World Intellectual Property Organization

News on IP Laws

United Kingdom

United Kingdom: The Patents (Amendment) Rules 2014, which came into force on April 6, 2014, replace rule 19 of the Patents Rules 2007 with the new rule on the procedure for filing a new application for a patent out of material contained in an earlier application as mentioned in section 15(9) of the Patents Act 1977, commonly known as "divisional applications". This new rule 19 of the Patents (Amendment) Rules sets out time limits and procedure for filing these divisional patent applications.


France: The Decree No. 2013-1141 of December 10, 2013, regarding the Information for Purchasers of Recording Devices subject to Private Copying Remuneration was issued by the Prime Minister on December 10, 2013, and entered into force on April 1, 2014. The Decree added four new articles (Articles R. 311-9 to R. 311-12) to the Intellectual Property Code ("the IPC"), which fix the rules for implementation of the terms of Article L.311-4-1 of the IPC relating to the obligation to inform the buyers of devices subject to copyright levies, created by Article 3 of Law No. 2011-1898 of December 20, 2011, on Private Copying Remuneration. It provides that the amount of the copyright levy to each recording device, the explanatory manual on this remuneration and its goal as well as the URL address of the website on which a dematerialized version of the manual must be disclosed to the buyers (cf. Articles R. 311-9 and R. 311-11 of the IPC). It specifies the format of the required information if the device is sold in a store, in case of distance selling or selling through material conditions not allowing a physical display, or when a device is sold to a professional (cf. Article 311-10 of the IPC). It also details the administrative procedure in case of non-compliance with the information obligation (cf. R. 311-12 of the IPC).


France: The Law No. 2014-344 of March 17, 2014, on Consumer Protection (called "Loi Hamon"), which was published in the Official Gazette on March 18, 2014, and entered into force on March 19, 2014, introduces, inter alia, changes to the Intellectual Property Code to extend the protection of Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) to non-agricultural products and to set up new measures for the prevention of misappropriation of the names of territories.


France: The Law No. 2014-315 of March 11, 2014, strengthening the Fight Against Counterfeiting, which was published in the Official Gazette on March 12, 2014, and entered into force on March 13, 2014, is intended to complete, reinforce and clarify the French anti-counterfeiting legislation including the Postal and Electronic Communications Code, the Internal Security Code, the Customs Code, the Law No. 2007-1544 of October 29, 2007, relating to the Fight Against Counterfeiting and the Intellectual Property Code. Among others, the Law introduces substantial changes to the Intellectual Property Code, which include the following: improvement of the assessment of damages awarded to IP rights owners in infringement proceedings by requiring the judge a clear distinction between the different levels of harm; extension of limitation period to 5 years for all IP rights infringement claims; simplification of the right of information procedure where a request for information can be raised before any judgement on the merits for counterfeiting, including before the judge in charge of interim proceedings, without the need for an exhaustive list of information and documents; harmonization of infringement seizure procedures applicable to all IP rights; and reinforcement of customs' actions to all IP rights in compliance with EU Regulation No. 608/2013 of June 12, 2013, concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights.


Singapore: A patent reform has been implemented in Singapore through series of acts brought into force. The Patents (Amendment) Act 2012, which was passed on August 13, 2012, came into force on February 14, 2014, through the Patents (Amendment) Act 2012 (Commencement) Notification 2014. Subsequently, to reinforce the implementation of the Patents (Amendment) Act, the Minister for Law issued Patents (Amendment) Rules 2014, and Patents (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2014, which came into effect on February 14, 2014, and March 10, 2014, respectively. The Amendment Act together with the Patents Amendment Rules introduced a significant reform in the patent application procedure including the replacement of the "self-assessment system" with a "positive grant system" based on all the patentability requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application. The fast and slow track options were abolished and replaced by a single-track system. The existing prosecution routes of substantive examination and "modified" examination were retained notwithstanding some essential changes to the timelines. Foreign-qualified patent agents are allowed to undertake offshore patent agency work in Singapore, and harmonize the IT system and procedures of the different Registries at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). The reform resulted in important changes concerning the deadlines for submitting prescribed information on a foreign corresponding application and for filing the relevant papers relating to modified examination. Furthermore, it introduced a new supplementary examination process to ensure compliance with the new positive grant.


