WIPO IP Enforcement News: June 2003

I. WIPO Activities

(1) WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

From June 13 to 16, 2003, the first session of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement took place at WIPO's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This Committee had been established following the decision taken by the last WIPO General Assembly in September 2002, to continue in a single Committee the discussions on issues related to the enforcement of both industrial property rights and copyright and related rights.

In the meeting, chaired by Mr. Henry Olsson (Special Government Adviser, Ministry of Justice , Sweden), representatives of some 72 countries, 5 IGOs and 16 NGOs emphasized the great importance of IPR enforcement, and greatly appreciated the setting up of the Committee as a forum for discussion on enforcement matters. Particular satisfaction was expressed with regard to the recent activities carried out by WIPO in the area of IPR enforcement. These activities also included the launching of the IPEIS Forum, which was considered to be an excellent tool for exchange of information and experience in the field of enforcement, the use of which should not be limited to registered participants. The "thematic approach" suggested by the Secretariat was supported by all delegations.

Various themes related to the enforcement of IP rights, to be addressed in future meetings, were intensively discussed, including those suggested by the WIPO Secretariat in paragraph 13 of document WIPO/ACE/1/2. The selection of these themes, as well as their priority, will be further discussed in the next session of the Committee, scheduled to take place in 2004. For this purpose, the Committee encouraged a broad involvement of relevant stakeholders. It was also agreed that the next Committee session would focus on the role of the judiciary, quasi-judicial authorities and the prosecution in enforcement activities, including related issues such as litigation cost and the like.

The press update on the session is available under http://www.wipo.int/news/en/conferences.html

The agenda of the meeting and the working documents can be found at http://www.wipo.int/news/en/conferences.html

The conclusions of the Chairman of the Committee will be published soon in the IPEIS Forum (http://www.wipo.int/ipeis/en/ and on the WIPO website http://www.wipo.int/


(2) Japan: Information on Enforcement Activities

In connection with the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement, Japan has made available information on recent efforts against counterfeiting and piracy in Japan, and on national IP policy topics in general.

The documents are available at http://www.wipo.int/wilma/ipeis-ie/200306/msg00003/Japan.pdf

Further details on the reform process in Japan for a further promotion of IP protection are contained in the document Intellectual Property Policy Outline of July 3, 2002, by the Strategic Council on Intellectual Property. Based on this outline, the Government of Japan intends to reform the national IP system up to 2005.

See http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/policy/titeki/kettei/020703taikou_e.html


(3) Thailand: Information on current Enforcement Activities

On the occasion of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement, Thailand has provided two documents which contain detailed information on measures for the prevention and suppression of IP rights violations implemented by the Thai Government in the period 2002/2003.

The information is posted under http://www.wipo.int/wilma/ipeis-ie/200306/msg00002/thailand.pdf


(4) Information on Enforcement Activities in Spain - English translation available

WIPO has made available an English translation of the Joint Memorandum 2001 of the Spanish Interministerial Commission against Practices in Violation of Industrial Property and Copyright and Related Rights, which was submitted by the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office in March 2003 in reply to the WIPO request for information on activities and experiences in the field of IP enforcement.

The English version has been posted on the IPEIS Forum under June 2003. http://www.wipo.int/wilma/ipeis-ie/200306/msg00001/SPTO_Joint_Memo_2001_en.doc

The original Spanish text of the Joint Memorandum is available under http://www.oepm.es/internet/infgral/primera.htm


(5) WIPO training activities 

(a) WIPO National Seminar on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (Damascus, June 18-19, 2003)

WIPO organized, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of Syria, a national seminar on the enforcement of intellectual property rights for the judiciary, public prosecutors, lawyers and customs officials, in Damascus, Syria. The program and various documents of the meeting can be found at http://www.wipo.int/news/en/index.html (Conferences, Meetings and Seminars).

(b) WIPO-CISAC Sub-Regional Seminar on Copyright Infringement (Minsk, June 23-24, 2003)

WIPO organized, in cooperation with the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR), and the National Center of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Belarus, a subregional two-day seminar on Copyright Infringement. Lectures and discussions covered various topics related to this issue, such as the situation of copyright protection and enforcement in Belarus, the point of view of right holders and collective management organizations in fighting against piracy, and the role of customs in copyright enforcement.

The program of the seminar as well as a seminar document on the role of the customs in Copyright enforcement are available at http://www.wipo.int/ipeis/en/document/pdf/cisac_cr_msk_03_1.pdf and http://www.wipo.int/ipeis/en/document/pdf/cisac_cr_msk_03_inf_1prov.pdf

(c) WIPO-USPTO Joint Colloquium for Judges (Geneva and Washington, July 09 to 18, 2003)

In line with the continuing objective of WIPO in assisting developing countries to be equipped with modern and efficient infrastructures for the administration and enforcement of intellectual property rights, WIPO is organizing, in cooperation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Washington, a forum for senior judges from 21 countries of the Asean region to exchange experiences concerning the adjudication of IPR disputes. A number of judges, attorneys and other experts in the field of intellectual property enforcement, from EU countries and the US, will also contribute to the discussions by sharing their experiences.


