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