In 2000, the General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China issued “the Notice on Launching a Special Campaign against Illegal Electronic Game Rooms”(國務院辦公廳轉發文化部等部門關於開展電子遊戲經營場所專項治理意見的通知). From then on, Mainland China has strictly enforced prohibition on gaming consoles, however in December 21, 2013, “the State Council released the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the State Council’s Decision to Temporarily Adjust Relevant Administrative Laws and State Council Regulated Special Administrative Measures for Approval or Access in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”(國務院關於在中國(上海)自由貿易試驗區內暫時調整有關行政法規和國務院文件規定的行政審批或者准入特別管理措施的決定). As a result of the thirteen year long prohibition on game consoles, the development of the game consoles market has been limited in Mainland China, while mobile phone and online games have dominated the video games market in the country. Mainland China’s lifting of the ban on game consoles will lead to a reshuffling of the gaming market, and is certainly worth a deeper look. This following article will review the evolution of the gaming regulatory policy in Mainland China over the recent years, and identifies the changes and problems that may arise during the deregulation process.
According to “The Notice on Launching a Special Campaign against Illegal Electronic Game Rooms” issued by General Office of the State Council in 2000, “companies and individuals were prohibited from the manufacture or sale of game consoles, as well as the production or sale of related accessories”. As a result, the mobile game consoles and the television game consoles both lost their legitimacy in the video game industry in Mainland China. The stated intent of the ban against video arcades was to protect the youth and ensure public order.
And yet, in spite of potentially impacting youth in a similar manner, the online game sector has been listed as a key industry for development and has been strongly supported by the government. This has clearly contradicted the reason of banning the game consoles. Thus, the major console manufacturers, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, have been trying in various ways to enter the Chinese market, and have called on the Mainland China government to open their domestic market for the sale of game consoles.
After thirteen long years, the State Council issued the “the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”, permitting foreign enterprises to produce and sell game equipment in the Free Trade Zone. Five days later, Blockbuster that under Shanghai Media Group announced a cooperation with Microsoft in a joint venture company within the Free Trade Zone, claiming their main business as " design, development, production games, entertainment applications and derivative products; sales, licensing, marketing and production for third-party games and entertainment applications software; technical advice and services related to video games ". In December 21, 2013, “the State Council released the Comprehensive Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the State Council’s Decision to Temporarily Adjust Relevant Administrative Laws and State Council Regulated Special Administrative Measures for Approval or Access in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”, officially lifted the prohibition on game consoles in the Free Trade Zone, and also opened the gates to investors.
As the case study above describes, Microsoft chose to enter the Mainland China market through a joint venture, the main reason being that foreign investment in entities engaged in internet data operations is still prohibited in China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone. Thus, Microsoft will need to rely heavily on Blockbuster for the data operation and set-top box business license, which was the main subject as the Internet service content provider. In addition, apart from the joint venture between Blockbuster and Microsoft, there are two other companies in the industry: Sony and Nintendo, which retain a large part of the game consoles market, but have not taken action at the moment. These two companies have a pivotal position in the game consoles industry, and therefore it is predicted they will likely follow the Blockbuster and Microsoft example to look for a license holder vendor as a way to enter the mainland China market.
On the other hand, at the end of June 2014 the updated announcement regarding the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone “negative list”, still clearly stated that foreign enterprises in the Free Trade Zone are “prohibited from direct or indirect participation in online game operations and services”.
Due to the trend among game consoles towards online connectivity, the classification of related games as online games, and prohibition of foreign enterprises from entering this space, domestic game developers have enjoyed a safe monopoly over the industry in Mainland China. But if the industry is not restricted under the scope of foreign operation of online games, and foreign enterprises may be allowed involvement in the management of their operations directly or indirectly, “fully localized” online game industry in Mainland China may be challenged in a noticeable way.
In addition, although Mainland China has begun to loosen control over game consoles, the publication of electronic publications licensed by a foreign copyright owner (including online gaming works) will be determined under the General Administration of Press and Publication (新聞出版廣電總局). An enterprise who wishes to enter the Mainland China market has to create content which is able to pass a content review, at the same time maintaining the original integrity of the game. Moreover, consumers in Mainland China have long been accustomed to "cheap" or "free" Internet games, so are they going to change their behavior and be willing to pay for their games? These are big obstacles to be overcome by the industry.
