The current Patent Act was amended on 18 January 2018 and took effect on 1 May 2018. Subsequently, in April 2019 the Legislative Yuan amended the act once again in order to relax some of the requirements – in particular, to reflect adjustments to international patent laws and practice and upgrade Taiwan's patent examination practice. The latest amendments took effect in November 2019. This article examines the major changes introduced by the amendments.
An amendment of the Patent Act with respect to the grace period for novelty and inventive step was recently promulgated through a presidential decree. To guide the implementation of the amended Patent Act provisions, the Enforcement Rules of the Patent Act were also amended. The amendment of the Patent Act will more closely align the patent system with international patent practice and strengthen protection for patent applicants.
The new Patent Act took effect last year. To cope with the implementation of the amended act, its enforcement rules were also amended. The structure of the enforcement rules has been rearranged to include six chapters, including general provisions, patent rights and supplementary provisions.
Following the amendment of the Patent Act, the Regulations Governing Patent Official Fees was also amended. There have been major changes to, among other things, the fees for the re-examination of invention patent applications and the late payment of patent annuities.
The first amendment to the Trade Secret Protection Act in 16 years recently entered into effect. Before the amendment there was no criminal liability prescribed in the act for trade secret misappropriation. However, through the amendment criminal liability will become available and attempts to commit crimes will be punished.
Following the amendment to the Patent Act and its Enforcement Rules the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) amended and published its Patent Examination Guidelines to guide the handling of patent-related applications. The IPO also amended other patent regulations, including regulations governing patent e-filing.
In addition to the Patent Prosecution Highway pilot programme between the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office, TIPO has been implementing the Implementation Plan for Expedited Examination of Invention Patent Applications. According to TIPO statistics, from January to November 2011 a total of 1,273 requests for expedited examination were filed with TIPO.
The president recently promulgated amendments to the Patent Act which are intended to enhance Taiwan's economic and industrial competitiveness and to promote the development of key local technology, as well as to improve the quality of patent examination. The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office has already commenced revising its enforcement rules and patent examination guidelines.
The Economic Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan recently concluded its review of the Patent Act Amendment Bill. If the bill is passed by the Legislative Yuan it will facilitate the development of local biotechnology, agriculture and cultural creativity industries, upgrade patent examination, strengthen patent protection and expedite Taiwan's interface with international society.
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits have signed the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and the Cross-Strait IP Rights Protection Cooperation Agreement.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office's "Measures for Handling Patent Amendment and Supplement" have taken effect. These measures provide patent applicants with more flexibility when amending or supplementing patent applications. This constitutes a significant step forward for patent practitioners.
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits have signed the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and the Cross-Strait Intellectual Property Rights Protection Cooperation Agreement. This update outlines the areas covered by the IP agreement and discusses its implications.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office has held public hearings to receive comments on proposed changes to Section 1 of the Substantive Examination Guidelines for Patents, which addresses procedural examination and patent management. The procedural examination of patent applications is a preliminary procedure that involves verifying whether the content and format of submitted patent applications comply with the Patent Act.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office has identified areas to be considered for amendments to the Patent Act. The proposals aim to enhance Taiwan's economic and industrial competitiveness, raise the quality of the patent examination process and promote the development of biotechnology, green technology and advanced agriculture.