors in Georgia Pacific case. The approach then has been developing along with changes of law, development of technology, adoption of SEPs, RAND and FRAND commitments, and more other relevant factors. IV. A PROPOSED ANTITRUST FRAMEWORLK OF REASONABLE ROYALTY FOR TAIWAN Having articulated the past attitude and the current antitrust framework of reasonable royalty in Taiwan, we have pointed out some misunderstandings in the current framework. Having addressed the reasonable royalty approaches under the patent laws in Taiwan and the U.S., we also have found similarities in between – the hypothetical negotiation framework and relevant determinants. Even though there are concerns against prohibition of excessive pricing due to potential dangers of regulating price and supports towards ultimate protection of free competition, TFTC and the courts in Taiwan are still required by law to apply the prohibition of excessive pricing against IPRs for the current time being. Therefore, the most important section and the core of this paper now has come forward – which is a proposed antitrust framework composed of possible methodologies and clearer guidance for Taiwan to deal with the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty in an excessive pricing case. The proposed framework is based on the proposed methodologies in a 2016 paper - which is to apply the hypothetical negotiation framework under U.S. patent law to determine a reasonable royalty or a competitive benchmark in an excessive pricing case. By applying the most relevant factors and adhering to important and correct principles in the case, a reasonable royalty as a baseline is thus determined to evaluate if the price at issue is excessive. Before articulating the proposed framework in a more detailed way, it is important to notice some basic differences between reasonable royalty in a patent infringement case and an excessive pricing case: Table 1 Reasonable Royalty in between a Patent infringement Case and an Excessive Pricing Case Reasonable Royalty in an Excessive Pricing Case Reasonable Royalty in a Patent Infringement Case Base Country Countries that prohibit excessive pricing. U.S. Case Type Antitrust case Patent infringement case Governing Law Antitrust (competition) law Patent law Prohibited Action A prohibited act of charging unfairly high price through abuse of monopoly. A prohibited act of unauthorized making, using, offering, or selling any patented invention. The Reasonable Royalty Issue Through determining a reasonable royalty to evaluate if a firm is charging excessive royalty through abuse of monopoly. Through determining a reasonable royalty to establish damages/compensation for the act of patent infringement. Proof of Harm Having found excessive pricing, competitive harms should be proved to establish an excessive pricing violation. Harm is proved after determining the reasonable royalty. Having proven the act of patent infringement, damages will then be determined based on reasonable royalty. Harm is proved to exist before calculating the damages. Negotiation There was negotiation over royalty before the lawsuit starts. There sometimes had no negotiation over royalty. Reasonable Royalty Approach Apply relevant factors to determine a reasonable royalty, then compare it with the price at issue to decide if the firm is charging excessive price through abuse of monopoly. Apply hypothetical negotiation framework to determine the royalty the licensor and the infringer would have agreed upon if there had been a negotiation instead of an infringement. Relevant Factors There are multiple and various factors applied in different countries, often not systematic or relevant. The 15 factors evolved from Georgia-Pacific, and some modified and new factors developed later on. A. Step 1 – Important Principles to Keep in Mind Regarding the Antitrust Issue of Reasonable Royalty. 1. No presumption of monopoly power: Ownership of IPRs does not necessarily confer monopoly power. 2. IP conducts may possibly constitute antitrust violations: Enforcing IPRs or any seemingly proper IP conduct may still possibly constitute an antitrust violation, so that they shall not be excluded from the application of FTA. 3. No such thing as excessive profit in free market economy: It is the pricing practice conducted by a monopolistic enterprise that should be evaluated in an excessive pricing case, instead of the profits the enterprise earns. 4. Harm to competition is and should be the key to establish an antitrust violation under Article 9 of FTA: Simply charging a perceived excessive price or earning some unjustified profits does not automatically constitute an antitrust violation. It is the competition and consumers that we should protect in terms of any excessive pricing case. Thus, harms to competition and consumers should be proved – such as lower outputs, entry barriers, and negative impacts on innovation or R&D activities. B. Step 2 – Compliance with Article 45 of FTA & IP Guidelines of Taiwan. 1. Firstly, all proper conducts pursuant to all IP laws in Taiwan are excluded to the application of FTA even though there is no clear explanation of what would be proper IP conducts. 2. If Article 45 of FTA does not apply in the case, we should turn to IP Guidelines of Taiwan to see if the involved market conducts or pricing practices would violate the Guidelines. If the Guidelines do not apply here, then we shall turn to Step 3 of the proposed framework. C. Step 3 – If it is a Potential Excessive Pricing Case? Section 2 of Article 9 of FTA articulates - “Monopolistic enterprises shall not engage in improperly setting, maintaining or changing the price for goods or the remuneration for services.” 