In recent years, advantage of capital and productivity are not enough for company to stand out from the business battle. Innovation and creation become the driver of business growth. Intellectual Property (“IP”) Right turns out to be the power to boost international competitiveness.
In March 2013, Singapore submitted 10-year IP Hub Master Plan to guide Singapore’s development as a Global IP Hub in Asia. Six Strategies are identified from IP Hub Master Plan. This article focuses on strategy 4, developing Singapore as a choice venue for IP dispute resolution through a strong IP Court and deep IP alternative dispute resolution capabilities, to understand how Singapore attracts various stakeholders and hence create a hive of IP activities by adopting tailored processes to facilitate the resolution of IP cases and promoting alternative dispute resolution.
When it comes to IP issue, oblige will take either marketplace or area of IP application into account for choosing jurisdiction of dispute resolution. The major IP war occurs in America and China. Although Singapore deals with less IP case, the government considers itself as a transparent, efficient and neutral justice system, coupling with lots of transnational divisions in Singapore, which creates an opportunity to develop IP dispute resolution.
To achieve the goal, Singapore puts its hand to enhance capabilities of IP Court and IP alternative dispute resolution for bringing more IP litigations and IP alternative dispute resolution to Singapore.
1. Enhance Capabilities of IP Court(1) Efficiencize Processes
In September 2013, the Registrar of the Supreme Court released Circular 2 of 2013 on the issuance of the IP Court Guide, which will apply to all cases under the IP docket of the Supreme Court with immediate effect. An IP Judge will be assigned to hear all interlocutory appeals, milestone pre-trial conferences (“PTCs”) and the trial on liability.
The IP Court Guide provides for two milestone PTCs before set down for trial whereby the lead counsel must personally attend to address the IP Judge on certain specified issues. All other PTCs will be heard by the senior assistant registrar managing the IP docket. Subject to certain exceptions, an assistant registrar will hear all interlocutory applications arising in each IP case.
In addition, to support the IP Court’s adjudication functions, the IP Court Guide provides for the appointment of assessors (for technical expertise) and amicus curiae (for legal expertise) for IP cases. Parties are encouraged to propose a single candidate by agreement. Otherwise, parties should agree on and propose a shortlist of candidates.
Due to improvement, it is more convenient for parties to track trail status. For IP Judges, they can get familiar with cases and related evidence through PCTs before entering trail process. On the whole, this change increases trail efficiency and quality.
(2) Set Up Singapore International Commercial Court
The Ministry of Law proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and the Supreme Court Judicature Act in October 2014. The new legislation and regulations laid the foundation of Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”), which was set up in January 2015.
The SICC, the only one International Commercial Court in Asia, is a division of the Singapore High Court and part of the Supreme Court of Singapore designed to deal with transnational commercial disputes including business issues and patent suits.Key Features of the SICC:
A. SICC matters will be heard by a Panel comprising High Court Judges, associate Judges and foreign associate Judges with extensive experience and highly regarded reputation.
B. A party may be represented by a registered foreign counsel without any involvement of local Singapore counsel if the matter in question is considered to be an “offshore case”. An “offshore case” is defined in the amended Rules of Court as a case which has no substantial connection to Singapore either because(i) Singapore law is not the law applicable to the dispute and the subject matter of the dispute is not regulated by or otherwise subject to Singapore law, orC. The SICC will hear cases governed by Singapore law and by foreign law, with the Court taking judicial notice of the foreign law. In addition, the SICC is not bound by the domestic rules of evidence at all and may apply other rules of evidence whether they are found in a foreign law or otherwise, if the parties make an application for it.
(ii) The only connection between the dispute and Singapore are the parties’ choice of Singapore as the law applicable to the dispute and the parties’ submission to the SICC’s jurisdiction (“Singapore Law-only Connection”).
2.Strengthen Capabilities of IP Alternative Dispute Resolution
Singapore International Arbitration Center (“SIAC”) and the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Singapore Office were set up respectively in 1991 and 2001 to strengthen capabilities of IP arbitration. On the basis of these two centers, in order to enrich alternative dispute resolution, Singapore also established Singapore International Mediation Center (“SIMC”) and launched the service of arbitration-mediation-arbitration (“Arb-Med-Arb”) in November 2014.
Arb-Med-Arb is a process where a dispute is referred to arbitration before mediation is attempted. If the parties are able to settle their dispute through mediation, their mediated settlement may be recorded as a consent award. If the parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation, they may continue with the arbitration proceedings. Arb-Med-Arb is definitely a better way for parties to reach a consensus on a dispute since arbitration is more costly and mediation is less powerful.