India: The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2014, which entered into force on February 28, 2014, amend the Patents Rules, 2003. Among others, the Amendment Rules introduce a third category of applicant for patents called "small entity" besides "natural person" and "person other than a natural person, except a small entity"; provides a revised fee structure for filing of patent applications and other proceedings before the Patent Office; and imposes 10% additional fees for patent applications filed in hard copy over those filed in electronic format.

Republic of Korea

Republic of Korea: The Act No. 11962 of July 30, 2013, on Partial Amendment to the Patent Attorney Act, which introduces amendments to the Patent Attorney Act, the Patent Act, the Utility Model Act, the Trademark Act and the Industrial Design Protection Act was adopted on July 30, 2013, and entered into force on January 31, 2014. Among others, the amendments refer to the extension of the scope of the term "legal representative" as an IP rights applicant of the IP rights holders. Accordingly, a legal representative is not only a patent corporation but also a liability-limited company (LLC), a legal form of company created and operated by more than five patent attorneys-at-law.


Turkmenistan: The Code of Turkmenistan on Administrative Offenses was adopted on August 29, 2013, and came into force on January 1, 2014. Among others, the Code stipulates liability for administrative offenses in the field of intellectual property rights. Article 342 imposes administrative fines or imprisonment for infringement of intellectual property rights including copyrights, patents, industrial design rights and selective breeding achievements.

European Union

European Union: The Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 concerning Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and Repealing Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003 came into force on January 1, 2014, in the European Union. The Regulation No. 608/2013 makes some changes to the repealed regulation to give Customs authorities extended powers to enable them to deal with counterfeit or pirated goods at the borders of the European Union. It provides simplified proceedings for the destruction without a prior court decision, of goods suspected of infringing rights, and these are stipulated as mandatory measures for all Member States; introduces a new procedure for the destruction of small consignments of counterfeit goods without contacting the right-holders; sets out procedures on goods in transit and especially gives the customs offices some instructions with regard to medicines in transit; and provides for other issues involving the clarification of right-holders' use of information provided by the customs authorities regarding a suspect consignment, the extension of the scope of protection of regulation for a wider range of goods and intellectual property rights, the burden of the costs on the right-holders, and the establishment of a new centralized electronic database to facilitate the exchange of information between the customs authorities of the EU member states.

Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: The Law No. 2013-865 of December 23, 2013, on combatting Counterfeiting and Piracy, and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Export and Import Operations and Commercialization of Goods and Services was adopted by the National Assembly and promulgated by the President on December 23, 2013. The Law provides for measures and procedures for the effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It establishes the National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee (the "CNAC"), an independent administrative authority competent at combatting counterfeiting; clarifies customs procedures; enhances the enforcement power and increases co-operation among the law enforcement agencies such as the Customs Administration, the CNAC, the Police, the Prosecution and Judiciary as well as the IP rights holders who play a major role in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

South Africa

South Africa: The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2013 (Act No. 28 of 2013) shall come into force on a date to be fixed by the President. The Law aims to provide mechanisms for the protection of indigenous knowledge and to create a new system of intellectual property rights specific to traditional knowledge in South Africa. To that end, it amends the provisions relating to indigenous knowledge of various intellectual property laws, namely, the Performers’ Protection Act 1967, the Copyright Act 1978, the Trade Marks Act 1993 and the Designs Act 1993.


Germany: The Law on Amendments of Patent Law and Other Industrial Property Laws was promulgated by the Federal President in the Federal Gazette on October 24, 2013, and will enter into force in its entirety on April 1, 2014. The most significant amendments are the following: establishment of electronic file inspection of patent and utility model files at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO); extension of the time limit for filing German translations of applications filed in English or French language; introduction of a preliminary opinion on the patentability to facilitate the search report for German patent applications; making hearings mandatory in examination proceedings at the applicant's request, and holding public oral hearings in opposition proceedings; extension of the period for filing notice of opposition against granted patents; and exclusion from the patentability of animals and plants. The Amendment Law makes procedures more efficient for both applicants and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO), and also aims to harmonize the GPTO’s procedures with the practice of the European Patent Office (EPO).


