Journal of Intellectual Property Rights Vol 17, July 2012, pp 355-358

IPR NEWS
Patent News China amends patent law in fight for cheaper drugs China has overhauled parts of its intellectual property laws to allow its drug-makers to make copies of medicines still under patent protection in a move likely to unnerve foreign pharmaceutical companies. The amended Chinese patent law allows Beijing to issue compulsory licences to eligible companies to produce generic versions of patented drugs during state emergencies, or unusual circumstances, or in the interest of the public. For ‘reasons of public health’, eligible drug-makers can also ask to export these medicines to other countries, including members of the World Trade Organisation. The revised version of Measures for the Compulsory Licensing for Patent Implementation came into effect from 1 May 2012 and the changes can be found on the website of China’s State Intellectual Property Office. China’s move follows India’s granting of a compulsory licence in March 2012 to local generic drugs firm Natco Pharma to manufacture Bayer’s cancer drug Nexavar, used for treating kidney and liver cancer. However, China had signalled interest in the idea from at least 2008-2009, when its State Intellectual Property Office invited foreign experts to Beijing to show Chinese officials how to prepare the legal grounds for issuing compulsory licences. China’s stable of generic drug-makers has been producing the key ingredientsor active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)in medicines for years, exporting them to foreign drugmakers, which then sell the patented finished products back to China at prices which the average Chinese citizen often cannot afford. In particular, the government has been struggling to provide newer HIV drugs, such as Gilead’s tenofovir, known by its brand Viread. Although Gilead moved to share its intellectual property rights on its medicines in a patent pool with generic drugmakers from many countries in July 2011 in return for a small royalty, China was excluded, which meant it had to continue paying high prices for tenofovir. All eyes are now trained on how China battles it out with big foreign drug exporters, especially from 2013 when the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will no longer give grants to China to fight HIV (http://www.moneycontrol.com). Proposals for UK IPO mediation in patent disputes The UK government has unveiled proposals that give the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) extensive powers to mediate when patent disputes arise. The proposals have been put forward for public consultation which will run until 4 September 2012. These proposals follow the Hargreaves Review that had identified cost of managing IP, in particular, resolving disputes around IP as one of the key barriers for SMEs trying to optimise the benefits of their intellectual property. The public and businesses have been invited to give their views on the following: (i) expanding the questions relating to patent validity that can be the subject of an opinion (ii) expanding the service to offer opinions as to whether a Supplementary Protection Certificate is valid or is infringed (iii) giving the IPO the power to consider revoking a patent following issue of an opinion which concludes it is invalid. The Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox said that user input will have a direct effect on how these services are improved to help resolve intellectual property disputes quickly and in a cost-effective way. The IPO proposed to provide a Mediation Service to any parties involved in an IP dispute who wish to resolve matters without resorting to the Courts. However, uptake of this service has been low and the IPO has therefore sought comments and supporting evidence from key stakeholders and IP right holders on the reasons for this. This will be used to determine what service, if any, the IPO should be offering to support speedier and lower cost dispute resolution. Ministers claimed the Government is committed to providing SMEs with the economic environment and framework they need to grow (http://www.egovmonitor.com).