The SIMC and the SIAC are now collectively working on mediation, Arb-Med-Arb and arbitration and providing various IP alternative dispute resolutions. Moreover, the SICC and IP Court are charged with IP litigation. These make Singapore a comprehensive IP dispute resolution system.
In the process of revolution, Singapore puts itself up to breakthrough as to amendments and the Supreme Court Judicature Act, which establish legitimacy of SICC. The government also defines IP dispute resolution services, such as SIMC’s mediation, Arb-Med-Arb, arbitration as well as SICC features. Nevertheless, other than SIAC, SICC decision may be difficult to enforce transnationally due to lack of legislation.
To sum up, Singapore earns recognition for aggressively proposing amendments and assigning responsibilities after setting IP target and evaluating obstacles; however, it is better to pay special attention to that if the market can keep up with administrative efficiency or if the IP strategy could accord with the demands of the market.
A Preliminary Study on The Legal Effect of the Blockchain-Generated Data in Taiwan I. Preface Governments around the world have set various regulations and guidelines to deal with the increasing application of blockchain technology, trying to keep the law up to date with technological development and the latest trends. Among them, the application of blockchain technology to regulations has become a hot topic. Because of its features, such as immutable, easy to verify and transparently disclosed, it can improve the efficiency of law enforcement and reduce cost. Moreover, decentralization and the verification mechanism generated by mathematical computation can avoid the disputes arising from the existing system, in which the mechanism is set up and controlled by independent institutions, and thus the credibility could be universal. The international trend also shows the importance attached to the application of blockchain technology in the legal field. In 2017, the “Legal Services Innovation Index”, a study conducted by the Michigan State University College of Law and Google evaluated the level of innovation of law firms according to the search data on innovation indicators of the world’s major law firms. Blockchain has the highest number of clicks among all indices, and the average number of clicks of blockchain is more than twice that of AI. In addition, there are international cases regarding the connection between the blockchain technology and legal provisions as well as the real cases that used blockchain technology to handle legal matters. An organization, such as the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC), work with enterprises, law firms, software development units, and schools to study the standards formulation and application methods of the application of blockchain technology to law-related matters.  This article will first discuss the legal enforceability of data generated by the blockchain technology through international cases, then review Taiwan’s current status and the legal enforceability of the data generated by the blockchain technology and to explore possible direction for regulatory adjustment if the government intends to ease the restriction on the application of blockchain in the fields of evidence authentication and deposition. II. International cases 1. US case: adjust the existing regulations and recognize the enforceability of blockchain technology The amendment HB2417 to the Arizona Electronic Transactions Act (AETA) signed by Arizona in April 2017 defines the blockchain technology and smart contracts and recognizes their legal effect on signatures, records and smart contracts. HB2417 defines “blockchain technology” as a “distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger, which may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by “tokenized crypto economics or tokenless” and provides that the “data on the ledger” is protected with cryptography, is immutable and auditable and provides an uncensored truth.” It’s worth noting that although, by definition, the data is true, it is uncensored truth in nature, which emphasizes the originality of the data. A “smart contract” is an “event driven program, with state, that runs on a distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger that can take custody over and instruct transfer of assets on that ledger.” Under the original AETA regulations, records or signatures in electronic form cannot be deprived of legal validity and enforceability merely because they are in electronic form. To eliminate the legal uncertainty of any blockchain related transactions and smart contracts related to digital assets, HB 2417 states that a signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature, and a record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record. The statute also provides that smart contracts may exist in business, and a contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a “smart contract term.” This makes the enforceability of electronic signing and electronic transactions made by Arizona’s blockchain technology equivalent to that of the signature and contract made by the traditional written format. In the following year, the Ohio governor signed the amendment SB220 to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in August 2018, which took effect from November. The focus of the amendment is the same as that in Arizona. Although, unlike HB 2417, SB220 does not define blockchain technology, the added content can still guarantee the enforceability of electronic signatures and contracts made by the blockchain technology. The focus of the two amendments in the US is to supplement and revise the laws and regulations made in the past so that they are applicable to the transaction method under blockchain technology and have the same effect as other recognized methods. This reduces the uncertainty related to blockchain technology at the regulatory and commercial application level, and is expected to attract the blockchain related companies, investors and developers. 