Star Wang Co, through the introduction of Chen Jun-fu, won a bid for a project to decorate a dormitory building belonging to Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc (ASE), after having presented interior design graphics and a three-dimensional (3D) model room.

ASE objected to the price Star Wang Co had proposed, so Star Wang Co did not complete the contract or construction work. Chen Jun-fu turned to Sin-Lyu-Jhu International Enterprise Co, Ltd (Sin-Lyu-Jhu), to complete the construction work instead.

Star Wang Co, found that the interior design structure and configuration of the completed dormitory was remarkably similar to its interior design graphics and 3D model room. It therefore claimed that Chen Jun-fu, his wife (Lin Bi-jiao), Sin-Lyu-Jhu and ASE had jointly infringed the copyright of its "graphical works" (ie, the interior design graphics) and "architectural works" (ie, the 3D model room).


The Intellectual Property Court held that the interior design graphics and the 3D model room were not "architectural works" and dismissed Star Wang Co's claims. Star Wang Co filed an appeal.(1)

The Intellectual Property and Commercial Court(2) reversed the first-instance court's decision and held that the term "architectural works" refers to architectural designs that are embodied in any tangible media and the elements of space arrangement, configuration and design.(3) Therefore, the scope of protection of "architectural works" is not limited to the exterior of a building but includes the interior of a building as well. Moreover, the term "interior design" refers to decoration objects inside a building that are attached to and part of the building. Consequently, "interior design" should be deemed "architectural works" and protected by the Copyright Act.

The 3D model room constructed by Star Wang Co was a tangible expression of interior design, which met the minimal requirements of exhibiting creativity and being original. Therefore, it should enjoy copyright protection as an "architectural work".

The dormitory constructed by Sin-Lyu-Jhu was almost identical to the model room developed by Star Wang Co, which was a kind of "direct reproduction" – that is, a "three-dimensional to three-dimensional" reproduction which infringes article 3(1)(5) of the Copyright Act.

Although Chen Jun-fu had not provided the disputed model room to Sin-Lyu-Jhu, he had nevertheless instructed Sin-Lyu-Jhu, together with ASE, to modify the dormitory room. He had failed to notify ASE that he had no right to use the interior design of the model room. Such behaviour obviously infringed Star Wang Co's copyright in the model room.

Chen Jun-fu's wife Lin Bi-jiao did not participate in the operation of the firm nor in the construction of the dormitory room. Similarly, Sin-Lyu-Jhu was not aware of the disputed model room, but simply followed the instructions of ASE and Chen Jun-fu. Further, it could not be determined that ASE had known that the copyright of the disputed model room belonged to Star Wang Co. Therefore, the Court held that Lin Bi-jiao, Sin-Lyu-Jhu and ASE had not infringed Star Wang Co's copyright due to an intentional act or negligence and would thus not be liable for infringement.

No appeal was filed and the judgment is thus final.

For further information on this topic please contact Cathy Ting or Sophia Chen at Lee and Li Attorneys at Law by telephone (+886 2 2763 8000) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Lee and Li website can be accessed at www.leeandli.com.


(1) Judgment No. Min-Zhu-Su-Zi-124 rendered in 2020.

(2) On 1 July 2021, the Commercial Court was merged into the Intellectual Property Court and renamed the "Intellectual Property and Commercial Court".

(3) Judgment No. Min-Zhu-Shang-Zi-23 rendered in 2022.