Chen Yi-Chih, Chen Hung-Chih 2 I. Foreword Intellectual Property (IP) Management is a subject of recent focus in Taiwan . More than 1 million patents have been filed in Taiwan and each year, Taiwan dedicates NT $80 3 trillion in research and development. The estimated cost for IP prosecution, maintenance, litigation, conciliation, compensation and authorization amounts to NT $200 trillion (U.S.$6.5 trillion) 4. Even though many enterprises have gradually recognized the importance of intellectual property, the situation has not significantly improved based on the statistics stated above. Observation shows that only few enterprises in Taiwan have taken active steps to manage their IP and it was only after facing infringement lawsuits and tremendous amount of loyalty payments, most companies started to realize the important of IP management. Two main causes are believed to have negative impact on the lacking and ineffectiveness of most Taiwanese enterprises' IP management: Taiwanese enterprises have not taken proactive measures to handle IP management issues and IP management is only viewed as a mechanism to prevent IP infringement. Taiwanese enterprises have not sought ways to proactively and strategically use their intellectual property as a tool to yield profit. Due to limited professional knowledge and resources, Taiwanese enterprises do not know how to manage and exploit IP generated within their companies . Therefore, it is critical to assist these enterprises to develop and implement an effective IP management strategy under which the full potential of their IP can be utilized and the maximum value of the enterprises' IP can be realized. The Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs recognized the importance of governmental role to address this issue. Since 2003, it has collaborated with the Institute of Information Industry to work on a project for developing a standardized IP management system. In 2005, the project was handed over to the Industrial Development Bureau which then carried on the development and promotion of the Taiwanese Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). Taiwanese enterprises 5 are able to use TIPS as a basis to establish their own comprehensive IP management systems. Based on our experiences in promoting TIPS and the feedbacks from those enterprises which have followed the TIPS's guidance to establish their IP management systems, we are pleased to find that TIPS is capable of assisting enterprises to develop a comprehensive IP management system. The system no only meets an enterprise's operational needs but also can be continuously improved owing to its adoption of the PDCA management cycle 6. II. The Introduction of TIPS A. The Origin and Overview of TIPS On December 9, 2004, The Ministry of Economics, in recognition of the needs to assist Taiwanese enterprises to better manage and more fully utilize their intellectual property, organized a “Taiwanese IP Management Standardization and Promotion Summit”. In order to establish a consensus on IP management among Taiwanese enterprises and to encourage the enterprises to implement an internal IP management system, the Taiwanese government positioned TIPS as an industry standard. In 2006, The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) established a TIPS promotion program and revised the 2004 draft of the Intellectual Property Management System Standard to become the Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). The industrial experts' opinions and comments were gathered and used to amend the draft, TIPS was then formally announced 7 on March 23, 2007 and consequently promoted. In hopes to protect Taiwanese enterprises and to improve their market competitiveness, IDB initiated extensive promotion program, encouraging Taiwanese enterprises and organizations to establish a convenient, efficient, and low-cost IP management system by following the TIPS's guidance The main characteristic of TIPS is the incorporation of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model from the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System. By adopting this model, not only the challenges of IP management can be resolved, but the whole system can also be continuously improved. Since TIPS shares the ISO's characteristics of being credible, comprehensive, and easily adaptable, TIPS and be easily integrated into the ISO standards within an enterprise such that the conflicts between these two systems will be minimized and it will only require minimum organizational structural changes and implementation costs. If an enterprise has already implemented ISO, implementing TIPS becomes more easily and efficient. In addition, TIPS emphasizes the concepts of using “process-oriented approach” and “systematic management” 8. Enterprises can merge their existing infrastructures and TIPS to establish a convenient, effective and efficient IP management system to reduce losses caused by IP infringement. Enterprises may also strengthen their market competitiveness and increase profits through royalty income. TIPS includes nine chapters. The first four chapters cover Summary, which describes the background of TIPS; Scope of Application and Terminologies. Clause 0.3.1 9 of TIPS states that the purpose of TIPS is to promote the utilization of IP management as one of the means to maximize an enterprise's profits. Rather than an individual or a specific department, protecting IP assets is the responsibility of all employees within the enterprises. In addition, the establishment of an IP management system is essential regardless of the scale, product or service provided by an enterprise. Clause 1.2 of TIPS clearly provides that