2. Case of China: The enforceability of blockchain technology in evidence deposition is recognized in line with courts’ new type of judgment. In September 2018, the Supreme People's Court implemented “The Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by Internet Courts,” in which Paragraph 2 of Article 11 mentions that where the authenticity of the electronic data submitted by a party can be proven through electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value check, blockchain or any other evidence collection, fixation or tamper-proofing technological means, or through the certification on an electronic evidence collection and preservation platform, the Internet court shall make a confirmation. It shows that the Internet court can recognize the evidence deposited by blockchain technology, and its enforceability is equivalent to that of other technologies if its authenticity can be proved. Paragraph 1 of the same article also proposes the basis for review and judgment on the relevant standards for the broad definition of electronic evidence recognition. “The authenticity of generation, collection, storage and transmission process of the electronic data shall be examined and judged, and the items to be reviewed include whether the hardware and software environments such as the computer system based on which electronic data is generated, collected, stored and transmitted are safe and reliable; whether electronic data originator and generation time are specified, and whether the contents shown are clear, objective and accurate; whether the storage and safekeeping media of electronic data are definite, and whether the safekeeping methods and means are appropriate; whether electronic data extractor and fixer, and electronic data extraction and fixation tools and methods are reliable, and whether the extraction process can be reproduced; whether the contents of electronic data are added, deleted, modified or incomplete, or fall under any other circumstance; and whether electronic data can be verified in specific methods.” The judgment is based on a clear review. It is a supplement to the notarization process, which was the solo judgment basis for the enforceability of digital evidence. In addition, the rules on proof are clearly set out in Article 9, which covers two situations: online and offline. For offline evidence, the parties can convert it into electronic materials by scanning, re-shooting and duplicating, and then upload it to the litigation platform. For online evidence, it can be divided into two situations. One is the online electronic evidence possessed by the party, which can be imported to the litigation platform by providing links or uploading materials. The other is that the Internet court can obtain the structural information of the relevant cases from the e-commerce platform operators, Internet service providers and electronic data deposition and retrieve platform, and import it to the litigation platform to directly provide the information to both parties so that they can select and prove their claims. In this way, the court can use technical means to complete the migration and visual presentation of information. Before the Supreme People's Court enforced the provisions, the Hangzhou Internet Court of China recognized the enforceability of electronic evidence under the blockchain technology when hearing a copyright dispute in June 2018. The court's judgment pointed out that after reviewing the impartiality, technical level and evidence preservation methods of the blockchain evidence deposit service provider, the enforceability of the evidence is recognized, and thus the case was deemed infringement. Beijing Dongcheng District Court also reviewed the blockchain deposition technology in an infringement of information network communication in September of the same year, including data generation, deposition, preservation, and recognized the enforceability of electronic evidence made by the blockchain technology. The court adopted the electronic evidence. The Beijing Internet Court allows evidence deposition of the litigation files and evidence uploaded to the electronic litigation platform through the Balance Chain of evidence deposition established by the blockchain technology when handling the litigation cases online. This can prevent tampering and ensure the safety of litigation while keeping possible litigation evidence to facilitate verification in the future. While the Balance Chain is going online, the supporting standards, including the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Platform Access and Management Standards, the Enforcement Rules of the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Platform Access and Management Standards, the Application Form for Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Deposition Access and the Instruction on the Beijing Internet Court Electronic Evidence Deposition Access Interface, are released simultaneously. These supporting standards prescribe the requirement of receivers, the requirement for the electronic information system of the receiver and the requirement for the juridical application of the evidence platform in details from the practical point of view so that the potential receivers can interconnect in a compliant manner while ensuring the quality of the connected data. III. Taiwan’s current situation In the above cases, the United States amended the laws and regulations related to the electronic transaction by increasing the scope of the terms, such as electronic forms of records, signatures and transactions so that the records, signatures and transactions made by the blockchain technology is as effective as that of other technologies. According to Article 9 of the Taiwanese Electronic Signatures Act, the enforceability of the data generated by blockchain technology shall still be judged case by case in terms of the technology for electronic documents, signature and transaction formation, and its applicability or exclusion shall be determined by laws or administrative agencies. In China, the role of electronic data is discussed in the relevant standards used by the Internet Court to examine the cases. Regarding the definition of electronic