Philippines: The BOT Office Order No. 13-06, Series of 2013, on the Implementation Guidelines for Office Order No. 13-061, Series 2013, on Trademark Applications with Priority Right Claim, issued by the Bureau of Trademarks (BOT) on October 18, 2013, provides for the guidelines to ensure the accurate implementation of the Office Order No. 13-061, which became effective on May 2, 2013. These guidelines primarily refer to the pending trademark applications at the time the Order became effective, the requirement of a copy of the foreign application as a basis for claiming convention priority, the application of goods and services in the Philippines compulsorily covered by the applications used as basis for claiming convention priority, the national applications where fees are not paid in full, the notice of registration of foreign application to the IP office of the Philippines (the IPOPHL) and the conditions for exemption from conformity to the list of goods and services in the foreign registration for the trademark applications for goods and services in the Philippines.


China: The Decision Amending the Guidelines for Patent Examination was issued by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on September 16, 2013, and entered into force on October 15, 2013. The Decision makes amendments to Articles 11 and 13 of Chapter 2, Articles 8 and 11 of Chapter 3 and of the said Guidelines on examination of novelty of utility model applications and design patent applications. These amendments allow examiners to verify whether a utility model or design patent application lacks novelty through search during the preliminary examination and to enable the applicants to receive office actions including the rejection of the novelty of the patent.


Philippines: The Office Order No. 13-170, Series of 2013, Rules of Procedure on Intellectual Property (IPR) Enforcement was issued on September 30, 2013, by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) pursuant to sections 7(c) (d) & (e) of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293). It provides the rules and regulations in the exercise of enforcement functions of the IPR Enforcement Office (IEO), established by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), and visitorial power based on information, report and complaints received by this IP Enforcement Office.


Philippines: The Office Order No. 13-169, Series of 2013, Revised Rules and Regulations on Resolution of Public Performance Disputes was issued by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on September 30, 2013, pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293). Sections 3 and 4 of the Office Order give the Director of the Bureau of Copyright and other Related Rights an exclusive original jurisdiction over these disputes while the Director General of IPOPHL exercises exclusive appellate jurisdiction. The Office Order also obliges the Director to refer the dispute to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service for Mediation.


China: The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Amending the Trademark Law of the People's Republic of China was adopted at the 4th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress on August 30, 2013, and shall come into force on May 1, 2014. Among the amendments to the Trademark Law are the following: possibility to register sound marks; protection of well-known trademarks, principle of good faith for registration and use of trademarks; measures against bad faith applications; multi-class applications and e-filing; new time frames for examination period of applications, establishment of invalidation procedure, and increase of penalties for trademark infringements.

Russian Federation

Russian Federation: The Federal Law No. 187-FZ of July 2, 2013, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Rights in Information and Telecommunication Networks, which entered into force on August 1, 2013, is intended to combat the distribution of pirate video. The Law regulates the procedure for blocking Internet resources with involvement of the courts and federal executive authorities for supervision in mass media and communications.


Malaysia: The Geographical Indications (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which came into force on July 15, 2013, amends the Geographical Indications Regulations 2001. Among others, the Amendment Regulations introduce new provisions regarding eligibility, registration, removal and renewal of Geographical Indications Agents; as well as renewal of registration and restoration of registration of geographical indications which have been removed from the Register of Geographical Indications.


