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Global Dimensions of Intellectual Property Rights in Science and Technology
would be allowed only after 1997), and which include biotechnology (including genetic procedures to obtain animal and plant species or their varieties), plant varieties, microorganisms, chemicals, and alloys. The duration of patent protection, which used to be 14 years from the granting of the patent, was extended to 20 years from the date of filing the application. Limitations on patentees' rights (e.g., the granting of compulsory licenses) were restricted to exceptional circumstances. Protection for trademarks and industrial designs was also enhanced, and the law introduced more explicit protection for trade secrets.
The new law is also intended to improve the conditions for enforcement of IPRs by creating a new institution to help the Mexican Patent and Trademark Office: the Industrial Property Institute. It is also worth mentioning that Mexico amended its copyright law in 1991 in an attempt to correct some of its perceived weaknesses. The main change in this context was the adoption of tougher penalties for copyright violations.
Among the Asian NIEs—which, in general, already had higher levels of protection than the Latin American NIEs by the mid-1980s—the last few years have also been characterized by additional reforms designed to strengthen IPR protection: (1) Singapore enacted a new Copyright Act in 1987, expanding its scope and significantly increasing penalties for infringement. (2) Taiwan's Patent Law was amended in 1986, reversing the burden of proof to the alleged infringer and increasing penalties for IPR infringements. In 1991, a new Fair Trade Law was enacted, which provides for protection of trade secrets. Copyright law is also being revised with the goal of strengthening protection to a level similar to the one prevailing among Berne Convention signatories. (3) Korea amended its Patent Act in 1986, extending the term of patent protection (from 12 to 15 years), reverting the burden of proof, and increasing the requirements for compulsory licensing. Enforcement efforts have significantly increased since then, and a trade secrets law is being drafted. (4) Malaysia in turn revised its copyright law and acceded to the Berne Convention in 1990.6
Finally, let us take a look at Brazil, which was one of the main opponents of the movement toward higher levels of IPR protection in the early 1980s. The Brazilian Software Law of 1987 extended copyright protection to computer programs. Enforcement efforts to protect IPR have increased significantly over the last few years, particularly with respect to software and home-video cassettes. In 1991, the Collor administration submitted to the Brazilian Congress a draft law reviewing Brazil's system of "industrial protection." Among the main changes proposed in the new law are the
For further details on the IPR systems of the Asian NIEs, see Schumann (1990) and U.S. Trade Representative (several years).