materials, electronic records and electronic documents, Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Taiwanese Electronic Signatures Act defines electronic document as a record in electronic form, which is made of “any text, sound, picture, image, symbol, or other information generated by electronic or other means not directly recognizable by human perceptions, and which is capable of conveying its intended information.” In addition, Article 4 states “With the consent of the other party, an electronic record can be employed as a declaration of intent. Where a law or regulation requires that information be provided in writing, if the content of the information can be presented in its integrity and remains accessible for subsequent reference, with the consent of the other party, the requirement is satisfied by providing an electronic record. By stipulation of a law or regulation or prescription of a government agencies, the application of the two preceding paragraphs may be exempted, or otherwise require that particular technology or procedure be followed. In the event that particular technology or procedure is required, the stipulation or prescription shall be fair and reasonable, and shall not provide preferential treatment without proper justifications.”  The electronic records, regardless of the type of technology, are given the same effect as paper documents with the consent of both parties. In litigation, electronic records, electronic evidence or similar terms are not found in the Criminal Code of the Republic of China, the Civil Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure. The adoption of electronic records often refers to Paragraph 2 of Article 220 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China. An audio recording, a visual recording, or an electromagnetic recording and the voices, images or symbols that are shown through the computer process and are sufficient evidence of intention shall be considered a document. The content that is considered meaningful is that the identity of the person expressing the content is identifiable according to the content and can be used to prove legal relationship or fact in social life. The relevant standards for proof under the electronic evidence follow Article 363 of the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure. For non-documentary objects which operate as documents, including those are accessible only through technological devices or those that are practically difficult to produce their original version, a writing representing its content along with a proof of the content represented as being true to the original will be acceptable. However, the way of proof or recognition standards are not sufficiently described. Or according to Paragraph 2 of Article 159-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, “documents of recording nature, or documents of certifying nature made by a person in the course of performing professional duty or regular day to day business, unless circumstances exist making it obviously unreliable. In addition”, and Paragraph 3 “ Documents made in other reliable circumstances in addition to the special circumstances specified in the preceding two Items.”  In fact, the Juridical Yuan started to promote the electronic litigation platform (including online litigation) in 2016, and has launched the online litigation business by gradually opening the application for different types of applicants and litigation. However, there is no description on the technical type and inspection standards of electronic evidence. Moreover, only the litigation evidence is uploaded. There is no evidence deposition before litigation for comparison during litigation. Under Taiwan’s laws and regulations, electronic evidence and its proving method is not significantly different from other types of evidence. The judgment of evidence shall still depend on judges’ recognition on the evidence. Taking the practice of criminal litigation as an example, it can be viewed at three levels: 1. The submission of the evidence. If the evidence is collected illegally, not following a statutory method or is not logically related to the pending matters, it will be excluded. This is the way to determine whether the evidence is eligible to enter the evidence investigation process. 2. In the investigation of evidence, the method of investigation (e.g., whether it is legal), the determination of relevance and the debate on evidence (e.g., to confirm the identity of the person producing the electronic evidence, whether the electronic evidence is identical to the original version without addition, deletion or alteration) are investigated during the investigation procedure. 3. The debate on evidence is to determine the power of the evidence by considering the relationship among the elements that constitute the whole and whether the evidence can prove the connection among all elements. In addition, whether the electronic evidence is consistent with the original version is often based on Article 80 of the Notary Act, "When making notarial deeds, notaries shall write down the statements listened to, the circumstances witnessed, and other facts they have actually experienced. The means and results of the experience shall also be stated in the notarial deeds.”  