II. Links to information on some international developments in IP enforcement

(1) France: Comité National Anti-Contrefaçon (CNAC) presents its plan of action against counterfeiting for 2003/2004

On May 27, 2003, the CNAC, a Committee under the authority of the French Minister of Industry, presented its new plan of action which aims at strengthening the fight against counterfeiting in France. The plan is based on three main axes : (1) increased public awareness of the consequences of counterfeiting, (2) strengthening of the judicial enforcement, in particular through stronger penal and civil sanctions and an improved jurisdiction, and (3) the strengthening of international cooperation. According to the document, counterfeiting is constantly increasing; for example, in 2002, 1.2 million products were seized in France, and 100 million in the European Union. The document also makes reference to the interrelation between counterfeiting and activities of organized crime.

The plan of action is available under http://www.industrie.gouv.fr/infopres/presse/cnac.pdf (French language only)


(2) EU (I): Next steps for the Commission's proposal for an Enforcement Directive

The Commission's proposal for an Enforcement Directive (COM (2003) 46(01)) is currently under review by the Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament. This Committee has discussed, on May 23, 2003, the first working document issued by the rapporteur of the Committee. The working document makes reference to some criticism which the proposal has attracted, in particular from the entertainment industry and from authors' societies, and which regards the focus of the proposal on "infringements committed for commercial purposes" or "causing significant harm to right holders". Industry representatives had attacked this limitation as falling short and giving the wrong signal by not taking a hard-line approach against individuals and peer-to-peer systems for file swapping. In this context, the working document also refers to the question as to whether such a restrictive approach would be in line with the provisions of the TRIPS agreement, which covers "any act" of infringing intellectual property rights.

Other issues mentioned in the document, which are likely to be discussed in the Committee, concern, inter alia, scope and definitions of copyright in the proposal (in relation to such definitions in the copyright directive), clarification of the meaning of Art. 3 of the proposal, injunctions, compensation, damages, and evidence law in general.

The Legal Affairs Committee is expected to vote on the rapporteur's report on October 7, 2003.

The working paper is available under http://www.europarl.eu.int/meetdocs/committees/juri/20030521/495099en.pdf


(3) EU (II): Parliament Declaration on Fight against Piracy and Counterfeiting

On June 5, 2003, the Parliament adopted the "Declaration on the Fight against Piracy and Counterfeiting in the enlarged European Union." The declaration calls on the European Council and Commission for a concerted action against piracy and counterfeiting which is considered to have alarming levels in the EU and epidemic proportion in accession countries. Counterfeiting and piracy is estimated to result in an average loss of 17,000 jobs a year in the EU and millions in lost tax revenue for governments. The Declaration urges Europe to implement strong, harmonized civil sanctions for any intellectual property infringement, as well as tough criminal penalties for selling counterfeit products. In addition, the declaration supports better cross-border cooperation between law enforcement agencies and an increased consumer awareness on the issue.

The Declaration can be found at  http://www.europarl.eu.int/Declaration/document/2003/P5_DCL(2003)0005/P5_DCL(2003)0005_EN.doc


(4) Technological Enforcement of Digitized Copyrighted Works: USPTO Report on some current core technologies and products

In the area of digitized works, copyright owners are increasingly turning to technological enforcement of copyrighted content by using technological measures that prevent unauthorized access to or infringement of a work, such as encryption, digital watermarking, or authentication systems. This trend and the need for a safe legal framework has been reflected in the adoption of the 1996 "WIPO Internet Treaties," the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms treaty (WPPT). These instruments, in force since 2002, require, inter alia, signatories to provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of such technological measures. In the meantime, many such systems have been developed, based on various technologies and products. For information purposes, USPTO identified over 100 commercial firms that are developing or offering such technological protection systems. The report, published on May 20, 2003, contains information on selected products that are currently available in the marketplace, along with industry-led initiatives, including standard-setting activities, to develop new products.

The report is available under http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/teachreport.pdf


(5) UK: Guide on new rules for IP proceedings

In the UK, new Rules for Intellectual Property proceedings came into force on April 1, 2003. The Court Service, an executive agency of the Department for Constitutional Affairs of the UK government, offers a guide for patent proceedings under the new provisions, both before the Patents Court and the Patents County Court. Particular attention is drawn to the modified provisions for a streamlined procedure in patent litigation.

The guide is posted on the website of the Court Services at http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/using_courts/guides_notices/notices/pats/pats_guide.htm


(6) US: United States Attorneys Offices 2002 statistics of Intellectual Property Offenses and Sentences

The figures cover a number of offenses such as "Trafficking in Counterfeit Labels for Phono Records and Copies of Motion Pictures or other Audiovisual Works" and Criminal Infringement of a Copyright.

See http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2002/pdf/AppendixC.pdf


(7) Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR) honored by Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (CACG)

On June 19, 2003, the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR) was named "2003 Association of the Year" by CACG. In announcing the award, CACG referred to "the coalition's outstanding achievements in the fight against counterfeiting in Russia, the CIS and the Baltic States."

For details see http://www.cipr.org/activities/gacg/release.htmhttp://www.cipr.org/activities/gacg/GACAwardReleaseFinal.pdf