New plan signals commitment to protection of IP rights

Taiwan

The Taiwanese government has announced a three-year plan to improve the protection of intellectual property. The plan is designed to increase the legal enforcement and public awareness of IP rights, with the aim of cultivating a superior environment for IP protection.

The protection of IP rights has been identified as a key part of the government's efforts to upgrade domestic industries and promote the country's competitive advantages as a base for industry. It is also an important obligation for Taiwan as a member of the global community. The government has so far been successful in its efforts to curb piracy; statistics published by the International Intellectual Property Alliance show that the rate of pirated games software in Taiwan was reduced from 56% in 2002 to 42% in 2003. Commercial software piracy also dropped, from 53% in 2001 to 41% in 2003, and the estimated value of IP infringement decreased accordingly, from $848 million to $453 million.

Taiwanese customs authorities have also enhanced border investigations in order to prevent the exportation of counterfeit products. The value of suspected counterfeit goods seized by the United States has been reduced from $26.5 million in 1991 to just $60,000 in 2004.

All these improvements are considered to be critical to facilitating trade negotiations between Taiwan and the United States. By demonstrating its resolve to protect IP rights, the Taiwanese government is hoping that the door to the annual Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting will soon be reopened. The government has made revisions to the Copyright Act, as well as the Patent and Trademark Acts, as part of its attempt to reinitiate TIFA negotiations with the United States.

Joyce Ho and Jeanne Wang, Tsar & Tsai, Taipei

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