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[1] (the “DTSA”) marks a milestone in the recent development of trade secret law in the United States (“U.S.”).[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] The DTSA provides federal courts with original jurisdiction[5] over civil actions brought under the DTSA, giving trade secret owners an option to litigate trade secret claims in federal courts.[6] As a result, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies.[7]

  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.[8] Various decisions show that federal courts tend to look to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions.[9] 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.[10] Otherwise, the plaintiff's complaint may be dismissed by the federal court.[11] Filing a motion requesting dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint[12] 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.[13]

  The DTSA opens the door of federal courts to trade secret plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies,[14] but the DTSA does not “guarantee unfettered access to the federal courts.”[15] 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.[16] The claim and statement pled by the plaintiff in his complaint must meet the “plausibility” threshold.[17] 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,[18] elements of a claim required by the DTSA,[19] etc.) are satisfied when bringing a DTSA claim in federal court.[20] 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.[21] 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.”[22]

  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)[23] defined by the DTSA to affirmatively prove the existence of his trade secret.[24] 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,[25] all of which plausibly suggest that the information in dispute qualifies as a trade secret.[26] Federal courts do not require a plaintiff to disclose his trade secret in detail in his complaint.[27] Nevertheless, a plaintiff should be able to provide the “general contour” of the alleged trade secret that he seeks to protect.[28] 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.”[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33] The provision for ex parte seizure orders is a controversial part of the DTSA[34] 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.”[35] 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.[36] Only when a federal court finds it “clearly appears from specific facts” that certain requirements are met[37] and only in “extraordinary circumstances”[38] may a federal court issue an ex parte seizure order.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44]

  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.[45] 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.[46] During the trial, the defendant neither acknowledged receipt of the court's prior orders[47] nor appeared before the court as ordered,[48] 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.[49] 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,[50] and thus, issued a said seizure order as requested by the plaintiff.[51] Romaka gives us some hints about what circumstances would cause a federal court to order a DTSA ex parte seizure.[52] 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.[53] 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.[54]

  Federal courts take a conservative approach toward ex parte seizure order to curtail abuse of such order[55] 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[56] is nonetheless available to those victims.[57] 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.[58]

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.[59] Therefore, the DTSA does not apply to trade secret misappropriations that began and ended before the effective date of DTSA.[60] 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.[61]

  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.[62] 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.[63] 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.”[64]

  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.[65] 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.[66] 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.[67]

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.[68] Rather, the DTSA adds a layer of protection for trade secrets and creates a federal path for plaintiffs to pursue civil remedies.[69] Federal courts tend to turn to local state laws and pre-DTSA decisions for guidance when hearing DTSA claims or making decisions.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72] However, a plaintiff should be able to describe and identify his trade secrets.[73]

3. Seeking to secure a DTSA ex parte seizure order in federal court will likely face an uphill battle.[74] 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.[75] 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.[76]

4. The DTSA might apply to trade secret misappropriations that occurred prior to and continued after the enactment date of the DTSA.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79]


[1] 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”].

[2] 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).

[3] 18 U.S.C. §1838.

[4] 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.

[5] 18 U.S.C. §1836(c).

[6] 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.

[7] Conley, supra note 4.

[8] 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).

[9] 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).

[10] 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”].

[11] 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).

[12] Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b).

[13] Jessica Engler, The Defend Trade Secrets Act at Year One, 12 No. 4 In-House Def. Q. 20, 22 (2017).

[14] Conley, supra note 4.

[15] Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3.

[16] 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.

[17] 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.

[18] 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”].

[19] 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.

[20] 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.

[21] Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[22] Id.

[23] 18 U.S.C. §1839(3).

[24] McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2.

[25] Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10.

[26] 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.

[27] Mission Measurement Corp. v. Blackbaud, Inc, 216 F.Supp.3d 915, 921 (N.D.Ill. 2016).

[28] Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3.