France: The Decree No. 2013-596 of July 8, 2013, removing the Complementary Penalty of Suspending Access to an On-Line Public Communication Service and relating to the Information Transmission Methods provided for in Article L. 331-21 of the Intellectual Property Code, issued by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, entered into force on July 10, 2013. This Decree repeals paragraph III of Article R. 335-5 of the Intellectual Property Code (the "IPC"), removing the complementary penalty of suspending access to an online public communication service for up to one month in case of the offense of gross neglect to secure the access to online public communication services allowing the illegal downloads of copyrighted works, provided for in the Law No. 2009-1311 of October 28, 2009, on the Criminal Protection of Literary and Artistic Property on the Internet (the "Law Hadopi 2"). As a result, only a Class 5 misdemeanor with a fine of 1, 500 euros shall be imposed for the offense of gross negligence, as defined in paragraphs II & III of Article R. 355-5 of the "IPC", created by the Decree No. 2010-695 of June 25, 2010, on Gross Negligence for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property on the Internet. The Decree also specifies the methods of the secure data transmission necessary for the subscribers' identification which includes the automated processing of personal data or the recording medium to communicate to the Commission for the Protection of Rights of the High Authority for the Dissemination of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet ("HADOPI"), as referred to in Articles L. 331-21, R. 331-37, and the Decree No. 2010-236 of March 5, 2010, on the Automated Processing of Personal Data authorized by Article L. 331-29 of the Code of Intellectual Property, called the "Management System for Measures for the Protection of Original Works on the Internet".


Turkmenistan: The Law of Turkmenistan of June 22, 2013, on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Turkmenistan was enacted on June 22, 2013, and came into force on July 4, 2013. It amends, inter alia, the Law of Turkmenistan No. 220-III of October 23, 2008, on Inventions and Industrial Designs, the Law of Turkmenistan No. 221-III of October 23, 2008, on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin, and the Law of Turkmenistan No. 964-XII of September 23, 1994, on the Legal Protection of Algorithms, Electronic Computer Programs, Databases and Topographies of Integrated Circuits. In accordance with this Law, the Patent Department was transformed into “the State Service for Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Economy and Development of Turkmenistan” (Turkmenpatent). The new IP office, which includes the Patent Department, the Copyright Protection Department and the Plant Variety Department, shall improve the IP protection system in Turkmenistan, and bring it in line with international standards.


Malaysia: The Industrial Designs (Amendment) Act 2013 (Act A1449), which came into force on July 1, 2013, makes amendments to the Industrial Designs Act 1996 (Act 552). The major amendments include the following: the absolute novelty adopted as the registrability standard; the extension of the term of protection of a registered industrial design from 15 to 25 years; the registered industrial design as personal property; fixing 6 months as the maximum time for application for recording a change of ownership of registered industrial design; and the introduction of the Intellectual Property Official Journal.


Montenegro: The Law No. 07-3/13-1/4 of May 28, 2013, on Amendments to the Law on Legal Protection of Industrial Designs (promulgated by Decree No. 01-1111/2 of June 4, 2013) was enacted on May 28, 2013, and came into force on June 19, 2013. This Law introduces the amendments to Law No. 01-692/7 of December 22, 2010, on the Legal Protection of Industrial Designs. The amendments are mainly related to the following: scope of protection of registered designs; formal examination of the application; rejection of design registration; deferment of publication for design applications; and enforcement mechanism for protection of industrial design rights. These amendments aim to harmonize Montenegro’s laws with EU law for the purpose of Montenegro’s accession to EU.


China: The 2013 China Intellectual Property Index Report, prepared by Globe-Law, a renowned law firm with its headquarters in Beijing, offers data-backed evidence on the correlation between intellectual property development and economic growth. The Report provides a comprehensive evaluation of intellectual property strength and economic competitiveness of different regions in China.


China: The Decision of the Supreme People’s Court on Amendments to the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Patent Dispute Cases was approved at the 1570th Session of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court on February 25, 2013, and came into force on April 15, 2013. In accordance with this Decision, the Basic People’s Court can be designated by the Supreme People’s Court as a court of first instance to hear patent disputes.


Australia: The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act was enacted on April 15, 2012, and came into force in its entirety on April 15, 2013. This Act includes the amendments to the Copyright Act 1968, the Patents Act 1990, the Trade Marks Act 1995, the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994, and the Designs Act 2003. The amendments address six key areas: raising the quality of granted patents, free access to patented inventions for regulatory approvals and research, reducing delays in resolution of patent and trade mark applications, assisting the operations of the IP profession, improving mechanisms for trade mark and copyright enforcement, and simplifying the IP system.