A notary shall review the electronic evidence and record the inspection process and the inspection results to demonstrate its credibility. VI. Conclusions and recommendations According to the latest 2050 smart government plan announced in the Executive Yuan’s 3632nd meeting held on December 27, 2018, the government is planning to connect the database of each government agency through blockchain technology, and the plan also includes establishment of digital identification. It is foreseeable that there will be more and more electronic materials, documents and records connected by blockchain technology in the future. When it comes to improve management efficiency and reduce the barriers to introduce this technology to various sectors, it is necessary to adjust the related regulations. At present, there are no statutory provisions for the technology that assist the use of the electronic evidence involved in traditional litigation channels or online platforms, including using blockchain for evidence deposition and authentication . This also poses uncertainty to the judges when they make judgments. If we consider the continuous development and breakthrough of technology, which is relatively faster than the legislative process, and the traditional tangible transactions and contracts are still the majority in life, Taiwan has defined electronic materials, electronic records and electronic documents in the Electronic Signatures Act to ensure and strengthen the legal rights and benefits under the adoption of the technology. In addition, the Electronic Signatures Act also reserves the right to determine whether the technology is applicable to the laws and regulations or administrative agencies. In other words, the technology behind electronic materials, records and documents are not specified, and the aforementioned electronic materials have the same effect as the contracts and signature as the traditional written format. However, there are no standards to specify which standards are valid for evidence deposition and authentication for electronic materials on the level of deposition and authentication. In the future, when improving the relevant functions of the online litigation platform, the Juridical Yuan can also consider using technologies, such as blockchain or timestamps to provide evidence deposition service, which is expected to enhance the efficiency of evidence verification for online litigation in the future and prevent wasting review resources on invalid evidence for a better operation mode. This is in line with the government's policy direction. By providing support and demonstration of emerging technologies, not only limited to blockchain, on the legal level, it can reduce the public’s uncertainty and risk on introducing or applying the technology to legal process. This is very helpful in realizing a large scale application of the technology.  Legal Services Innovation Index, Phase 1, Version 1.0, https://www.legaltechinnovation.com/law-firm-index/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  For example, Arizona's Arizona Electronic Transactions Act (AETA) and Ohio’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) described the electronic signature and the enforceability of contracts under blockchain technology; in China, Beijing Internet Court provides litigation files and litigation evidence deposition service based on blockchain technology for future litigation.  The Global Legal Blockchain Consortium website, https://legalconsortium.org/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  H.B. 2417, 53th Leg., 1st Regular. (AZ. 2017).  S.B. 220, 132ND General Assembly. (OH. 2017-2018). “The Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by Internet Courts,” the Supreme People's Court of the People’s Republic of China http://www.court.gov.cn/zixun-xiangqing-116981.html (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  Tencent Research Institute, <The era of judicial blockchain has arrived? ——from the two cases of blockchain electronic deposition>, October 23, 2018, https://ek21.com/news/1/132154/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  Securities Daily, <Beijing Dongcheng District Court confirmed the evidence collection by blockchain for the first time-- application of "blockchain + justice" for new opportunities in history> October 20, 2018, https://www.jinse.com/bitcoin/258170.html (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Electronic Signatures Act  Article 4 of the Electronic Signatures Act  Paragraph 2 of Article 220, “A writing, symbol, drawing, photograph on a piece of paper or an article which by custom or by special agreement is sufficient evidence of intention therein contained shall be considered a document within the meaning of this Chapter and other chapters. So shall be an audio recording, a visual recording, or an electromagnetic recording and the voices, images or symbols that are shown through computer process and are sufficient evidence of intention.”  Article 363 of the Taiwan Code of Civil Procedure, “The provisions of this Item shall apply mutatis mutandis to non-documentary objects which operate as documents. Where the content of a document or an object provided in the preceding paragraph is accessible only through technological devices or it is practically difficult to produce its original version, a writing representing its content along with a proof of the content represented as being true to the original will be acceptable. The court may, if necessary, order an explanation of the document, object, or writing representing the content thereof provided in the two preceding paragraphs.”  Paragraph 2 of Article 159-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure  Liberty Times, <The Juridical Yuan is promoting “E-litigation.” Two new systems are on the road.” August 1, 2018, http://news.ltn.com.tw/news/society/breakingnews/2506118 (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).  Chih-Lung Chen, “Seminar on the Reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure 3: Revision Direction of Rule of Evidence,” The Taiwan Law Review, Issue 52, Page 71-73 (1999).  Article 80 of the Notary Act.  BlockTempo, <The Executive Yuan Announced the Smart Government New Plan: the Taiwan Government will Use Blockchain Technology to Establish Information Exchange Mechanism of Various Agencies>, January 2, 2019, https://www.blocktempo.Com/taiwan-gv-want-to-use-blockchain-tech-build-data/ (last visited on Jan. 11, 2019).Korea “Strategies for an Intellectual Property Powerhouse to Realize a Creative Economy” Overview