1. There must be a monopolistic enterprise. 2. The prices of goods or services or the pricing practices involved are reasonably challenged by the implementers or TFTC.  D. Step 4 – When would a hypothetical negotiation have taken place? When it is a potential excessive pricing case under Section 2 of Article 9 of FTA, it is time to apply the hypothetical negotiation framework under patent law to determine a reasonable royalty within antitrust framework. While the first thought we come up with is usually “how much the parties would have agreed upon,” what we often ignore is that – “when would a hypothetical negotiation have happened? “The timeframe of the hypothetical negotiation is in fact highly related to what relevant factors we should consider in terms of determining a reasonable royalty. Such timeframe issue thus could cause huge impacts on the amount of damages in a patent infringement case and affect the competitive benchmark in an excessive pricing case. More clarifications are as follows: 1. In a patent infringement case: a. Pure ex ante approach: By assuming the parties would have negotiated over the royalty before the infringement began, such approach reflects an ex ante negotiation in the absence of infringement based on the information available before the infringement. Two supporting reasons are: (1) preservation of incentives; (2) avoidance or lowering the cost of patent holdup. b. Pure ex post approach: This approach sets the negotiation reached on some later date, such as the date of judgement or any time after the infringement. Such approach could possibly provide more available and provable information to determining a royalty but could also give the patentee more bargaining power when the patentee is holding an injunction against the infringer. Figure 1 Timeframes of the Hypothetical Negotiation Applying Pure Ex Ante Approach and Pure Ex Post Approach c. Contingent Ex Ante Approach: Pros and concerns when applying pure ex ante and pure ex post approaches are out there to be noted. While a proposed approach claims to address the issues of patent holdup and bargaining power at the same time – which is called contingent ex ante approach. This approach sets the negotiation prior infringement reached contingent on the ex post information, arguing that ex post information provides a better measure for the true value of the patented technology. Further, it is said to be able to take new and changed circumstances into account in every individual infringement case. Here is a simple example presented in the paper: (1) A $500,000 royalty might be agreed upon based on the parties’ expectation that the infringer would earn $1 million above what it would earn if it used the next-best available non-infringing patent. (2) At the date of judgement, the infringer is proven to earn $1.5 million instead of $1 million. This $1.5 million earning would be the ex post information applied in an ex ante negotiation. On the other hand, if the proven earning is only $500,000, then the royalty the parties might have agreed upon would be lower. (3) By applying contingent ex ante approach, it is argued that the patent hold-up would be avoided and the bargaining power between the parties would be balanced. Figure 2 Timeframes of the Hypothetical Negotiation Applying Contingent Ex Ante Approach 2. In an excessive pricing case: Applying the hypothetical negotiation framework under patent law in an excessive pricing case is much more difficult on one matter – the timeframe discussed above. Some important reasons are as follow: (1) Excessive pricing cases involve comparing a competitive benchmark with the price at issue, yet the prices in a case could be changing over time. (2) There were already negotiations over royalty before an excessive pricing lawsuit starts. (3) Involvement of FRAND and SEPs only make it more complicated to determine a reasonable royalty while facing the timeframe issue. E.g. the timing of a patent’s incorporation into a standard is critical and affects the value of the invention. Figure 3 Excessive Pricing Case and the Timeframe Issue E. Step 5 – If there are FRAND or RAND terms? Royalties negotiated on FRAND or RAND terms (FRAND royalties) can be and are usually different from those without. FRAND royalties may involve the following factors which often consequently affect royalties in real world: 1. FRAND obligations and terms: such as fairness, royalty free, grant back provision, exclusivity and other reciprocal terms. 2. Timing of the establishment of a standard: A patent may exist before the establishment of an industrial standard. As this patent is considered essential to a standard and also is included in such standard, the value of such patent – SEP usually goes up. 3. Cooperation between SEP holders: the number of SEP holders and the number of SEPs included in a standard can be influential. 