The Executive Yuan is ready to propose amendments to the country’s patent, trademark and copyright laws to compete with China in the race to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a source said yesterday.
After nine other laws have been amended to pave the way for joining the CPTPP, the Cabinet plans to pass proposed amendments to the Patent Act (專利法), the Trademark Act (商標法) and the Copyright Act (著作權法) so they can be sent to the Legislative Yuan for final approval, an Executive Yuan official said on condition of anonymity, adding that Cabinet officials and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus members plan to meet in the coming days with the goal of passing the amendments in the current legislative session.
Timing is crucial in bringing Taiwan’s regulations in line with the trade group’s standards if the country wishes to join the partnership, the official added.
The regulatory changes would give Taiwan a significant advantage over China in meeting the trade group’s requirements, they said.
Officials are considering amendments to the Patent Act that would allow a pharmaceutical company to sue for infringements during the evaluation and approval period for a new drug, the source said.
This change would provide better protection to new intellectual property in medicine, they said.
However, changing the act is considered the most challenging of the projects, as domestic drugmakers view it as potentially biased in favor of large international firms, the official said.
A government attempt to push for patent reforms was defeated when some DPP lawmakers sided with domestically based pharmaceutical companies, resulting in the bill being withdrawn before the current legislative session, they said.
Amendments to copyright laws would allow prosecutors to take certain infringement cases to court without a complaint being filed, the official said.
This would allow the justice system to indict and punish copyright violators, but some domestic parties fear that they would be negatively affected by reforms, the source said.
Efforts to amend the law were stalled during the previous legislative session after DPP lawmakers expressed misgivings about the draft amendments, they said.
Trademark laws would be changed to make counterfeiting trademarks on packaging material a crime, the source said.
The source said that Cabinet officials feel more confident of being able to pass these amendments with Taiwan having applied for CPTPP membership.
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