TIPS is applicable to all enterprises, despite their types, scales, products and services provided. Therefore, TIPS is not designed solely for large enterprises. It can be applied to all kinds of organizations which include but not limit to a company, a specific department/division within a company, a laboratory or a project team. B. The Foundation of TIPS Before establishing TIPS, the government recognized that an enormous amount of resources is required to establish an IP management system. Therefore, the ISO9001:2000 quality management framework was adopted and TIPS was developed based upon the ISO's management principles. By incorporating IP managing strategies into an enterprise's operation goals and internal activities, the IP management system is no longer just a risk management system but a system that is closely aligning to the overall operations of an enterprise. Since it was found that many domestic companies implemented ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System solely for compliance purposes, people are skeptical about its effectiveness. In fact, if one understands the rigorous formulation processes behind the quality management system and its principles, one would recognize that an enterprise's IP management system can be significantly improved by adopting the management characteristics of ISO Quality Management System. The main characteristics shared between TIPS and ISO are outlined as follows: The effectiveness of an IP management system can be evaluated through clear policies and goals Chapter 5 of ISO 9001 ： 2000 discusses Management's Responsibility. It states that top management should establish an enterprise's mission, vision, policies and goals, otherwise known as Visionary Leadership. An enterprise should consider its stakeholder's needs, understand the gap between its current status and the ideal state when setting its mission, vision, policies and goals. It should also decide its operational goals by considering available resources and the external environment. Traditional way of IP management only focuses on the operational and managerial processes. Strategic issues such as strategic planning and mission/vision planning are often forgotten, which often leads to a disconnection between strategy and actual operations. The concept of setting clear policies and goals used in ISO Quality Management shall be adopted to manage IP. That is to say, clear policies and objectives should be defined by the top management followed by detailed processes and steps required to realize the goals. Clear operational processes and responsibility help to achieve IP management goals ISO9001:2000 states that quality issues are caused by process, not product and process issues are caused by management since processes are carried out by people. Therefore, all personnel who is involved in carrying out the processes (in other word, all the employees within an organization) shall have the responsibility to improve quality. This concept applies to IP management as well. It is an incorrect general belief that IP management is merely for damage control or risk prevention. It is also an incorrect belief that an IP management is the sole responsibility of the legal department that other departments have no roles to play in enhancing the added-value of IP. For enterprises intending to utilize IP to enhance its competitiveness, some suggestions as listed below should be taken into account when planning their IP strategies: Set IP management as one of the company's operational goals. Organize a team to implement the IP strategy and to determine the processes required to achieve the IP goals. Clearly identify roles and responsibilities for personnel involved in all levels of IP management. Identify tasks required to be documented. Ensure the employees understand the linkage between their assigned tasks and the corresponding organizational goals. Through careful considerations of planning the organizational goals, processes and the expected outputs derived thereupon, enterprises can determine whether the processes so planned are necessary, appropriate, and effective . Consequently, minimizing the resources required to be invested into IP management. Monitoring, evaluation, and corrective actions can help to ensure the effectiveness of an organization's IP management processes Clause 8.2.1 of ISO9001:2000, “customer satisfaction”, emphasizes that customers own the right to evaluate. In the case of IP management, customers are basically the enterprise itself, therefore the performance is evaluated based on whether the set organizational goals can be achieved. It has been observed that many companies implemented the ISO Standards purely for the purpose of obtaining ISO's certification and do not consider whether the processes implemented are, in the practical sense, effective or efficient. Under this circumstance, the enterprises would not gain any actual benefits, despite that the requirements of ISO standards are met. The goal of process management is to improve the process efficiency, effectiveness and adaptability. Clause 8.2.3 of the ISO9001:2000 discusses Monitoring and Measurement of Process and Clause 8.2.4 talks about Monitoring and Measurement of Product. They state that an organization should establish a mechanism to monitor, evaluate, and understand the organization's internal and external customers' needs. This mechanism can also help to determine whether the organization can meet or exceed the expectation of its customers (in terms of processes, products, and/or services), which is also a critical element in establishing a systematic IP management system. If the result of evaluation does not meet