[29] McFarland, 2017 WL 741569, at *2; Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921; Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 798.

[30] 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).

[31] Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.

[32] Ciro, 242 F.Supp.3d at 800.

[33] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Hensley, supra note 8, at 44.

[34] 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.

[35] 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A).

[36] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.

[37] 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).

[38] 18 U.S.C. §1836(b)(2)(A)(i).

[39] 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.

[40] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8; Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39.

[41] 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).

[42] 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.

[43] Digital Assurance Certification, LLC v. Pendolino, Case No: 6:17-cv-72-Orl-31TBS, at *1-2 (M.D.Fla. Jan. 23, 2017).

[44] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.

[45] 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.

[46] Romaka, No. 16-cv-05878-LLS, at 1-3.

[47] Id. at 2.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] 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.

[51] 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.

[52] Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.

[53] Id.

[54] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3; Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Renaud & Armington, supra note 39.

[55] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 3.

[56] 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).

[57] 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.

[58] 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.

[59] DTSA §2(e), Pub. L. No. 114-153, 130 Stat. 376, 381-382.

[60] Werdegar & Braunig, supra note 39; Krotoski, Burkholder, Harrison & Houmand, supra note 2, at 14; Engler, supra note 13, at 21.

[61] 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.

[62] 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.

[63] 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.

[64] Unified Weapon Systems, 2016 WL 5391394, at *6. See also Rich, supra note 8, at 8.

[65] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

[66] Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.

[67] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

[68] 18 U.S.C. § 1838.

[69] Conley, supra note 4.

[70] 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.

[71] Evans, supra note 10, at 190; Fues, Giannelli & Self, supra note 10; Fertig & Betts, Considerations—Part I, supra note 10, at 3-5.

[72] Blackbaud, 216 F.Supp.3d at 921.

[73] Digital Intent, 2016 WL 6395409, at *3. See also Evans, supra note 10, at 191.

[74] Engler, supra note 13, at 21; Dharnidharka, Day & McCrimmon, supra note 8.

[75] 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.

[76] Newman, Mendelson & Song, supra note 2, at 2-3; Rich, supra note 8, at 6; Boxer, Griem, Jr., Malyshev & Ruffi, supra note 8.

[77] 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.

[78] Milligan & Salinas, supra note 8.

[79] Engler, supra note 13, at 23.

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Mainland China changes domestic regulation for game consoles