Also. For that reason. has in the meantime asked the highest EU court to decide if ACTA dents people’s privacy. in the pipeline since 2008. especially in Eastern Europe. Analysts and market insiders said more patent rows will be raised against Korean firms by technology licensors in line with free trade agreements (FTAs). the Commission has limited options to pursue. But the majority of medium and small-sized companies are vulnerable to the risk since they have few attractive technologies to share. The cross-party vote is a signal the legislature will reject ACTA in a final vote on 4 July 2012. but these have grown to include technology essential to produce light emitting diodes (LED). because any revisions would have to be agreed by all signatories to the treaty. major Korean companies have tried to hedge the risk by sharing their patented technologies in a scheme of cross-licensing. JULY 2012 Patent rows plague Korean firms A growing number of domestic companies face threats of patent disputes. Analysts warn that a high dependence on borrowed technology takes a toll on profitability. a British Labour MEP. steel and textile among others. Adding to the woes were high legal fees for patent litigation. Mr Gurry said the Diplomatic Conference represents a success of the multilateral system. the European Parliament has the authority to ratify commercial treaties. meaning that rejection would preclude any EU member state from signing up on its own. WIPO Diplomatic Conference opens in Beijing China State Counselor Liu Yandong and Beijing Deputy Mayor Lu Wei joined WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and over 700 delegates at the opening of the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances. Copyright and Trademark News EU lawmakers reject global copyright pact European lawmakers recently rejected the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). As of March 2012. the Member States of WIPO have been able to find a community of interest in the . If ACTA is voted down by the legislature as a whole. Thirty-one cases have been raised against LG Electronics.koreatimes. LG Electronics is embroiled in legal battles with German lighting company Osram over the use of key LED technologies.com). Adding to Korea’s concerns are brisker cross-border deals between companies after Korea’s free trade deals with the world’s top economies — the United States and the European Union — went into effect. seven against Hynix. had supported the treaty from the beginning. Experts have said that many small firms went bankrupt or lost their competitiveness to a great extent due to snowballing licensing fees. and six against Hyundai Motor. Semiconductor and information technology firms were an easy target of disputes. which led them to oppose the bill. 11 against Pantech. the first time the European Parliament would write off an international trade agreement since an increase in its powers in 2008. which negotiated the deal on behalf of the European Union. The European Commission. experts are calling on the government to establish protection policies for small businesses (http://www. the EU’s executive body. by opponents who said it would censor free expression and criminalize people who download files for personal use. He said that in deciding to convene the Diplomatic Conference in Beijing. The Korean Intellectual Property Office said there were 41 cases of intellectual property wrangling involving Korean firms in 2004.co. they are part of today’s corporate world where complicated technologies and spaghetti-bowl cross licences cause heads of even experts to spin. Against this backdrop.reuters. According to David Martin. Korea’s smallest mobile phone manufacturer.356 J INTELLEC PROP RIGHTS. has been engaged in a patent lawsuit against US-based technology licensing company Rambus for almost 12 years. which was acquired by SK Group and renamed SK hynix.kr). in particular in the field of intellectual property (IP). But the figure has increased nearly 25 per cent each year and reached 159 in 2011. Lawmakers from the 31-member trade committee said the vague wording of the law and disproportionate fines could do just that. being held in Beijing. the fields of industries suffering frequent patent standoffs have become more diverse. aims to reduce intellectual property theft by cracking down on fake consumer goods and medicines and digital file-sharing of pirated software and music. which it said would target large-scale operations which enable illegal digital file-sharing. The proposed legal crackdown sparked furious protests. hybrid cars. The European Commission. The ACTA deal. unsavory yet unavoidable. according to statistics from the USPTO. Hynix Semiconductor. 43 patent lawsuits involving Korean firms were pending in US courts. A ruling could take up to a year (http://www.

New Taiwanese law allows smell and touch to become trademark Taiwan’s revised trademark law will take effect on 1 July 2012. under the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The digital environment offers both opportunity and risk for audiovisual performances. Director General of the Intellectual Property Office. . with analysts projecting continued growth for this market. Their performances instruct. screenwriters and musicians-are not included in current international copyright law.int. In addition. and smell or touch. at the international level. due to difficulty in written description. it would be up to individual countries to enforce its provisions. Mr Wang Mei-hua. although acknowledging that could it be hard in many places Actors’ rights to remuneration and protection of their work-unlike those of directors.gmanetwork. or roaring lion or the Stature of Liberty at the beginning of movie.com). according to a new report published by the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters. creating an environment that better protects brand owners. Other examples included a bird image or laser image of the world map on credit cards. numerous international actors appealed for adoption of the treaty (http://www.com). Actors whose shows or films are sold abroad currently have no legal right to payment for those broadcasts. such as flower aroma for perfume. it generally goes to the producer. at the same time. Asia’s fourth largest economy. explained that presently. has undergone rapid consumer growth and a revolution in intellectual property enforcement that has created numerous opportunities for multinational brands. resulted in a 171 per cent increase in trademark filing (focused on consumer-related trademark classes such as advertising. compared to musical performances. This strong culture of intellectual property protection. Actors also have no rights in many countries if their work is manipulated in any way that may harm their reputation.com). While digital technology and the Internet offer the promise of a global audience and the unprecedented availability of creative works. Also the law in this case is quite complicated. The Thomson Reuters study found that the ratification of the Korean Free Trade Agreement helped spur rigorous intellectual property enforcement nationwide. The Conference. combined with broad-based economic growth. such as the lemon smell or lavender smell added to bleach to cover the latter’s offensive odour. full graph (laser graph). The individual companies that registered the most trademarks in 2011 represent a cross-section of industries. including electronics (LG. Thomson Reuters report shows growth in South Korean trademark filings South Korea. The Beijing Treaty will enable performers to interact with greater confidence with the digital environment. However. Smell frequently added to commodities also cannot become a trademark. the Intellectual Property Office cited the example of a mobile film for turning on mobile phone.wipo. The inherent smell of some commodities cannot be used as trademark. cosmetics (Amorepacific) and diversified food companies (Lotte.IPR NEWS 357 value of the performances of actors. He also said that once the treaty was signed in Beijing. they make creative works increasingly vulnerable to unfair exploitation. food and beverage and hotels. also recognizes the contribution of audiovisual performers to society.cens. European Union. http://www. culture and education Mr Gurry added that actors and audiovisual performers are fundamental to the audience’s capacity to experience the art that an author or composer has created. The report highlighted South Korea’s evolution into a progressive protector of digital rights and outlines best practices for firms seeking brand protection in the region. CJ Cheil Jedang) (http://www. which will run through 26 June 2012. leather smell for leather products. clothing and footwear) over the last 15 years in South Korea. and Singapore all allow applications for the aforementioned trademarks. which can help consumers identify the sources of the commodities or specific service suppliers (http://news. move and enrich and are intrinsically worthy of protection. In a recorded video statement to the Conference. and if payment is made. functional smell cannot be used for applying trademark. Samsung). allowing trademark applications for mobile image.reuters. there have been few cases for approval of smell or touch-feeling trademarks internationally. It will remedy a widely perceived injustice of the unequal treatment of audiovisual performances. such as lemon aroma for detergent. For mobile image and full graph. the US.