Italy: The Decree of December 19, 2012, of the President of the Council of Ministers on the Determination in the Interest of the Right Holders of the Minimum Requirements Necessary for a Rational and Orderly Development of the Market Intermediaries for Neighboring Rights referred to in the Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941, and its Subsequent Amendments, entered into force on March 26, 2013. It lays out the requirements and criteria for setting up collective management societies, acting as intermediaries between the right holders and the users, which allows them to take part in the management of the neighboring rights market.


Philippines: The Republic Act No. 10372, entitled 'An Act Amending Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the “Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines”, and for other purposes' was signed into law on February 28, 2013, and entered into force on March 22, 2013. Among the amendments to the Intellectual Property Code are the following: establishment of the Bureau of Copyright and Other Related Rights within the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL); grant of specific enforcement functions to the Director General of IPOPHL and his deputies; implementation of technological protection measures and rights management information for copyrighted works disseminated through Internet; copyright limitations and exceptions for the benefit of visually-impaired persons; fair use exceptions to copyright; and clarifications on copyright infringements.


Mexico: The Decree Promulgating the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks was issued on February 1, 2013, by the President of Mexico, pursuant to Section I of Article 89 of Mexico’s Federal Constitution. By virtue of this Decree, published on February 8, 2013, the President has announced the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks to be in force in Mexico from February 1, 2013, in accordance with Article 14(4)(b) of the Protocol, and the Madrid (Marks) Notification No. 198, in which the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) notified the deposit by the Government of Mexico, on November 19, 2012, of its instrument of accession to the Protocol.


Denmark: The Order of January 18, 2013 on Patents and Supplementary Protection Certificates, issued by the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) came into force on February 1, 2013. It was issued pursuant to sections 5(2), 6(2), 8a, 8b(2), 9, 11, 22(7), 22(8), 28(2), 31, 34, 38(2), 45(2), 48(3), 69, 71(2), 88(1)(iii), 90, 91 and 97 of the Consolidate Patents Act (Consolidate Act No. 108 of January 24, 2012). This Order has repealed Order No. 93 of January 29, 2009 on Patents and Supplementary Protection Certificates, and introduced the new procedures for opposition, administrative re-examination, and termination of a patent, as specified in Part IV of the Order.

United States of America

United States of America: H.R. 6621, entitled “An Act to Correct and Improve Certain Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and Title 35, United States Code” was passed by the United States Congress, signed into law by the President of the United States on January 14, 2013 and became Public Law No. 112-274. The Act makes a number of technical corrections to the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), and other provisions of the Patent Act, title 35 of the United States Code. This new law makes technical changes to the AIA. Among the key amendments are: the elimination of the nine-month “dead zone”, during which certain patents were ineligible for post grant review (“PGR”) or inter partes review (“IPR”) (Section 1(d)); the extension of the deadline for an applicant to file an inventor’s oath or declaration until the date on which the issue fee for the patent is paid (Section 1(f)); the modification of requirements and time periods for activities relating to patent term adjustments (“PTA”) such as the adjustment period for certain international applications (Section 1(h)); the repeal of Section 373 of title 35, United States Code, on improper applicants (Section 1(i)); and the clarification of the time period to institute derivation proceedings (Section 1(k)(1)).


Ethiopia: The Council of Ministers Regulation No. 273/2012 of December 24, 2012 on Trademark Registration and Protection was issued on December 24, 2012 and entered into force on the same date. This Regulation brings into force a new trademark regime for the registration of trademark rights as provided in the Trademark Registration and Protection Proclamation No. 501/2006. Accordingly, it provides detailed provisions on the trademark registration process including the application for registration, examination, opposition, changes after registration, renewals, and invalidity and revocation of registration. In addition, it contains provisions relating to the transfer of ownership and license contract of a registered mark, and provisions on division, and merger of separate applications and registration of a series of trademarks. It further contains the Schedule on the Fees relating to trademark services. Article 59 of the Regulation stipulates that the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) may issue directives necessary for the implementation of the 2006 Proclamation and this Regulation.