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

Chien-Shan Chiu Background In the era where inventions drive the economy, the ability to create, capture and protect these inventive ideas has become vital for a corporation to stay competitive and sustain profit growth. Various government policies have been implemented in order to stimulate inventions and to strengthen the ability to protect these inventions through effective use of intellectual property (“IP”) rights. For the past few years, the TIPS (Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System) project has been promoted extensively aiming to increase public awareness towards IP rights and to assist local companies to establish a systematic and comprehensive IP management system. Over the years, the TIPS project has received wide recognition and positive feedbacks, and many TIPS-implemented companies are ready for the next challenges. After an extensive research, the project proposes to follow the international trend of encouraging companies to make better and more disclosure of intangible assets that are not often shown in the traditional financial statements1 . Local companies with effective IP management system and strategy are encouraged to compile an “Intellectual Property Management Report” summarizing its business, R&D and IP management strategies as well as their accumulated IP assets. In order to compile an Intellectual Property Management Report, a company is advised to re-identify its intellectual property, re-think about its strength and weakness in every aspect and where necessary, the company may also need to re-conduct a market, technology trend or competitor’s analysis, through which it is believed that a better and more effective IP strategy will be re-formulated. Formulating a well-planned corporate strategy that takes into account various IP issues is one of the main reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework. Promoting the disclosure of IP-related information so that the management efforts, visions and true capabilities of a corporation can be fully disclosed and recognized is the second major reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework. This essay begins with a brief update on the yearly progress of the TIPS project, follows by a summary of the research report on corporate investors’ view on initiating a framework for enhancing disclosure of corporate IP-related information. The research report contains the result of a survey conducted between April and June this year (year 2009), consisting questions to uncover local investors’ view and attitudes towards corporate IP, and to identify kinds of IP-related information required when making an investment decision as well as to find out to what extend local investors would support the government’s initiative on promoting a corporate IP disclosure framework. Update on the Yearly Progress of the TIPS Project In order to facilitate the promotion of TIPS, several supplementary services have been introduced (fees and expenses are fully or partially subsidized by the government this year) : (1) Free On-Line Self-Assessment Tool; (2) On-Site Diagnostic and Consulting Service (selected companies were fully subsidized); (3) “Demonstrative” Model Companies (selected companies were partially subsidized); (4) IP Management Courses (partially subsidized); (5) On-Site Auditing (for the Conformance of TIPS requirements) and issuing of the TIPS Compliance Certification (fully subsidized) . To the end of 2009, 401enterprises have completed the on-line self-assessment questions; 93 companies have received on-site diagnostic and consultation services; 847 persons have taken the IP management courses; 64 enterprises have successfully obtained the certificates for the compliance of TIPS and more than 299 enterprises have either completed or in the middle of implementing TIPS. Summary of the Research Report on Corporate Investor s’ View on Introducing a Corporate IP Disclosure Framework Even though it is clear that the idea of encouraging corporations to disclose non-financial information has started few decades ago in Europe and are currently being vigorously promoted by many major countries, we believe that in order to facilitate smooth promotion of the new IP disclosure framework, it is important to find out the local investors’ views and attitudes towards IP and to know how investors see the role of IP can play in a local corporation. Hence a survey was conducted at the initial stage of preparing the new corporate IP disclosure framework in Taiwan. The survey was sent via both mails and emails to 357 corporations, including venture capital firms; trust, investment consulting or management firms; security corporations, financial institutions and banks. More than one set of survey questionnaires could be distributed in one corporation to be filled by investors/analysts that are specialized in investing different industrial sectors. As a result, a total of 495 set of questionnaires were distributed.. Basic Data The survey was conducted between April to June 2009. At the end of June, a total of 150 investors/analysts responded which equals to a 33% response rate. Most of the survey respondents specialized in investing in various industrial sectors which include: semi-conductor; telecommunication; electronic components; 3C products; IT; optical; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; new energy resources; media; creative and culture and traditional manufacturing industries. Around 50% of the survey respondents have more than 5 years’ experience in investment; among them, 23% of the survey respondents have more than 10 years’ investment experience. Investors recognize the importance of IP A remarkable 94% of the survey respondents recognized that the ability to create, protect, manage and exploit IP has become an essential element for a company to stay competitive and sustain growth in today’s market environment. 