English database Project of Intellectual Property Judicial Precedents of Asian countries including Japan
1. Purpose and method
The purpose of this project is to provide a useful means for researchers and practitioners to develop an international legal framework for intellectual property rights. The use of common legal materials written in English has the ability to create to a certain degree a universal understanding across different countries. To this purpose, the project will select important judicial precedents of Asian IPR cases acknowledged by the researchers and practitioners in each country, add summary and notes, and then translate everything into English. Next, an open database accessible to anyone in the world on the Internet will be constructed. This project will also include the English translation of Japanese IPR judicial precedents. Traditionally, no similar effort had been made to organize Japanese IPR precedents systematically or to translate them into English. In this respect, this project has a significant meaning for Japan in that the excellent judicial precedents of Japan that had not been introduced to the world formerly because of a language barrier will now have world appeal.
2. Current status
At Waseda University, we have been working on this project since FY2003 at the 21st century COE project started by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Young researchers from our university visited the Asian countries of China, Thailand and Indonesia. There, they met the concerned parties in person to develop close relationships both in terms of human and material support in order to implement this project. Basically, the project will proceed in the following steps: (1) Scholars and practitioners will select the important judicial precedents of each country, summarize them in one sentence, and make a list of about 300 cases, (2) researchers at Waseda or practitioners of whatever country will check the list from the viewpoint of a third party, and select precedents that have value enough to be translated, (3) scholars and practitioners of that country will summarize the selected precedents and add notes, (4) translate the summaries and notes, and revise.
Current progress status of the project in each country is as follows:
In China, since the circumstances of precedents differ by region, the project is divided into the three regions of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Professors in universities of these three areas must select the important precedents and make a list by the end of August 2004. Waseda University and the Chinese practitioners must check the list by the end of September, and Chinese scholars will add summaries and notes by the end of December. A cooperative relationship with researchers and practitioners in Beijing, Shanghai, and the Guangzhou area has been already established. The project will proceed immediately when the conditions for rights and financial agreements are ready.
In Thailand, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court supports the project. The list of judicial precedents has been already submitted. Checking of the list will be done by the end of May. The Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court has already organized a thoroughgoing project team, a committee (The English-Database of Thai IP Cases Committee) of about ten judges, and the project will proceed as soon as an agreement is signed.
Negotiations are currently underway for cooperation with the Institute for Law & Technology at Indonesia University (Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesa), Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia, and Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Republic of Indonesia. A formal agreement is expected soon so that we can start the project in full-scale.
By the end of May, 100 cases will be selected respectively from precedents in the categories of Patent・Design Law, Trademark・Unfair Competition Prevention Law, and Copyright Law. First, in corporation with the Center for Advanced Study and Research on Intellectual Property (CASRIP), the University of Washington, the Institute of Intellectual Property will start translation of Supreme Court judicial precedents, then move to precedents by the lower courts one by one. Informal consent has been set with a Supreme Court to link our achievement of this project with their website.