Background Since 1990, many countries like United States, Japan and EU understand that intellectual properties create higher value added than tangible assets do so these countries respectively transformed their economic types to knowledge-based economy so as to boost economic growth and competitiveness. For example, Japan has legislated “Intellectual Property Basic Act” in 2002 and established “the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters” in 2003. United States legislated “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (PRO-IP Act)” in 2008. China also announced “National Intellectual Property Strategic Principles” in June, 2008. Following the above international tendency of protecting intellectual properties, Korea government has promoted intellectual property related policies and legislated related acts since 2000, such as “Technology Transfer Promotion Act” in 2000, policy of supporting patent disputes settlements and shortened the length of patent examination procedure in 2004. Besides, on June 27, 2006, the Presidential Advisory Council on Education, Science and Technology (PACEST) announced “Strategy for Intellectual Property System Constructing Plan.” However, these policies or acts mainly focus on the protection and application of patent rights, not relate to other kinds of intellectual property rights such as trademark right, copyright etc. Until 2008, in order to advance the ability of national competition, Lee Myung-bak government had established “Presidential Council on National Competitiveness (PCNC)”. For the vision of transforming to the intellectual property based economy, the PCNC held its 15th meeting on July 29, 2009. The meeting, held at the Blue House, was attended by the president, the Chairman, and members of the Council. One of the agenda of the meeting is strategies for an intellectual property (IP) powerhouse to realize a creative economy. Three goals of the strategies includes being IP Top 5 nations (U.S., Japan, EU, Korea and China), improving technology balance of payments deficits, and enhancing the scale of copyright industry. Next, this study will introduce details of Korea IP related strategies for our nation’s reference. Introduction Korea IP strategy consists of 3 aspects (creation and application, law and regulation, infrastructure) and 11 missions. And the contents of 11 missions cover the creation, protection and application of intellectual property rights (patent, copyright, trademark, plant variety etc), namely the whole life cycle of intellectual property rights. Through announcement of IP Strategies, Korea hopes to protect intellectual property rights from every aspect and makes IP as essential driving force for national economic growth. 1. Creation and Application Aspect First, although the quantity of intellectual property rights (IPRs) of Korea is rapidly increased in recent years, the quality of intellectual property rights is not increased equally. Also, most of researchers do not receive appropriate rewards from R&D institutions, and then it might reduce further innovation. As above reasons, Korea IP strategy indicated that the government will raise “invention capital” to exploit, buy researchers’ new ideas, and make those ideas get legal protection. That is, the government will set up non-practicing entities (NPEs) with private business. The NPEs would buy intellectual properties from R&D institutions or researchers, and then license to enterprises who have need. After licensing, NPEs will share royalty which obtained from enterprises (licensees) with researchers appropriately. Besides, in order to encourage university, public R&D institutions to set up “technology holdings”, Korea government had amended “Industry Education and Corporation of Industry, Academic and Research Promotion Act”. The amendments are loosening establishment conditions of technology holdings, such as minimum portion of investment in technology has been lowered from 50% to 30%, and broadening the scope of business of technology holdings. 2. Law and Regulation Aspect Secondly, in aspect of law and regulation, in addition to encouraging creation of good quality of IP, Korea considers that intellectual property rights are needed to be protected legally. Therefore, the IP strategy especially pointed out that Korea would follow the example of Japan to legislate their own “Intellectual Property Basic Act”. According to Korea “Intellectual Property Basic Act”, it should establish a “Presidential Council on Intellectual Property”. The main work of this Council is planning and promoting intellectual property related policies. There are 5 chapters and 41 articles in Korea “Intellectual Property Basic Act”. The Act like Korea IP strategy is divided into three parts, that is, “creation and application”, “protection” and “infrastructure”. In fact, the legislation of Korea “Intellectual Property Basic Act” embodies the policies of IP strategy. Further, according to Korea “Intellectual Property Basic Act”, “Presidential Council on Intellectual Property” is to integrate IP related affairs of the administrations into one action plan and promote it. Moreover, according to Korea “Intellectual Property Basic Act”, the government should make medium-term and long-term policies and basic plans for the promotion of intellectual properties every 5 years and adjusts policies and plans periodically as well. Through framing, enacting and adjusting policies and plans, Korea expects to create a well-living environment for the development of intellectual property. 3. Infrastructure Aspect Thirdly, even if good laws and regulations are already made and more government budget and human resource are invested, Korea is still deficient in well-prepared social infrastructure and leads to the situation that any promoting means of intellectual properties will be in vain. With regard to one of visions of Korea IP strategy,” being IP Top 5 power (U.S., Japan, EU, Korea and China)”, on the one hand, Korea domestic patent system should harmonize with international intellectual property regulations that includes loosening the conditions of application and renewal of patent and trademark. On the other hand, the procedure of patent application conforms to the international standard, that is, the written form of USA patent application becomes similar to the forms of world IP Top 3 power (U.S., Japan and EU) and member states of Paten Law Treaty (PLT). At the same time, Korea would join “Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH)” to enable Korea enterprises to acquire protection of patent rights around the world