88% of the survey respondents believe that companies with more or better IP assets are more likely to generate profits and 91% believe that such companies are more likely to survive in this ever-increasing competitive environment. Yet, 94% of the survey respondents agreed that not only a company should actively create IP assets, but the ability to exploit and thus extract value from the accumulated IP assets is what makes a company stand out among the others. Taking a step further, the survey result reveals that the respondent investors believe a company with effective and well-planned IP strategy is likely to: – Enhance its market competitiveness (84%); – Raise its overall corporate value (71%); – Maintain its market position (55%); – Increase its profitability (32%); – Affect its share price (30%); – Assist investors in evaluating such company’s managerial ability and performance (29%) as well as evaluating its future growth potential (28%). IP-related information influences investors’ investment decisions Given that most investors see the ability to create, manage and exploit IP assets as well as having a well-planned IP strategy are crucial for the survival of a company, 82% of the survey respondents indicate that IP-related information has been considered when making an investment decision. Furthermore, 85% of the survey respondents think that they will place greater emphasis on IP in assessing companies in the future. Indicators that used to assess/evaluate a company Most often used IP-related indicators identified by the survey respondents when making investment decisions are: – Core technology and its market competitiveness (77%) – Research ability (experience and achievement) (73%) – IP protection and management measures (41%) – IP strategy (align with overall corporate strategy and market/technology characteristics) (40%) – Ability to fully utilize self-owned IP assets (38%) – R&D expenditure and investment (35%) – No. of IP assets (35%) – Time taken for competing products to enter into the market (33%) – Cost of maintaining IP assets (19%) Ratio of intangible assets as to the overall corporate value (19%) : 20% of the survey respondents indicated that they have turned down investment in the past for inadequate IP awareness of the target companies. List of local companies with good and effective IP strategy The survey respondents were asked to name local Taiwanese companies which in their mind have most effective and sound IP strategy. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Foxconn, United Microelectrc (UMC), HTC, Acer are the top 5 most named companies given by the survey respondents. Having good quality of patents (such as essential or new technology patents); detailed and complete patent map; sound IP strategy; brand and professional IP/legal department are cited as the reasons that impress these investors. Inadequacy of public available IP-related information While most investors acknowledge the importance of IP and take into account various IP-related indicators when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that currently, the amount of IP-related information disclosed by companies are not sufficient for them to make an informed investment decision. When a question asking the survey respondents to identify the channels by which they obtained their desired IP-related information, the results were quite spread out. 45% of the survey respondents relied on asking the top managers directly; 43% relied on annual report; media and news (35%); website (34%); industrial journals (25%); competitors (15%) and other private channels (15%). It appears that various sources were used but no particular source provides sufficient information. Indeed, a remarkable 91% of the survey respondents believe that if there are more channels provided for corporations to disclose their internal IP information, more accurate assessment of the corporate value can be made. Support government’s initiative of promoting IP reporting framework Further, 73% of the survey respondents expressed their willingness to support the government’ s initiative of encouraging local companies to disclose their IP-related information. In relation to the initiation and promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, 64% of the survey respondents responded that it would be better to adopt a voluntarily disclosure policy and decide whether to switch to mandatory disclosure later; 22% think that only a voluntarily disclosure policy should be adopted followed by 14% of the survey respondents who believe that the government should adopt a mandatory disclosure policy from the start. When the survey respondents were asked to provide suggestions to facilitate the promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, the following suggestions were picked by the survey respondents: – Provide valuation tools to assist investors in assessing and analyzing IP related information (40%); – a central platform to collect and display all the complied IP management reports (21%); – lists of compulsory items to be disclosed in the report (21%); and – regulate the frequency of updating the contents of the report (15%). Conclusion Based on the results of the survey, we can conclude that the local investors’ view and attitude towards IP are similar to those in overseas. Majority of the investors (> 90%) see IP as valuable tools that could assist companies to create profits and sustain growth in today’s competitive market. While most of the investors (82%) have taken into account relevant IP information when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that the amount of corporate IP-related information disclosed by companies are insufficient for them to make informed investment decisions. This is an important message that local companies should pay particular attention. It is hoped that through the introduction of the corporate IP disclosure framework, more adequate corporate IP information will be disclosed to assist investors in making better and accurate investment decisions. Consequently, a company’s true capabilities, managerial efforts and the intangible assets created upon can thus be fully appreciated and reflected on its market value. 1 Various national and institutional initiatives addressing the disclosure of corporate intellectual assets are currently being promoted vigorously at the international level such as Japan’s “IA based Management Report, (METI)”; Denmark’s “Intellectual Capital Statement (MSTI)”; European Union’s “Guidelines on Intangibles, MERITUM project”; U.S.’s “EBR 2.0 (Enhance Business Reporting Consortium)”; and The World Intellectual Capital/Assets Initiative (WICI) is currently working on developing a voluntary global framework for measuring and reporting corporate performance.

Utilizing TIPS 1 to Establish a Comprehensive Intellectual Property Management System

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

Review of Singapore IP Dispute Resolution Development

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

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