Australia: The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (the Plain Packaging Act) was enacted by the Parliament on December 1, 2011 and entered into force in its entirety on December 1, 2012. This Act sets out the requirements for plain packaging and the appearance of tobacco products, the presentation of brand names and trademarks on tobacco products and packaging. Pursuant to Part 2 of Chapter 2 of the Act, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations of 2011 were issued to provide for additional specific details on how the plain packaging requirements are to be implemented for tobacco products. The Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Act 2011 was enacted on the same date as the Plain Packaging Act to amend the Trade Marks Act 1995. It inserted a new section 231A to allow for regulations to be made under the Trade Marks Act 1995 to ensure that the tobacco plain packaging does not prevent the registration of new tobacco trademarks and the protection of registered tobacco trademarks against infringement.


Canada: The Copyright Act of 1985, has been amended by the Copyright Modernization Act, which was passed by the Parliament on June 29, 2012. Most of the amendments to the Copyright Act came into force on November 7, 2012, except for the provisions relating to the WIPO Internet Treaties, WCT and WPPT, and the Internet service provider notice-and-notice provisions. These amendments will bring Canada's copyright legislation in line with the international standards and with the evolving digital environment.


Canada: The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was enacted by the Parliament on June 29, 2012 and entered into force on July 6, 2012. This Act aims to protect the environment from adversary effects of human activities. It especially promotes communication and cooperation with aboriginal peoples with respect to environmental assessments. Article 19(3) recognizes the value of considering aboriginal traditional knowledge when conducting an environmental assessment. The Act also guarantees the protection of traditional cultural expressions of aboriginal peoples. Article 5(c) of the Act stipulates that every environmental assessment should take into account the environmental effects and their potential impact on aboriginal peoples such as causing changes to their physical and cultural heritage, structures, sites or objects that are of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance.


Denmark: The Act Amending the Patents Act and Various Other Laws was adopted by the National Parliament of Denmark (Folketing) on December 28, 2011 and enters into force on February 1, 2012. It amends provisions concerning fees in the following laws: The Consolidated Patents Act, The Consolidated Trademarks Act, The Consolidated Designs Act, The Consolidated Utility Models Act, the Collective Marks Act and the Protection of the Topographies of Semiconductor Products Act. Henceforth, the publication fee of a Danish patent is modified so that the additional fee for publication, which is DKK 80 per page over 35 pages, will be charged, at the maximum, for 400 pages. This affects the publication of granted patents, validated European patents in Denmark and amended patents due to opposition or administrative re-examination. The Act supersedes the Order on the Fees of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, which ceases to be the legal basis for fees from February 1, 2012.

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam: The Patents Order, 2011 was approved by the Sultan of Brunei on October 12, 2011 and entered into force on January 1, 2012. It repeals the Emergency (Patents) Order, 1999 and Chapter 72 - Inventions. The Order establishes an independent patent system for the receipt, processing and grant of patents by a new Registry of Patents and facilitates the international filing of patents after Brunei has acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Budapest Treaty.

United States of America

United States of America: The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was recently passed by the US Congress and on September 16, 2011, signed by the President of the United States into law. The various provisions contained in the 37 sections of the Act enter into force at various dates. The Act includes major changes to the Patent Law, Title 35 United States Code. The most significant change is the conversion of America's "first to invent" patent priority system to a "first to file" which is aimed at simplifying the patent process and harmonizing the US Patent System with other countries. The new Act also improves patent quality, reduces patent litigation costs and introduces new opportunities for challenging patents and patent applications before the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO).


Ecuador: Resolution No. 11-029 P-IEPI granting Direct Application to the Andean Community Decision with regard to Requests for Extension to file Oppositions against the Application for Registration of Distinctive Signs was issued by the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property on June 29, 2011. The Resolution came into force on July 1, 2011. It states that Article 146 of the Andean Community Decision No. 486, which provides for the time limit to file oppositions against the registration of distinctive signs, applies directly to Ecuador and therefore supersedes Article 208 of its Law on Intellectual Property (Consolidation No. 2006-013).


