Further to the Unmanned Vehicles Technology Innovation Experimentation Act, which entered into force on 1 June 2019, a new regulation for drone use under the latest amendment to the Civil Aviation Act will take effect on 31 March 2020. Among other requirements, under the new act, drone operators in Taiwan will need to register with and pass an exam conducted by the Civil Aeronautics Administration to obtain an operator licence.
In 2019 the new Patent Act took effect, setting stricter time limits for parties to propose attack and defence methods in invalidation procedures to avoid delays in and improve the effectiveness of invalidation examinations. Following public confusion, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office recently issued a Q&A on the examination practices of the Patent Act, to provide more detailed guidance on the interpretation and application of relevant provisions in specific cases. This article summarises the guidance.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office recently announced a patent examination pilot programme for start-ups, effective 1 January 2021. Under the programme, start-ups with research and development capabilities will experience a more active and positive examination process which will enable them to better improve their patent portfolios.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs recently announced an amendment to Volume 3 – Design Patent Substantive Examination of the Patent Examination Guidelines. On 1 November 2020 the amended version of the guidelines took effect. The amended guidelines provide applicants with a more flexible filing strategy and a more complete level of protection with regard to the appearance of their designs.
A pitfall that is difficult to avoid when determining whether a patent is non-obvious is hindsight bias when comparing a patent with prior art. This is why the Taiwan Patent Examination Guidelines have introduced secondary considerations to determine the non-obviousness of a patent, including 'unexpected results', 'long-felt but unsolved needs', 'overcoming technical prejudice' and 'commercial success'.
In a recent case, the IP Court adopted a negative stance on the issue of whether the appearance design of drugs may be regarded as trade dress of goods or services and thus be subject to Article 22(1)(1) of the Fair Trade Act. The drugs involved in this case were prescription drugs that can be obtained only with a physician's prescription. It remains to be seen whether there is any difference in legal application with respect to non-prescription drugs.
The new Telecoms Act came into effect on 1 July 2020. The licences of incumbent telecoms operators will expire on 30 June 2023 if not earlier on their registration with the National Communications Commission (NCC). While the Taiwan telecoms regulatory regime is switching from heavy-handed regulation to light-touch administration as the NCC claims, the NCC has published a guideline on the registration of telecoms service providers and responses to FAQs on its official website.
Subsequent to the requisition of selected airtime from 213 TV channels and 161 radio stations nationwide since 22 January 2020, the National Communications Commission recently announced its subsidy policy for compensating the direct cost of labour incurred by the operators involved (ie, each TV channel operator will be paid NT$24,000 (approximately $842) per month between 22 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 and each radio station operator will be paid NT$3,000 (approximately $105)).
The National Communications Commission recently announced that the government will allocate NT$26.65 billion from 2021 to 2025 to subsidise the 5G network deployment of five telecoms operators under the premium bid prize collected from the 5G spectrum auction in January 2020. The government intends to reach a penetration rate of 50%, 60% and 70% of the 5G population in non-remote areas by 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively.
All five Taiwanese 5G operators were recently listed as 'clean' 5G networks by the United States. The National Communications Commission has welcomed this international collaboration and commented that similar programmes previously applied to Taiwan 4G networks and kept Chinese hardware companies such as Huawei and ZTE out of Taiwan's 4G infrastructure.
The Taiwanese government recently accelerated its ban on Chinese over-the-top (OTT) TV services in Taiwan. As of 3 September 2020, no entities, legal persons or individuals in Taiwan may act as business agents, carry out resales or provide intermediary services for Chinese OTT TV services. Non-compliance with the ban could result in an administrative fine of NT$50,000 to NT$5 million per case and to a cease and desist order from the National Communications Commission.