Cabinet approves draft copyright, trademark law amendments for CPTPP bid

01/20/2022 09:55 PM
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Pixabay photo for illustrative purpose only
Pixabay photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved draft amendments to the Copyright Act and Trademark Act to ensure better protection of intellectual property right owners as part of Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact.

The proposed amendments have been drafted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to meet an article in the 11-member trade agreement that requires criminal procedures and penalties to be applied in certain cases of willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy, according to a statement released by the Cabinet.

The draft amendments would allow prosecutors to investigate a wider range of copyright or trademark infringements, which can currently only be brought to a criminal court if copyright holders take action, according to the Cabinet.

If the draft Copyright Act amendment is passed by lawmakers, prosecutors would be able to initiate investigations into more potential copyright infringements if the pirated materials are not available for free, they are reproduced in their original form and the piracy causes financial damage of at least NT$1 million (US$360,000), the Cabinet said.

The draft amendment to the Trademark Act will remove the word "knowingly" used in the current law, meaning that unintentional offenses can also be deemed as infringement, according to the Cabinet.

Criminal penalties have been added in the draft bill for offenses involving unauthorized use of trademarks for productions, importation, exportation, sales, display and procession of counterfeit goods or services, the Cabinet said.

The amended Trademark Act, once passed, will also cover infringements via electronic media or online, the Cabinet added.

The amendments will next be sent to the Legislature to be reviewed and voted on.

Taiwan submitted an application in September to join the free trade agreement, which was signed by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in March 2018.

Other applicants seeking to join the trade bloc, which generates a total gross domestic product (GDP) of US$10.6 trillion and accounts for 13.3 percent of the world's GDP, include China, the United Kingdom, and Ecuador, while South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the country is planning to submit its bid in April.

(By Lai Yu-chen, Liang Pei-chi and Kay Liu)

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