expectation, there is a problem. In order to prevent the problem from reoccurring, prevention is the best. The concept of prevention is to design measures to avoid the occurrence of hidden problems. Unexpected problems are inevitable to occur even if preventive measures have been taken. We should analyze the impact of the problems occurred and propose counter measures to minimize their impact. The efficiency of IP Management relies on continuous improvement There are always opportunities to improve any process. Clause 8 of the ISO9001:2000 discusses Measurement, Analysis and Improvement which includes continuous improvement processes. Clause 8.2 Monitoring and Measurement, Clause 8.3 Control of Nonconformity, and Clause 8.4 Analysis of Data discuss the issues surrounding monitoring, measurement, analysis and control of nonconformity. Clause 8.5 discusses Improvement, which covers action taken to address the causes of identified issues. There are many issues that may be identified after analysis which cannot be resolved at once. Clause 5.1 of ISO 9001:2000 Management Commitment requests that the top management team be responsible for setting policy and goals, and providing resources needed to achieve the goals. By introducing ISO9001:2000 measurement, analysis, and improvement methodologies into the IP management system, it is believed that enterprises can thus effectively manage their IP and achieve a win-win scenario with their customers. C. The expected benefits of Implementing TIPS Since TIPS shares the above mentioned characteristics of the ISO Quality Management System, it not only can reduce the risks of infringing the IP rights of the others, but also can assist an organization to achieve its operational goals provided that the organization has designed relevant processes pursuant to the requirements of TIPS and has thoroughly implemented the designed processes. Using TIPS's external evaluation mechanism 10, enterprises implementing with TIPS can prove to their customers and external stakeholders that they have the capability to manage and maintain their IP. If an enterprise follows TIPS to establish its IP management system, its expected benefits include the followings: Enhancing market competiveness and increasing the added-value of an organization An IP management system that is designed to meet the specific needs of an organization shall play a significant role in achieving the organization's operational goals. Take a fitness equipment or an automobile parts manufacturer as an example, if the manufacturer owns the IP rights (ex: new design patent or trademark) embodied within the products, it is expected that the manufacturer can profit more than a purely OEM company which does not own its own brand. This is because the IP rights embodied within the products could provide significant added-value beyond what an OEM company can offer. Increasing customer's ordering intent The guidelines of TIPS also serve as the requirements for certification purpose. A government certified IP management system will ease concerns over trade secret protection and thereby promote cooperation and trusting relationships between the suppliers and the buyers and between research collaborations which consequently would foster better research results and potentially more purchasing orders. Minimizing resource wasting and actively creating profits Most small and medium enterprises in Taiwan do not have adequate labor and financial resources to develop a comprehensive IP management system. It is the hope of the government that a simple, effective, and low-cost IP management system can be established which tailors to the specific needs of every enterprise by adopting the TIPS framework. Once enterprises are capable of systematically manage their IP, it is expected that the IP generated and their exploitation can really match the enterprises' requirements and expectations, so that no resource is wasted to produce unwantable IP. The enterprises may further increase their profits by licensing or assigning their IP rights. Fostering an organizational culture that values the importance of intellectual property and the ability to continuous improve Establishing IP management policies, coupled with ongoing IP management seminars and education and training programs for new employee would enhance the awareness of the importance of IP management to the organization among the employees. The employees may further change their attitudes from passively complying with the policies to actively participate the system such as paying particular attention to potential IP risks and offer suggestions for process improvement. One company which implemented TIPS commented that the regular and ad hoc audits requirement and the necessity of assigning roles and responsibilities as required by TIPS assist it to identify problems concerning management issues. Corrective and preventive actions can be rapidly taken to address the problems identified, allocate the liabilities and improve the whole system. As a consequence, the IP management system can be effectively carried out to ensure that the planned objectives are met. It was found that most companies do not have internal audit and continual improvement programs to detect the hidden problems concerning management. Enhancing risk management and the capability to respond Currently, the fundamental and most important goal for an enterprise's IP management is to reduce the risks of infringement. Enterprises which have implemented TIPS found that TIPS is capable of enhancing data sharing across the departments which allows the IP department to detect potential risks at the earliest time. Further, the establishment of risk