Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (South Africa)

34.   This delegation is pleased to inform the Council that Japan recently amended its Patent Act, Design Act, Trademark Act and Copyright Act. The amendments have been notified to this Council in accordance with Article 63.2. The reference numbers are documents IP/N/1/JPN/51 to 54. Taking this opportunity, we would like to briefly explain some major points about the amendments. 35.   The Patent Act was amended to strengthen the procedures of evidence-collection for the parties in proceedings relating to infringement of a patent right. In the case that there is a possibility of patent infringement, the court will designate a fair and neutral technical expert as an investigator upon the petition of the parties. The investigator enters a factory, office or other place of the suspected infringer, conduct an investigation, and create and submit to the court a report on the results. 36.   The Copyright Act was amended in order to provide the measures aiming at an appropriate protection of copyrights including, but not limited to, the countermeasures for the pirated copies on the Internet and the measures aiming at smoothening the use of copyrighted works. 37.   More specifically, the scope of illegally uploaded copyrighted works, whose download is restricted, was broadened from music and audio-visual to overall copyrighted works such as comic books, papers and computer programmes. Even if the use of the pirated works is private purpose, the download of illegally uploaded copyrighted works is to be deemed illegal. 38.   The Government of Japan will continuously fulfil its obligation to ensure the accessibility and the transparency of the Japanese intellectual property system.

The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
1. The Chair invited the Secretariat to report on notifications that the Council had received since its meeting in October 2020.
2. A representative of the Secretariat said that the Council had received the following notifications under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement:
a. The Republic of Korea had notified a revised Copyright Act, a revised enforcement decree of the Copyright Act, and an amended Administrative Procedures Act;
b. Albania had notified amendments to the Copyright and related rights Act resulting from the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and other strategic partnership documents with the European Union; as well as a decision on fees for services by the Copyright Directorate;
c. Sweden had notified amendments and consolidated versions of the Copyright Act, the Patents Act, the Design Protection Act, the Act protecting Typographies for Semiconductor Products, the Plant Breeder's Rights Act and the Trademarks Act, enacting new levels of penalties for intentional serious infringements, and introducing new crime classifications;
d. Croatia had notified a revised Patent Act amending the grant procedure and introducing a new concept of utility model; a revised Trademarks Act, introducing changes to the graphical representation of marks, clarifying the relationship between trademarks and geographical indications, as well as collective and guarantee marks, and assuring appropriate legal protection in relation to counterfeit goods in transit through the territory European Union;
e. Italy had notified a legal framework concerning the prohibition of ambush marketing and misleading advertising on the occasion of sport events or trade fairs of national or international relevance;
f. Ukraine had notified a law introducing a two-tier system of state management of intellectual property, establishing the National Intellectual Property Authority (NIPA) under the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture;
g. Japan had notified an amended Patent Act that upgraded the litigation system and entailed consequential amendments to the Design Act and the Trademark Act; and a revised Copyright Act that aimed at improving protection against inter alia pirated copies on the internet; and
h. The United Kingdom had notified over 100 pieces of legislation which included its "EU exit" legislation in a number of intellectual property areas, as well as primary and secondary intellectual property laws from different areas since the 1990s.
3. Furthermore, the United Kingdom had also notified its contact points for IP enforcement under Article 69 and for technical cooperation under Article 67. Macao, China had also updated its contact point under Article 67. The Plurinational State of Bolivia had made a notification under Article 31bis and paragraph 1(b) of the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement, indicating its intention to use the special compulsory licensing mechanism, also known as the "paragraph 6 system", as an importing Member.
4. He added that the "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows"(IP/C/W/676), which was also listed under agenda item 1, reflected the submission rates and trends in Members' notifications since 1996. He suggested that the Secretariat be given the floor to provide a more detailed introduction.
5. The representatives of the United Kingdom; Republic of Korea; Ukraine; and Japan took the floor.
6. The Chair thanked Members for the information provided on their respective notifications. She invited the Secretariat to present the "Annual Report on Notifications and other Information Flows".
7. A representative of the Secretariat took the floor.
8. The Chair recalled that, notifications to the Council were not keeping up with the actual development of laws and regulations relating to TRIPS. Article 63.2 was not a one-off requirement, as it obliges Members to notify any new or amended laws so that the Council can exercise its monitoring function. The "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows" provided a Member-by-Member overview of their most recent notifications. It illustrated that a number of Members had not notified any of their legislative changes for sometimes over ten years.
9. She urged Members to update their notifications by submitting any new or revised laws or regulations to the Council, as well as completing their initial notifications in case any material was still outstanding. This applied also to the Checklist of Issues on Enforcement which had been established by the Council as an element of Members' ongoing notification obligations. All of these notifications could be made through the e-TRIPS Submission System. The Secretariat was available to answer any question in that regard.
10. The Council took note of the notifications and the statements made.
IP/C/M/98, IP/C/M/98/Add.1