WIPO IP Enforcement News: July-September 2003


(1) WIPO-USPTO Joint Colloquium for the Judiciary on IP Rights Enforcement, Geneva and Washington, July 09-18, 2003

In cooperation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), WIPO organized a forum for senior judges from 10 countries of the Asian region, namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The colloquium had two overall objectives:

First, the colloquium was to provide a forum for the exchange of experiences for the participating judges and their counterparts from the United States as well as from Germany. To that aim, presentations and discussions were held, both on substantial aspects of intellectual property law and recent developments, and on issues related to the adjudication of IP litigation, for instance aspects of civil and criminal procedure, damages, including the aspect of statutory damages, evidence, court administration and case management in the field of IP.

In addition, the forum served WIPO's preparatory activities for the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) in 2004, which will focus on the role of the judiciary and quasi-judicial authorities in the enforcement of IP rights. In this context, the program of the Colloquium lent itself to separate discussions with the participating members of the judiciary, to pave the way for the preparation for working documents on topical issues related to this theme.


(2) WIPO National Seminar on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, Thimphu, Bhutan

From July 23-25, 2003, WIPO organized, in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Bhutan, a national seminar addressing various issues in the field of enforcement of intellectual property rights. In addition, the possibility of establishing a Copyright Collective Management Organization in the country was discussed and explored. The seminar was attended by some 55 participants and representatives from national authorities, including the departments of health, tourism, customs and excise, the District and the High Court, the Royal Bhutan Police, the National Library, Bhutan Communications, and the private sector.


(3) Technological Enforcement of IP Rights - New study commissioned by WIPO's Copyright and Related Rights Sector on current developments in the field of DRM

The enforcement of copyright in the digital environment by technological means has become, in certain areas, an essential tool for owners of such content to make their rights be respected. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a key expression in this context, and covers a wide range of aspects. "DRM means many things to many people", the new study states in the introduction, and the term is used in various ways, associated with technologies or processes that range from protection mechanisms of copyrighted content in digital form to complex processes involving elements of identification and administration of data on works, rights, and right holders, and the exchange of rights and content in digital form. To enable a better understanding of the current picture of these technologies and the ways they are deployed, the study examines current DRM technologies and the present legal framework for such systems, covering both the international legal framework set out by the WIPO Internet treaties and the implementation of the respective provisions into national/regional law as of August 2003.

See http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/index.html




US House of Representatives: Committee Hearing on IP Crimes

On July 16, 2003, a US House of Representatives hearing was held within the framework of the Committee on International Relations, on "IP Crimes: are proceeds from Counterfeited Goods funding terrorism?", which was attended by WIPO representatives. In two panel discussions the interrelation between counterfeiting on the one hand, and organized crime and terrorism on the other, was examined; one panel was composed of representatives of Interpol and the US Department of Homeland Security, the second one of representatives from the private sector. The hearing received widespread press and television coverage, examples of which can be found under



India / United Stated of America: Joint Initiative to fight Movie Piracy

The Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) and the Hollywood-based Motion Pictures Association (MPA) have launched a joint initiative to step up efforts in the fight against movie piracy. A key element of this initiative is the creation of a reward scheme, introduced in eight Asian countries including India, which aims at better controlling movie piracy by offering a reward for volunteer submission of information on illegal movie products.

See report in the Times of India, under http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=6843


EU (I): Program of the Italian Presidency in EU presented

On July 02, 2003, the program for the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union was presented in the plenary session of the European Parliament. The program identifies counterfeiting and piracy as serious threat to national economies, and, in this context, gives priority to reaching political agreement on the European Commission proposal for a Directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights (COM (2003) 46(01)).

See http://www.ueitalia2003.it/NR/rdonlyres/57F9D4ED-4498-47F5-A4ED-73FE0BF965AC/0/ProgrammaPresidenza_ING.pdf


EU (II): Adoption of a new regulation to strengthen customs action

On July 21, 2003, a regulation to combat counterfeiting and piracy was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers. This regulation, which will replace the existing regulation (3295/94/EC), defines the conditions under which the customs authorities may intervene where goods are suspected of infringing intellectual property rights. The new regulation introduces significant changes over the previous one, aiming at tackling counterfeiting and piracy more effectively. The new provisions includes an extension of the scope of protection to other intellectual property rights, such as geographical indications or plant variety rights, and a facilitated procedure for right holders who want to submit applications for action to customs authorities. The new regulation will enter into force on July 01, 2004.

The full text of the new regulation is available at  http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/customs/counterfeit_piracy/files/counterfeit_en.pdf


EU (III): Proposal for a Regulation on Applicable Law for non-contractual obligations in cross-border cases (Rome II)

On July 22, 2003, the European Commission has submitted a proposal for a regulation on the applicable law regarding non-contractual obligations. The purpose of this proposal is to standardize the Member States' rules of conflict of laws in this field and thus further establish a genuine European law-enforcement area. In general, the rules contained in the proposal will lead to the law of the place where the damage is sustained, thus reflecting the legitimate expectations of the victims.