management mechanism and processes in response to infringement allegations as required by TIPS helps to institutionalize an enterprise's management system in handing legal risks. III. A holistic approach to IP management The Taiwanese government hopes that enterprises can systematically manage their IP through the implementation of TIPS. In other words, following TIPS's guidance, the Taiwanese enterprises should establish an IP management system that incorporates the usage of the PDCA management cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Action) and process management approach and such system must be built by taking into account the enterprise's business operation strategies and objectives. Enterprises should have clear processes and related rules for handling all IP related issues. For example, prior to filing a patent application, there should be a plan for the ways to acquire the targeted IP and prior art research shall be conducted. Based on the search results, enterprises can then decide whether they would like to internally develop the targeted IP or to seek licensing opportunities. Effective IP management processes shall be able to answer the following questions: Whether records are stored property? Who should conduct the audit? Whether the current system meets the IP management policy or goals? What are the roles and responsibilities? The following section aims to explain how Taiwanese enterprises can establish or modify their current IP management system to achieve its full potential: A. Roles and Responsibilities for Implementation All employees within an organization shall participate in order to realize the most benefits out of the IP management system. Leadership responsibilities, roles and responsibilities allocation, training and education programs and the subsequent auditing processes on the performance of operation shall be clearly defined and planned. Establishing a successful IP management system shall not be the sole responsibility of the legal department. During the implementation stage, the following personnel should participate and complete the related tasks: Executive management team (Management executives, ex. CEO, President, COO) a. Establish IP management policy and goals; b. Communicate the importance of compliance to the IP management policy; c. Evaluate and review the effectiveness of the IP management system; and d. Ensure the readiness of the resources available for establishing the IP management system. IP Management System Representatives (Managers who have decision-making authority, ex. EVP, VP) a. Ensure that the required processes for the IP management system are established, implemented, and maintained; b. Report to the executive management team on the performance and improvement needs for the existing system; and c. Ensure employees understand the IP management policy and goals. Department Representatives (All department representatives) a. Execute tasks assigned by the IP management system representatives; b. Execute action items reached by the steering committee meetings; c. Ensure the achievement of IP management goals, and d. Responsible for the Maintaining and improving the IP management system. B. Steps of Implementation Plan Establishing a systematic IP management system requires the participation of all employees and it requires reengineering of the existing processes. It is not an easy task to be established and planned solely by the legal department. All other departments within an enterprise shall participate and offer their suggestions. The followings are the recommended stages for implementing an IP management system: Stage Tasks Description Responsibility Remark 1. Preparation 1). Review of current status Understand resources available and the status of operation Data collection; define roles and responsibilities 2). Establish implementation team Identify team members and team leader Confirm organizational structure for implementation 3). Set goals and establish all management programs Evaluate current situation to formulate IP management policy, and define measurable goals. Processes planning shall be made by taking into account the management responsibility, resource management, product development, and performance analysis and improvement. This helps to identify the position of a process within the overall IP management system and its inter-relationships between the processes themselves. Provide evaluation report; organize IP management deployment document Documentation: IP Management Manual à Procedures à Guidelines à Records 2. Training and Education & System Integration 4). Relevant training and education Understand the direction, method, and spirit of standardization. Participated by the implementation team and management representatives. 5).Drafting documentation Decide documentation framework, format, table of contents, numbering principles, and appoint editors and the completion date. Management team assigns tasks 6). Establishing documentation Drafting and revising procedural documentation Internal discussion and review IP management principles (refer to prior text) Define the scope and content of standard format. Appoint editors and the completion date. Establish standard format as an example before documenting Prepared IP management manual to aid employees and customers to understand the organization's IP management system Implementation team and management team 3.Implementation 7). Provide training & education specifically for the internal audit personnel Explain the purpose of auditing and execution details Participated by Internal audit committee Prepare checklist for auditing to be used by auditing personnel 8). Conduct system implementation