March 28, 2017
  NAIP Portal Archives  
IP News in Brief March, 2017
Conor Stuart/IP Observer Reporter

Philippines Intellectual Property Office Forges Stronger Ties with Local Steel, Iron Sector

Executives of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) recently hosted guests from the Philippine Iron & Steel Institute (PISI), the umbrella organization for steel industry associations and corporations in the country, to provide essential and legal knowledge on intellectual property (IP) protection.

PISI president Roberto Cola sought legal expertise from IPOPHL to address concerns on the IP protection of its member corporations, specifically covering trademarks, patents, industrial designs and utility models (UMs).

They discussed rules and regulations pertaining to the filing of applications and granting of registration certificates for various IP rights, as well as best practices to avoid protracted and costly litigation.

IPOPHL director general Josephine Santiago said that the dialogue with PISI officials showed the government agency’s leading and active role in upholding effective IP protection and enforcement in the business sector in the country.

“The collaboration with PISI is one of our many endeavors to establish strong working relations with companies and industries in the country. IPOPHL seeks to create more partnerships with similar entities to make IP protection an essential element of business strategies among our local enterprises.”

Providing the PISI contingent essential information on their concerns, IPOPHL director, attorney Leny Raz, encouraged the group to protect its IP assets by duly securing their patent grants and registering their trademarks, industrial designs and UMs. She stated that, “IPOPHL welcomes collaborative work with the PISI to protect the intellectual creations of its members."

For his part, IPOPHL director Epifanio Evasco explained to PISI the concept of a community review system. He walked them through the procedures for granting UMs and industrial designs using the said system, where relevant information such as similar or identical applications that may impact or affect any industry will be shared.

In the area of litigation, IPOPHL director, attorney Nathaniel Arevalo, discussed available legal remedies and options in the enforcement of industrial property rights. In case of disputes, he said, “IPOPHL offers mediation and arbitration services to avoid prolonged trials.”

PISI president Cola acknowledged the efforts of IPOPHL and its officials, saying that, “We appreciate and recognize the current initiatives of the IPOPHL to strengthen the protection of IP rights as an effective tool in national development. By liaising with the agency, we in the local steel industry consider the opportunity as beneficial to our common goals.” He said that the PISI is the recognized representative of the steel industry of the Philippines, and is a member of the Southeast Asia Iron and Steel Institute as well as the ASEAN Iron and Steel Council.

Beijing Court Overturns City’s Ban on iPhone 6

A Beijing court has overturned a ban on the sale of Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the city. The ban was imposed in May of 2016 by the State Intellectual Property Office after they received notice of an infringement suit by Shenzhen-based company Baili, before being temporarily suspended by a Beijing court pending the decision of an administrative suit launched by Apple. The ban was overturned after the phone was found not to infringe on the design of Baili’s 100C smartphone.

The State Intellectual Property Office imposed the ban, despite the relative obscurity of the 100C phone, as they judged that there was likelihood of confusion by the average consumer, given that the differences between the phone were hard to perceive.

In the wake of the ban, Apple immediately filed an administrative suit with a Beijing court, and the court permitted Apple to sell its phone models while deliberations took place. The Beijing court went on to overturn the ban.

Baili will reportedly appeal the decision.

US and Taiwan Sign MOU on IP Cooperation

On February 22, 2017, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation on combatting intellectual property infringement and trade fraud. AIT and TECRO aim to work to facilitate cooperation between law enforcement authorities in the United States and Taiwan regarding cooperative investigative responses to violations of intellectual property rights laws and trade fraud, and work together to share best practices, techniques, and information. AIT managing director John J. Norris Jr. and TECRO deputy representative James K.J. Lee signed the MOU in Washington, DC.

AIT stated that the signing marks the advancement of ongoing cooperation under the auspices of AIT and TECRO by US and Taiwan authorities to combat intellectual property infringement. The cooperation is aimed at promoting economic growth, protecting public health and safety, and undermining criminal organizations, according to the AIT. Specifically it plans to halt trafficking in counterfeit merchandise, the reproduction and distribution of pirated copyrighted works, and violations of trade fraud laws. Norris said, “This AIT-TECRO MOU furthers mutual efforts supporting the continued vitality of the US and Taiwan economies, by ensuring that intellectual property owners have a full and fair opportunity to profit from their innovation and creativity free from the threat of intellectual property theft, and that commerce can flow safe from the damage of predatory and unfair trading practices.”

Kin Moy, the director of the AIT, announced the signing of the memorandum at a dinner hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on February 22.

Taiwan’s Grace Period to be Extended to 12 Months

(TIPO) An amendment to the Patent Act passed three readings in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on December 30, 2016. The amendment has a more lenient requirement regarding the grace period to allow for the dissemination of innovation and technology. The amended provisions were promulgated on January 18, 2017, by a presidential decree; their effective date will later be decided by the Executive Yuan.

Major revisions to the Patent Act include:
The existing grace period in the act is extended from 6 months to 12 months and is not limited to disclosures made by applicants. The new provisions regarding the grace period will apply when disclosures are made either intentionally or unintentionally by an applicant, in the hope of further promoting the publication and dissemination of technologies.

Publication in the Patent Gazette is made with the aim to avoid duplication of investment in the same R&D project, or to make known to the public the exact scope of claims of granted patents. The grace period is set out to ensure that inventions do not fail the novelty and inventive step tests due to exceptional disclosures made prior to their applications. The two measures are obviously different from each other in terms of their scope and purpose. As such, provisions regarding the grace period will not apply in the event of publication made in the Patent Gazette.

To prevent an applicant’s interests from nullification due to their failure to state a claim, provisions requiring that an applicant “has to claim the disclosure at the time of filing a patent application” has been removed from the act, to better protect the rights of applicants.

Taiwan FinTech Association to Set Industry Standards after Establishment

The Taiwan FinTech Association was established on February 24. Taiwanese lawmaker Jason Hsu, one of the initial proponents of the association, expressed his delight at the association's founding at the opening ceremony. The founding is the culmination of almost two years of work, including the establishment of a dedicated FinTech Office under the Financial Supervisory Committee and the release of two white papers relating to FinTech policy.

Chair of FinTech firm Fusions 360, Wang Ke-yan, was elected as the first director general of the association at the first meeting. Wang stated that although the founding of the association should be celebrated, Taiwan is quite late to the game compared to other countries.

One of the main tasks of the association will be to develop FinTech industry standards.

HTC Teams up with Shenzhen to Establish VR Research Institute

HTC announced on March 27 that it has signed a contract with a Shenzhen-based investment holdings firm, under the banner of the Shenzhen city government, to establish an international virtual reality (VR) research institute, according to Taipei’s United Daily News.

Shenzhen is one of the leading cities in China in terms of patent applications and after the establishment of the research institute, there are hopes that it will lead in the deployment of VR and AR patents.

Lin Jie, a standing committee member of the Shenzhen Party Committee, was cited by the outlet as stating that 50% of China’s international patent applications came from Shenzhen last year.


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