more rapidly. In addition, about the investigation of infringement of intellectual property rights, Korea IP strategy stated that it would strengthen control measures on nation border and broaden IP protection scope from only patent to trademark, copyright and geographical indications. Besides, Korea uses network technology to develop a 24-hour online monitoring system to track fakes and illegal copies. In addition to domestic IP protection, Korea enterprises may face IP infringement at overseas market, thus Korea government has provided supports for intellectual property rights disputes. For this sake, Korea choose overseas market such as Southeast Asia, China, and North America etc to establish “IP Desk” and “Copyright Center” for providing IP legal consultation, support of dispute-resolving expenses and information services for Korea enterprises. Korea IP strategy partially emphasizes on the copyright trading system As mentioned above, one of visions of Korea IP strategy is “enhancing the development of copyright industry”. It’s well-known that Korea culture industries like music, movie, TV, online game industries are vigorous in recent years. Those culture industries are closely connected to copyright, so development of copyright industry is set as priority policy of Korea. In order to enhance the development of Korea copyright industry, a well-trading environment or platform is necessary so as to make more copyrighted works to be exploited. Therefore, Korea Copyright Commission has developed “Integrated Copyright Number (ICN)” that is identification number for digital copyrighted work. Author or copyright owners register copyright related information on “Copyright Integrated Management System (CIMS)” which manages information of copyrighted works provided by the authors or copyright owners, and CIMS would give an ICN number for the copyrighted work, so that users could through the ICN get license easily on “Copyright License Management System (CLMS)” which makes transactions between licensors and licensees. By distributing ICN to copyrighted works, not only the licensee knows whom the copyright belongs to, but the CLMS would preserve license contracts to ensure legality of the licensee’s copyright. After copyright licensing, because of characteristic of digital and Internet, it makes illegal reproductions of copyrighted works easily and copyright owners are subject to significant damages. For this reason, Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and Korea Intellectual property Office (KIPO) have respectively developed online intellectual property (copyright and trademark) monitoring system. The main purpose of these two systems is assisting copyright and trademark owners to protect their interests by collecting and analyzing infringement data, and then handing over these data to the judiciary. Conclusion Korea IP strategy has covered all types of intellectual properties clearly. The strategy does not emphasize only on patent, it also includes copyright, trademark etc. If Taiwan wants to transform the economic type to IP-based economy, like Korea, offering protection to other intellectual property rights should not be ignored, too. As Taiwan intends to promote cultural and creative industry and shows soft power of Taiwan around the world, the IP strategy of Taiwan should be planned more comprehensively in the future. In addition to protecting copyrights by laws and regulations, for cultural and creative industry, trading of copyrights is equally important. The remarkable part of Korea IP strategy is the construction of copyright online trading platform. Accordingly, Taiwan should establish our own copyright online trading platform combining copyright registration and source identification system, and seriously consider the feasibility of giving registered copyright legal effects. A well-trading platform integrating registration and source identification system might decrease risks during the process of licensing the copyright. At the same time, many infringements of copyrights are caused because of the nature of the modern network technology. In order to track illegal copies on the internet, Taiwan also should develop online monitoring system to help copyright owners to collect and preserve infringement evidences. In sum, a copyright trading system (including ICN and online intellectual property monitoring system) could reinforce soft power of Taiwan cultural and creative industry well.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.The IP Strategy of Collaboration during COVID-19 Pandemic in Taiwan
The IP Strategy of Collaboration during COVID-19 Pandemic in Taiwan 1. IP strategy during COVID-19 pandemic Since the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease called “COVID-19” has become a global pandemic. World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Feb. 12, 2020. WHO also announced that the new corona virus pandemic is requiring substantial efforts to enable regular information sharing and research, the global community should demonstrate solidarity and cooperation. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), pointed out that Collaboration is the engine of global science under COVID-19 pandemic. Global community should take the experience of Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, through global collaboration can provide opportunities both to create new knowledge and to increase the impact of research by diffusing existing knowledge, quickly and at all levels. Both “openness on data” and “open science in real time” are the key factors of improving collaboration under the crisis. Chesbrough (2020) noted that the pandemic stimulating innovation in management of intellectual property, such as initiatives like “Open COVID Pledge” encourages companies and universities to release intellectual property for fighting against COVID-19. The IP strategy based on “Open Innovation” concept can go much further, to play an important role in recovering after the crisis. There are two international famous cases in Taiwan, “National face mask production team” and “Face mask map” helped Taiwanese people to overcome the crisis lack of masks during the pandemic. Both cases show the importance of open innovation in facing the crisis, and contain the concept of IP strategy based on collaboration. 