4. Other factors: standard setting organizations’ policies, threat of injunction, patent hold-up and hold-out, royalty stacking, other available and comparable technologies, and relationship between licensors and licensees. F. Step 6 – Consider the Most Relevant Factors. No matter what approach or timeframe of hypothetical negotiation gets adopted in an excessive pricing case, the most relevant factors to consider in determining a reasonable royalty are as follow: 1. Comparable patents The best potential non-infringing alternatives should be the top determinant. What we usually consider as alternatives here are the existing patents in the marketplace since it would be impractical to include expired or invalid patents as comparable patents. But if we take the issue of the timeframe of a hypothetical negotiation into consideration, the status of the patents could be different – which means the hypothetical negotiation could have happened when there were more or less comparable patents. Undoubtedly, comparability is hard to judge. Loads of factors have been taken into account – technical and economic standpoints, the underlying technology, timing of the licensing, previous settlements or litigations, and other more. As noted here, comparable patents are provided as evidence to determining a reasonable royalty – not to its admissibility. Further, here are more difficulties while looking for comparable patents: a. Lots of technology-related royalties nowadays are negotiated on a patent portfolio basis using the end-user device as the royalty base. Both end-user based and portfolio based calculations make it harder to extract the value of an individual patent. b. Cross-licensing or business relationships are sometimes built in exchange of patent licensing. It means that there sometimes has no cash payment involved to know the values of patents. c. Should the allegedly comparable patents cover foreign patents? 2. FRAND royalties: a. FRAND or RAND commitment and its importance. b. Number of SEPs and number of SEP holders in a standard setting. c. Proper apportionment: By the reason that not all patents are created equal or of the same value, the value of an individual patent’s contribution to the standard and the end product is a critical factor when determining a FRAND royalty. As noted here for clarification, even though the Federal Circuit in the famous Ericsson v. D-Link case stated that a FRAND royalty should not include the value that a technology gains from simply being included in a standard, it should not be interpreted as a complete exclusion of any of a standard’s value. When a patented technology in fact creates values for a standard due to its inclusion, these values should definitely be considered as contribution and an important factor. G. Step 7 – Consider Other Factors 1. Other factors may possibly be considered a. The terms and scope of the licensing agreement, as exclusive, non-exclusive, restrictive, or non-restrictive. b. The nature and benefits of the technology or invention. c. Licensor’s monopoly power, and its policies or programs to maintain or preserve such power. d. Licensing history between the parties, and between the licensor and other firms. e. Investments made to implement the technology or the standard. f. Barriers to entry, it could be legal barriers, exclusive agreements, economies of scale, or network effect. As for antitrust of excessive pricing in Taiwan, a paper suggests that entry barriers should be one of the keys to determine if TFTC should step in. That is to say - when there are entry barriers delaying or barring new entries in a market, TFTC should possibly have jurisdiction and a case according to the types of the barriers. g. Royalty stacking and patent hold-up and hold-out. h. Smallest saleable component rule: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) amended its patent policy in 2015 and included the smallest saleable Compliant Implementationas an important consideration in terms of determining a reasonable royalty. 2. Factors not recommended to be considered. a. Profits earned from charging the allegedly excessive royalty. b. The profitability, commercial success, popularity, advantages, utilities, and the sales of the patented products. c. The value of the pure adoption of the standard. d. Commercial and business relationships involved. e. Other non-competition, non-patent-related, or pure business factors. H. Step 8– Compare the Reasonable Royalty to the Alleged Excessive Price 1. The determined reasonable royalty is a baseline or what we call a competitive benchmark. It should not be a minimal royalty a patent owner can charge. 2. As for practicality, it is allowed to be more than just reasonable royalty to be compensated to the patent owner in a patent infringement case. Just like a firm can charge a price more than the cost of its product. Therefore, the price at issue should not be necessarily excessive when the determined reasonable royalty is greater than the alleged excessive price. V. CONCLUSION Excessive pricing cases involving the antitrust issue of reasonable royalty can be a matter of tremendous cost of litigation, fines of billion dollars, and unimaginable potential harms to competition. The great dangers involved through regulating price can lead to negative impacts on innovation, industries, and consumers - consequently to the ultimate failure of protection of competition. Putting aside the doubts about the prohibition of excessive pricing, I respectfully propose an antitrust framework of reasonable royalty in this paper with a sincere goal to help Taiwan with the issue of reasonable royalty in any excessive pricing case in the future. Lastly, I sincerely address the most essential and ultimate principle of antitrust here, again - it is and should always be the competition that antitrust laws and agencies aim to protect, not competitors, prices or only the consumers.  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