Monthly Archives: August 2009

Will Tamiflu ignite another battle for compulsory license in Korea?

According to an article, the Korean government is short of Tamiflu stock in preparation for the coming fall. Last year, the government is said to have cut its budget for new transmittable diseases by 2.5 billion Won. Out of the 2.5 billion Won, 2.1 billion Won was cut in the Swine Flu item. At a cabinet meeting on August 14, the government assgined 174,8 billion Won budget for purchasing Tamiflu. But the supply of Tamiflu is significantly short of demand, the report says.

The minister of health uttered ‘compulsory license,’ and it ignited a debate on compulsory license of Tamiflu. Will the debate actually cause a procedure be instated for determining compulsory license?

I kinda doubt the ability of the current government in understanding the subtle inconsistency in facing the issue. We saw a rejection of the request for compulsory license on AIDS vaccine about a month ago. Now if we see the minister of health request for compulsory license on Tamiflu? One might say Tamiflu is not an AIDS vaccine. Is it? or is it not?

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Foreign Porn Producers Sue Netizens for Piracy

An interesting news popped up last week. And a more detailed news here.

A group of 50 U.S. and Japanese pornography producers have filed a lawsuit against South Korean Internet users for illegally uploading their content on the Internet for commercial purposes.

That happens. Nobody would be surprised to know that there are people who upload porns. The number is quite impressive. 50 foreign porn producers sued 10,000 heavy uploaders. 10,000 that is! That is 1 out of 2,000 adult male in Korea. Now it seems a little convincing.

It is reported that they plan to take legal action against about 80 file-sharing web sites for aiding abetting.

A more interesting (from the legal perspective) news follows. I couldn’t find a link to an English news. But Korean news is here.

The police, after receiving the accusal, considered the case (quite seriously because they might have to investigate 1,000 people) and dismissed the case. The reason being, the pornos at issue are not protectible copyrightable matter because they do not have any academic or artistic value and distribution of porno is illegal in Korea.

Sounds familiar?

First, the Copyrgith Act of Korea abolished the requirement of being academic or artistic in order for a work to be copyrightable. When? On December 28, 2006, when the Coyright Act of Korea was totally amended. Article 2(1) (definition) defines “copyrightable work” as a work of creation that expresses human idea or emotion. Before the amendment, the definition has a modifier like “that belongs to literature, academia or art.” After the amendment, a work of creation need not belong to literature, academic or art. The police is wrong.

Second, we saw this argument in the US-China dispute settlement case before the WTO on Enforcement of IPR. One of the interpretation of TRIPS by the Panel is that a work is copyrightable even if it contains illegal contents. The police didn’t know they were wrong at first. But after a couple of days, they figured out that if they didn’t honor the copyright of porns, they might violate duties under international treaties, like the Berne Convention.

We will see as the case unfolds.

WTO Panel issues report on US-China dispute over publications and audiovisual products

The WTO issued the report of the panel on US against China – Measures affecting trading rights and distribution services for certain publications and audiovisual entertainment products.

The report number is DS363.

It’s worth reading. Note that the case is not based on TRIPS, but on GATT and GATS.

For the report, see here.

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Patent Act and Trademark Act of Korea (amended Jan 30, 2009) uploaded on my wiki

The Patent Act of Korea was amended on January 30, 2009. I have uploaded an English version of the amended Act on the Intellectual Property Laws of Korea wiki.

Also, the Trademark Act of Korea (last amended on December 26, 2008) was also uploaded on the wiki.

Other Acts like the Trademark Act, Industrial Design Protection Act, Utility Model Act will be uploaded in the matter of weeks.

WIPO and Singapore partner in ADR

WIPO and Singapore jointly announced a communique on ADR partnership.