and internal audits Execute documentation processes for the management system and conduct internal audits and review the performance Implementation, review, correction and prevention. Participated by all employees 9). Conduct overall examination of the intellectual property management system Implement IP management system Participated by all members of the implementation team C. Implementation Chapter five through chapter eight of TIPS define the core of the guidelines which cover the basic requirements of IP management requirements; top management's responsibilities; resource management; the acquisition, protection, maintenance and exploitation of IP, as well as performance evaluation and improvement. To facilitate Taiwanese enterprises' understanding of TIPS and how to use it to establish a comprehensive IP Management system, we provide the following main steps of establishing an IP management system based on the TIPS's requirements: Define the company's IP management goals Enterprises that would like to establish an IP Management system have to understand their unique features and future operation strategies to evaluate the needs for managing their IP. Clauses 4.1, 5.2, and 5.3.1 of TIPS stipulate that the management team has the responsibility to set clear IP management policy and goals. For example, one policy can be to increase R&D efficiency and the goal can be to reduce the product development cycle by 10%. Defining appropriate IP Management policies can help to establish a IP management system that meets an enterprise's practical needs. It can also be used as basic principles for formulating IP strategies and subsequently the implementation processes of IP management system. The management team should utilize intranet or bulletin boards to inform its employees of the organization's IP management policies, goals, and relevant responsibilities assigned to each department. This will help employees to understand their roles and responsibilities and the importance of their participation in achieving the organization's goals. Develop required processes for achieving enterprise's IP management goals The ultimate purpose of establishing an IP management system is to maximize profits and to minimize losses. To ensure successful acquisition of targeted IP, companies should plan and develop processes and operating procedures based on their needs and business development strategies. During this stage, companies should focus on the followings in order to meet TIPS's requirements: Understand statutory and regulatory requirements concerning IP The management target of TIPS is intellectual property, which includes trademark, patent, copyright, trade secrets and etc. Different IP acquisition approaches apply to different IP targets. Complying with Clause 7.1, companies must firstly understand all the statutory and regulatory requirements before a plan is made for the acquisition of targeted IP. For example, according to the relevant legislations in Taiwan, once a work is created, the authors obtain the copyright in the work. However, the right to patent or trademark can only be acquired through registration. Evaluate options for acquiring the targeted IP Enterprises shall evaluate different options (i.e. self-development, purchase or outsourcing) for acquiring their targeted IP by taking into account of their business operation objectives and the characteristics of their products as the methods of acquiring IP will influence the subsequent processes concerning the protection, maintenance and exploitation of the acquired IP. Clause 7.2 of TIPS requires enterprises to implement processes regarding to the evaluation of the options for acquiring the targeted IP. Clause 7.3.5 further requires enterprises to set up an assessment procedure for every IP application and suggests to incorporate an invention incentive program. Define roles and responsibilities After completing the feasibility study concerning various options to acquire the targeted IP, enterprises have to decide whether to establish an IP management specialized department (ex. legal or IP department) and to define clear roles and responsibilities based on the company's scale and resource available. Companies should pay particular attention on preparation work, such as conducting patent or trademark prior art search, to avoid wasting of resources and voided applications. If enterprises outsource IP management related activities to external bodies, Clause 7.4.1 of TIPS requires them to have a clear knowledge of the service quality provided by the outsourcing bodies and to establish a controlling mechanism over the outsourcing activities (ex. evaluation → outsourcing → contract → periodic evaluation…etc.). Special attention has to be paid to the contractual terms concerning obligations and ownership of IP. Determine Resources Required Enterprises that would like to establish an IP management system not only have to ensure that they have enough resources, but also need to ensure that the resources can be utilized in an effective way. The management team, in accordance of the requirements for Clauses 5.4.2 a nd 6.1 of TIPS, should provide resources (including labor and equipment) required for the implementation of the IP management system. Examples include the continual recruitment of manpower and the purchasing of computer software and hardware equipments and etc. As far as labor is concerned, enterprises, in accordance with Clause 6.2.1 , have to ensure that their employees have adequate abilities to assume their responsibility. Clause 6.2.1 states that companies should provide basic IP education and training to equip the employees with necessary knowledge. Pursuant to Clause 