Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Compulsory Licensing: Philips About to Bring A WTO Case Against Taiwan

Taiwanese company GigaStorage has a conflict with Dutch company Philips about a patent for the manufacturing of CD's since 1999.

After a complaint at the Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission it applied for a compulsory license of Philips' patent for the manufacturing of CD's, based on article 79 Taiwan's Patent Law, which states:

"In the case of national emergencies or of non-profit-seeking use of a patent for the enhancement of public welfare, or in the case of an applicant's failure of reaching a licensing agreement with the patentee concerned under reasonable commercial terms and conditions within a considerable period of time, the Patent Authority may, upon application by the applicant, grant a compulsory license to the applicant to put the patented invention into practice provided such practice shall be restricted mainly to the purpose of satisfying the requirements of domestic market. (..)"

Philips is considering to take the case to the WTO, because Taiwan's patent law is allegedly compliant to article 31 TRIPs. Taiwan is since 2002 a member of the WTO.

See an analysis of this case and also about compulsory licensing in Mainland China entitled 'Trends in Compulsory Licenses in Greater China' by Lily Lim of Finnegan Henderson here.

H/T to Andrew Leonard of How the World Works

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