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NINTENDO FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST TAIWAN FOR PIRACY OF VIDEO GAME COPYRIGHTS

 NINTENDO FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST TAIWAN FOR
 PIRACY OF VIDEO GAME COPYRIGHTS
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Nintendo of America Inc. today asked the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to take action against the government of Taiwan for failing to stop the counterfeiting of video game cartridges that has resulted in billions of dollars in lost sales.
 In comments filed under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Nintendo of America (NOA) said Taiwan has consistently failed to provided adequate and effective protection of NOA's trademarks and copyrights. The company asked that Taiwan be designated a "priority country" under the special 301 trade law, which protects U.S. intellectual property rights.
 Joining Nintendo of America in the request were more than a dozen of its U.S. developers and licensees, which develop and manufacture some of the games used with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and several U.S. entertainment companies that license film and character rights to Nintendo of America or its licensees.
 Nintendo of America estimated that 40 million to 100 million counterfeit games were sold throughout the world in 1990, resulting in a loss of more than $1.5 billion in retail sales and another $1 billion in wholesale sales in the United States alone.
 Nintendo of America said the preponderance of the ROM (Read Only Memory) semiconducter chips used in the counterfeit video game cartridges are manufactured by one company -- United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) -- which was created, funded and is 30 percent owned by the Taiwanese government.
 UMC sells the semiconducter chips containing Nintendo of America's copyrighted games to assemblers who then export the games themselves or sell them to trading companies for export to the United States, Canada and other countries around the world.
 "Having caused the video game infringement problem, the Taiwanese government must now take steps to eradicate UMC's infringing activities," Nintendo of America said.
 "If UMC stopped selling the infringing ROM chips, Taiwanese infringement of NOA's video games would be substantially reduced," Nintendo of America said. "Moreover, if the Taiwanese government instituted effective monitoring of software exports, specifically including video games with infringing ROM chips, this would further reduce Taiwanese infringement."
 According to the U.S. Customs Service, Taiwan accounted for about 70 percent of all counterfeit computer and electronic products seized in the United States between October 1990 and March 1991.
 Today's filing with the USTR is the latest in a series of actions Nintendo of America has taken in recent years as part of an aggressive program to combat the piracy of its video game software.
 Lynn E. Hvalsoe, general counsel of Nintendo of America, said Nintendo "will not stop its campaign to combat the production and sale of counterfeit Nintendo video games.
 "We will continue to draw on all available legal and political resources to stop the outrageous conduct by foreign counterfeiters, particularly those in Taiwan," she said. "Anyone engaged in the manufacture or sale of counterfeit games should be prepared to face the serious consequences, including criminal charges and substantial financial penalties, of their illegal actions."
 Since 1989, U.S. Customs has seized at least 92 shipments of counterfeit games and has helped federal and state law enforcement authorities bring criminal charges against 21 defendants in 12 states. In addition, Nintendo of America has filed 24 civil suits against more than 100 individuals and companies in federal courts around the country.
 Since 1986, Nintendo of America has sold more than 32 million Nintendo Entertainment System units and more than 200 million game software cartridges in the United States. About 13 million NES units are equipped with an improved security system that has made it impossible for pirated games to be played.
 The company has also sold more than 8 million units of its portable hand-held "Game Boy" system since 1989 and more than 29 million "Game Boy" software cartridges. Counterfeit Game Boy cartridges were recently discovered in Hong Kong and London.
 Last September, NOA launched sales of the new 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES), which contains the improved security system to block use of pirated games.
 Nintendo of America Inc., which employs 1,450 persons at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters, sells personal, home and arcade video games in the United States. NOA is headquarters for the company's marketing operations in North America and is a subsidiary of Nintendo Co. Ltd., the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of video games.
 -0- 2/20/92
 /NOTE: Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy are registered trademarks and NES is a trademark of Nintendo/
 /CONTACT: Frank Kauffman, 202-944-5190, or Holly Kobran, 202-944-5126, both of Hill and Knowlton for Nintendo/ CO: Nintendo of America Inc.; Nintendo Co. Ltd. ST: District of Columbia IN: CPR SU:


MK -- DC023 -- 0980 02/20/92 13:36 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 20, 1992
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