ringtones. Patent for side mirror with no blind spot A Drexel University math professor. games. he has created a mirror that controls the light bouncing off a slightly curved mirror. the professor said that one must imagine that the mirror's surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles. The good thing about his algorithm's precision is objects in his mirror are not substantially smaller than they appear. movies. rather than the standard 15 to 17 currently offered by most mirrors. The algorithm is a set of calculations to manipulate the direction of each face of the metaphorical disco ball so that each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide.358 Key Patents J INTELLEC PROP RIGHTS. and other content.fiercecable. According to the patent. electronic transfer has become a prominent method for distributing media content and other such transferrable items. such as via the mail. as well as on portable media players or home audiovisual systems using set top boxes or other devices. Disabling the fast-forward function on a DVR would likely spark a backlash from subscribers. While explaining his invention. As per the patent description. including. Patent for e-gifting Amazon has patented e-gifting. or books.com). For example. magazines.latimes. consumers can select and access desired electronically transferrable items in minutes or seconds. has invented a side mirror that offers a wider field of view and is subtly curved. movies. The patent details how to prevent viewers from skipping TV commercials contained in programs stored on physical DVRs deployed in subscriber homes. With the use of a fine mathematical algorithm. or may want to charge more.cnet. Using the gift certificate. but not-too-distorted. Content providers may not be willing to grant rights in their content. books. network-based DVRs and even recording devices subscribers purchase at retail outlets. the recipient can conveniently access the desired electronically transferrable items. Amazon’s patent includes charging the giver only when the electronic gift certificate has been redeemed (http://latimesblogs. instead of giving a gift certificate for a retail store that would allow a recipient to select a gift of the recipient’s own choosing. one can give a gift certificate for electronically transferrable items. and make it more difficult for Time Warner Cable to compete with other multichannel providers that distribute DVRs that allow subscribers to skip commercials (http://www. Advertisers may not be willing to pay as much to place advertisements if they know that users may fast forward through the advertisement and thus not receive the desired sales message. such as the Internet. . While Time Warner Cable has developed technology that could prevent subscribers from skipping ads in programs stored on a DVR. Andrew Hicks. consumers can enjoy the electronically transferrable items without leaving their homes to purchase or rent physical media storing the electronically transferrable items and without waiting for delivery of physical media. The electronically transferrable items can be accessed on computers. if trick modes are permitted. picture of the scene behind him (http://news. the ability to prevent trick mode functionality may be important for a number of reasons. electronically accessible services or digital media content such as songs. and the gift-giving process described in Amazon’s patent sounds like something that is widely used. for example. television programs. The prospect of electronically transferrable items offers an alternative to conventional methods of giving gifts that might include music. like a disco ball. In downloading or streaming the electronically transferrable items from a network. JULY 2012 Time Warner Cable patents method for disabling fast-forward function on DVRs Time Warner Cable received a US patent for a method for disabling fast-forward and other trick mode functions on digital video recorders. Thus. This results in a field of view of around 45 degrees.com). it is unlikely that it will disable trick modes any time soon.com).

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