6.2.3, enterprises should provide their patent engineers and legal staff with advanced training, such as intellectual property litigation and arbitration, intellectual property licensing and contracts, techniques for patent design around, IP valuation and so on. In summary, enterprises should enhance the employees' (both new and existing employees) awareness of IP, the importance of complying with statutory requirements and the enterprises' internal IP policies and goals through education and training. Establish an IP Management System After determining the resources required, enterprises need to establish a basic system to manage their IP. The system shall include a documentation control system, an audit program, an internal communication channel and so on. We provide a summary explaining the details of each program required to establish a basic IP management system: Basic IP Management System (1) Documentation Control System: Enterprises should establish a systematic documentation control system based on their IP management policies and goals, such as document control procedures, internal audit process and etc. Among those, the most important one is an IP management manual. Clause 4.3 of TIPS requires the enterprises to state all the following items in their IP management manual: IP management policies and goals; roles and responsibilities; processes and procedures; and flow charts or grid charts to explain the interrelationships between the processes and procedures. Further, Clause 4.4 also states that all documents, no matter whether they are internally generated or externally acquired (ex. court notice, invitation to tender, official documents) should be properly managed. The source, level of confidence, method of management should be clearly labeled for future purposes. (2) Audit Program: Clause 5.4.2 states that top management has to be responsible or otherwise shall designate a management representative (the most senior staff that is responsible for intellectual property matters, such as vice president or director of IP management department) to manage a company's IP related issues. The top management team is also in charge of establishing a management review meeting, and setting agenda for each meeting such as discussing or revising the IP management policies and goals. Through management review meeting, pursuant to Clause 5.5, management representative must confirm that the set IP goals are met or if not, whether to revise the original policies or goals. All departments or responsible personnel (ex. legal, IP, general administration, accounting, human resource) shall participate the management review meeting. (3) Confidentiality Control Program: Enterprises in accordance with Clauses 4.4.1 a nd 7.4.4, should enhance feasible safety controls to protect their IP, such as setting document confidential criteria, physical access control, and control over replication of confidential documentation to limit exposure of important data. Supplemental IP Management System In addition to the above mentioned programs, supplemental IP management programs are required to assist in establishing an effective IP management system. They are outlined as follows: (1) Outsourcing Program: Due to cost or resource concerns, enterprises may outsource its R&D or IP prosecution activities to external professional agencies. Clauses 4.1 and 7.4.1 of TIPS require that the contracts entered into must clearly identify the ownership of IP involved and include a term of confidentiality obligation. This is to ensure that the outsourcing activities can be properly monitored and to prevent the leakage of important data. (2) Contract Review and Human Resource Management Programs: In order to prevent and avoid intellectual property infringement, in accordance with Clause 7.4.6 , enterprises should review all contractual terms of their contracts. As far as human resource management is concerned, in accordance with Clause 7.4.3, enterprises shall require new employees to sign an employment contract . Such contract shall include a term of confidentiality obligation and a non-competing clause may be included if necessary. (3) Internal Consulting and Communication Channel: During the period of establishing an IP management system, enterprises in accordance with Clause 5.5.2 must request relevant departments (ex. legal, sales, finance and accounting) to provide useful information concerning IP management. According to Clause 5.4.3, enterprises must establish communication channels (ex. dedicated mailbox, email) which is used to understand the feelings and to know the difficulties faced by the employees as it is inevitable to face challenges when a new system is being implemented, consistent communication and coordination is the only way to overcome these challenges. Ensure that Auditing and Preventive and Corrective Measures have been Taken Pursuant to Clauses 8.1 and 8.2, enterprises with IP management systems need to establish internal audit plans (including audit frequency, time, or method) to ensure that their IP management policies or goals are being met. Enterprises should ensure that their internal auditors are qualified i.e. have obtained the relevant professional certification, before conducting the internal audits. If nonconformities have been found through internal audits, corrective or preventive measures should be taken pursuant to Clauses 8.4.2 a nd 8.4.3. For instance, if the result of internal audit reveals that the R&D staff failed to keep their R&D records in accordance with the set rules and requirements, companies shall find out the causes (i.e. the reasons of the nonconformity) and then take appropriate corrective or preventive