However, as far as intellectual property, namely copyright, related rights, the sui generis right for protection of databases, and industrial property rights, is concerned, Art. 8 of the proposal lays down specific rules. The question how to deal with the specific requirements in the field of intellectual property law has been under intense debate during the Commission's consultations. For infringements of IP rights conferred under national law or international conventions, the solution finally proposed in Art. 8 (1) is based on the lex loci protectionis principle, meaning the law of the country for which protection is sought. For unitary Community rights, such as the Community trade mark, or Community designs and models, Art. 8 (2) refers to the respective Community instrument, and, for questions not governed by these instruments, to the law of the Member State in which the act of infringement has been committed.

For the text of the proposal see http://www.europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/pdf/2003/com2003_0427en01.pdf


EU (IV): New website on legal systems and procedures in Member States launched

The European Commission (Justice and Home Affairs), in the framework of the initiative "European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters", has launched a new website. On this site, information is provided on legal procedures and systems in EU Members States, including aspects of jurisdiction, enforcement of judgements, applicable law, judicial structures etc. Links to the respective authorities in the Member States are also available, or foreseen. The website is available in all official EU languages.

See http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/ejn/


France (I): Legislation project on counterfeiting announced

Following a round table discussion, French Ministers of Culture and of Industry have announced the preparation of a draft law on counterfeiting for the end of 2003 or beginning of 2004. This legislation is supposed to anticipate the implementation of the proposed EU Directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights (COM (2003) 46(01)), and aims at strengthening ways and means to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The draft law will also take into consideration the recommendations made by the Comité national anti-contrefaçon (CNAC) in May 2003.

See http://www.industrie.gouv.fr/cgi-bin/industrie/frame626.pl?bandeau=/infopres/bi_info.htm&gauche=/infopres/comm/li_comm.htm&droite=/cgi-bin/industrie/sommaire/comm/comm.cgi?COM_ID=2200|_Action=200


France (II):

In order to stop illegal copying and transmission of protected works in cyberspace, the French Government plans to increase surveillance of Internet users by implementing the EU Directive 2001/29/EC on the Harmonization of Certain Aspects of Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society. The proposed legislation would allow greater control of activities on the Internet and is supposed to be passed by Parliament at the end of this year.

See opinion of the Copyright Advisory Board within the French Ministry of Culture (Conseil Supérieur de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique (CSPLA)) under http://www.culture.fr/culture/cspla/avislibertes.htm


(2) NGOs

Business Software Alliance (BSA) (I): Annual Software Piracy Study

In June 2003, BSA has published the eighth annual software piracy study. The results are part of an ongoing study, undertaken since 1994, which aims at determining worldwide business software piracy rates, the associated dollar losses and trends.

See http://www.bsa.lt/2003_BSA_Piracy_Study.pdf


Business Software Alliance (BSA) (II): White paper on benefits of reducing software piracy

BSA has published a report on the impact of reducing software piracy on the economic development of countries. The report analyses the economic impact of the IT sector in 57 countries and explores economic benefits that could come from future software piracy reductions. It also proposes specific steps for reducing piracy in this sector.

The white paper is available under http://global.bsa.org/idcstudy/pdfs/White_Paper.pdf


Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG): Awards presented on 2003 World Anti-Counterfeiting Day

With this award, GACG recognizes special achievements by public sector organizations, industry associations, brand owning companies and media organizations that have ‘gone the extra mile’ in their efforts to prevent counterfeit products from reaching consumers. As a public sector organization the French Customs & Excise Service received the award for its achievements in dramatically increasing the level of anti-counterfeiting enforcement actions during the last years, in particular by improving its targeting techniques.

Other winners are the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights Russia (Association), the Gilette Company (Company) and The Economist (Media).

See http://cipr.org/gacg/GACAwardReleaseFinal.pdf



US: More emphasis on IPR Seizures and Penalties by Customs

This article describes some strategies of the US customs authorities in their activities against the importation of counterfeit goods, as well as the respective legal framework under the Anti-counterfeiting Consumer Protection Act (1996).

See http://www.tasc-toys.com/pdf/heavy_fines.pdf


France: New guides on the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, and on the interrelation between counterfeiting and organized crime

The Union des fabricants, a French organization which groups together French companies and professional federations from all sectors of business, has published in September 2003 a guide which aims at facilitating the work of police authorities faced with counterfeiting and piracy activities. The guide (in French only) is available on the homepage of the Union des fabricants, see http://www.unifab.com/fr/04_contr_pirat/opj2.htm

Another publication of the same organization, published earlier this year, examines in some detail the interrelation between counterfeiting and organized crime. This guide, entitled "Contrefaçon et criminalité organisée" (published in French only), is available at http://www.unifab.com/fr/05_actu/Illustrations/contrefaconetcriminalite.pdf