2. National face mask production team Because over 80% of face masks rely on imports, Taiwanese government was aware of the lack of masks when the epidemic began. Since the first COVID-19 case in Taiwan was confirmed on Jan. 21, surgical face masks were sold out in a very short time. The government banned the export of masks on Jan. 24 for controlling the shortages, but it was still a big problem that the production lines at that time could not afford the demand of Taiwanese people. Therefore, how to obtain a large number of mask production lines in a short time and ensure the supply of raw materials had become the primary issue. The government invested NT$200 million (US$6.66 million) and recruited over 100 technicians to form the team named “National face mask production team”. The national team is composed of volunteers from industry and research institutions, especially from Taiwan Machine Tool and Accessory Builders' Association (TMBA). From Feb. 5 to Mar. 5, the national team completed an estimated half a year’s workload including 62 mask production lines. And the team immediately started the second phase of work to meet the extremely large domestic demand for masks, finally they completed 92 mask production line 6 weeks and continue to assist the government in anti-counterfeiting masks. The key factor for the team to complete such a large amount of work in a very short time is not only the selfless dedication of team members but they effectively utilize and share their advantages in their own industrial field. These team members are “Hidden Champions” of global supply chain, after understanding the composition and principle of each part of the mask production line, they immediately began to assign the work and contributed their skill, know-how and experience of machine tools and accessories for mask-producing collaboration. 3. Face mask map In additional to the national face mask production team case, the “face mask map” is another successful case of collaboration during the epidemic in Taiwan. In the beginning of the epidemic, Taiwanese people rushed to buy surgical face masks, resulting in insufficient supply of domestic masks. The government implemented face mask purchase controlling such as limiting three per day and later only two per week through the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA). According to the rationing system, people can buy surgical face masks at NHIA-contracted pharmacies near their home. But in fact, due to the face mask distribution information was not disclosed, people often have to go to many pharmacies to buy masks. Thus, people spontaneously developed “face mask map”, combined with pharmacy locations on Google Maps and the data of inventory quantity in each pharmacies, to help people know where to buy surgical face masks. Taiwan’s Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang was in collaboration with Taiwanese software engineers to develop a “real-time map” of local face mask supplies through connecting pharmacy locations on Google Maps and the data of mask inventory quantity in NHIA’s database. With the support of the NHIA database opened according to the license terms compatible with Creative Commons (CC) 4.0, the platform contains over 100 programs and applications was successfully created by public-private collaboration. This platform is jointly maintained by the open community, each member of the community can actively report the updated version information of the applications. Even if the platform has retired due to the implementation of “Name-based Mask Distribution System 3.0”, the successful experience of public-private collaboration platform through “open data” and “open source software” becomes an important foundation of future development. 4. Collaborative IP strategy for crisis management In different from the traditional IP strategy that emphasizes on excluding others from implementing the patents, the collaborative IP strategy pays more attention to the potential of community co-creation. In the face of the crisis of the epidemic, people are willing to share their IP, know-how and experience to gain more time to fight the epidemic. The collaborative IP strategy can implement the concept of open innovation through knowledge sharing, and flexibly use various IP resources in the face of crisis. Especially in the face of a crisis like COVID-19 that has never been dealt with, the collaborative IP strategy can effectively collect the knowledge and creativity of the community. Cases of “National face mask production team” and “Face mask map” can be used as models for collaboration in the face of crisis, and even continue to be used for recovery after the epidemic. The open innovation theory supports open, flexible and highly interactional “creative networks”. At the same time, the collaborative IP strategy serves as a means to implement the open innovation theory. Even though many open communities’ IP strategy such as “free and open source software” or “creative commons” do not originate from the open innovation theory, the theory can still provide guidance for collaborative IP strategies in times of crisis. The collaborative IP strategy should not be limited to the sharing of patents, copyrights or trademark rights but include the skill, know-how, experience and idea, which is able to effectively organize community collaboration and innovation in the face of crisis. 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Central News Agency, How a team of technicians is helping Taiwan triple mask production, Taiwan News, Mar. 25, 2020, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3903970 (last visited Oct. 30, 2020). Keoni Everington, Taiwan platform includes over 100 apps showing mask availability in stores, Taiwan News, Feb. 27, 2020, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3882111 (last visited Oct. 30, 2020). Ali Jazairy, Impact of Collaborative Innovation on IP and Future Trends in IP, Les Nouvelles, 47, 224 (2012).