Colombia: Law No. 1450 of 2011 - By which the National Plan of Development is issued, 2010 – 2014, was enacted by the Colombian Congress on June 16, 2011 and entered into force on the same date. Article 28 of this law amends Article 20 of Law 23 of 1982 - on Copyright with regards to the ownership of economic rights of works created under the existence of service agreements or employment contracts; article 29 concerns the ownership of industrial property rights generated under the existence of service agreements or employment contracts; article 30 amends Article 183 of Law No. 23 of 1982, regarding the contractual transfer regime of economic rights on copyrights and related rights; and article 31 concerns the ownership of intellectual property rights generated from research projects financed with national budget funds.

South Africa

South Africa: The Companies Act, No. 71 of 2008 was assented to by the President on April 9, 2009 and entered into force on May 1, 2011. The Act provides for a regulatory framework for enterprises. Chapter 8 of the Act entitled "Regulatory Agencies and Administration of Act" establishes the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) of South Africa, to function as an organ of state within the public administration, focusing on the registration of companies and intellectual property rights. The additional functions of CIPC include education and awareness, investigation, compliance and enforcement.


Belarus: The President of the Republic of Belarus signed the Law of the Republic of Belarus of 17 May 2011 No. 262-3 (on Copyright and Related Rights), which was adopted by the National Assembly on April 28, 2011. The law was officially published on May 30, 2011 and, according to Article 61 of the law, it shall come into force six months after its official publication (i.e. November 30, 2011). Article 59 of the new law provides for the repeal of the Law of the Republic of Belarus of May 16, 1996 No. 370-XIII on Copyright and Related Rights. The new law regulates relations arising from the creation and use of works of science, such as books, articles, reports, scientific lectures, theses, literature and art (copyright), as well as performances, phonograms and broadcasting (related rights). Chapter IV on "Cases of free use of objects of copyright and related rights", regulates such issues as the free use of works in mass media (Article 33), reproduction of works for the blind and visually impaired persons (Article 34), and the free use of works by libraries and archives (Article 37).


Latvia: The Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 317 on the Rules of professional patent registry content, record-keeping procedures and patent attorney qualification exam procedures were issued by the Cabinet of Ministers on April 26, 2011 and entered into force on April 30, 2011. These Regulations relate to Patent Law No. 34 of 2007 and supersede the prior Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 602 on the rules of professional patent registry content, record-keeping procedures and patent attorney qualification exam procedures issued by the Cabinet of Ministers under the Patent Law No. 26.


Peru: The Supreme Decree approving the Regulation for Protecting the Rights of Plant Breeders, Supreme Decree No. 035-2011-PCM was issued by the President of the Republic on April 14, 2011 and entered into force on April 16, 2011, the day following its publication in the Official Journal. The Decree establishes a regulatory framework for the promotion and protection of the rights of plant breeders as provided for under Decision 345 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement and the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991. In addition, by means of this same Decree, Supreme Decree Nº 008-96-ITINCI was repealed, as well as all other legal dispositions contrary to this new regulation.


China: The Intangible Cultural Heritage Law was adopted at the 19th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People’s Congress on February 25, 2011 and enters into force on June 1, 2011. It protects intangible cultural heritage, such as traditional oral literature, fine arts, calligraphy, traditional medicine, traditional calendars, sports, etc. (Article 2, sections 1-6).


Kenya: The new Constitution of Kenya was adopted on August 4, 2010 and entered into force on August 27, 2010. It replaces the first Constitution of Kenya, which was adopted in 1963. Article 11.2(c) of the new Constitution obliges the state to "promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya".


Colombia: The Copyright Law No. 1403 of 2010 (or Law “Fanny Mikey”) was signed into law by the President of the Republic on July 19, 2010, and entered into force on the same day. It amends the Copyright Law No. 23 of 1982, and provides remuneration for public communication to artists and performers of audiovisual works and sound recordings.

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