measures. An example of corrective measure can be to increase the frequency of checking the relevant records. And an example of preventive measure can be to provide incentive program to encourage the compliance of the relevant rules and regulations. Pursuant to the requirements of Clause 8.3, enterprises should collect and analyze relevant information, such as the internal audit reports, results of the corrective measures taken, and the results of market/competitors analysis. The above information can be used as input information during management review (Clause 5.5.2 ) to decide whether it is required to amend or set new intellectual property management policies and objectives. Through continual auditing and revising, a systematic IP management system can be established. IV Conclusion In the era of knowledge economy, the abilities of most domestic enterprises to manage tangible assets have gradually matured (ex. ERP system). However, the abilities to manage intangible assets which include intellectual property have yet to be developed. Management systems in most domestic enterprises are fragmented. For example, legal departments are only responsible for contract reviewing tasks; R&D staff has limited IP knowledge. The importance of IP is often overlooked and most enterprises do not see that intellectual property management is the responsibility of every employee. As a consequence, the Taiwanese government establishes and promotes TIPS to encourage domestic enterprises to adopt a systemic approach of managing their intellectual property and TIPS is also provided as a tool to assist enterprises to establish a sound intellectual property management system. The purpose of implementing TIPS is not to request enterprises to establish a separate management system. In order to maintain efficiency and competitiveness, an enterprise has to have an integrated management system to support its core operations and also to meet the requirements of different management system standards. Eliminating overlaps of the requirements between different quality management systems is an inevitable trend. TIPS incorporates IP management with the ISO 9000 quality management system, which is capable of simplifying the complicated IP management tasks into an effective and standardized IP management system. TIPS helps an enterprise to establish a systematic process for managing its IP. Through competitive analysis, market trend analysis, and periodic IP management operations review, a company can revise and amend its IP management policies and goals and continually improve its IP management system. For example, sales departments shall collect market trends, competitive information and shall also consciously avoid acquiring materials that may raise infringement concerns. Human resource departments shall focus their efforts in providing IP education and training. Finance departments shall evaluate the costs required for maintaining the existing IP rights and inform the R&D departments to conduct relevant review at the appropriate time. R&D departments shall conduct prior art search before a new research project is commenced. TIPS offers a simple, efficient, and low-cost management system which assists an enterprise to establish an IP management system that aligns to its business goals and operation activities. We hope that by promoting and encouraging domestic enterprises to adopt and implement TIPS, Taiwan can strengthen its international competitiveness and sustain the growth of its economy and the whole society. 1.Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS). The Ministry of Economics Affairs combined the IP management principles and the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) model used in ISO9001:2000 quality management system to create TIPS. The adoption of PDCA model helps organizations to establish a systematic and effective IP management system which can be continuously improved. 2. Chen Yi-Chih is a Section Manager at the Science and Technology Law Center ; Chen Hung-Chih is a legal Researcher at the Science and Technology Law Center . 3. Data Source: http://www.atmt.org.tw/html/modules/news/article.php?storyid=135&PHPSESSID=cab6428078a0435c5af1b2e7bbe2b121 (last visited: 08/11/2007 ) 4. Data Source: http://www.cyberone.com.tw/ItemDetailPage/PDAFormat/PDAFContent.asp?MMContentNoID=36372(last visited: 08/11/2007 ) 5. “Enterprise” as defined in TIPS includes company, corporate, school, research institute, a specific department or a project team is also included. 6. TIPS was developed based on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check Action) model, a typical ISO management process which requires continuously monitoring, evaluating, analyzing and improving the whole system. 7. The TIPS guidelines can be found at: http://www.tips.org.tw/public/public.asp?selno=236&relno=236 8. Refer to article: New Philosophy of Intellectual Property – Use ISO Quality Management to establish a systematic IP management in Intellectual Property Journal, issue 74, 02/2005. 9. http://www.tips.org.tw/public/public.asp?selno=236&relno=236 (last visited: 08/12/2007 ) 10. The guidelines of TIPS also serve as the requirements for certification purpose. The Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs will issue a certificate to an organization if such organization has implemented an IP management system satisfying the requirements of TIPS.The 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.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.Brief Overview of the Recent Progress of the TIPS Project and Important Developments of Taiwan’s IP Protection Environment
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)