Tue, May 10, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Scope of trademark protection likely to expand radically

Staff Writer, with CNA

Anything that serves to “identify” something, whether in the form of words, patterns, graphics, colors, holograms or sounds, could soon be submitted for trademark protection in Taiwan.

A draft amendment of the Trademark Act (商標法) that would expand the categories of items eligible for trademark registration made it through a legislative committee reading yesterday, but has still to pass two more reviews by the full legislature.

Wang Mei-hua (王美花), -director--general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office (IPO), said that if the revised law is passed, animation and holograms that appear on cellphones could also receive trademark protection.

She said the Nokia Corp image that appears when its cellphones are turned on has already been registered as a trademark in several countries and the firm could also apply for protection in Taiwan if the draft bill is passed.

Wang was also asked about the legality of selling counterfeit products on the Internet, which has become confused following different court rulings as to whether selling such products online constitues an act of “displaying and selling.”

According to the draft bill, any digital medium or Internet site that agrees to sell counterfeit products would be engaging in copyright infringement.

However, fines for counterfeiters could be reduced. Currently, conviction for the sale of counterfeit bags is accompanied by a minimum fine of 500 times the bag’s value, which has pushed fines as high as NT$100 million (US$3.48 million) in some cases, which the Intellectual Property Office did not feel was proportionate to the crime, Wang said.

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