Under the Patent Act, utility model patents are examined using a formality examination system; the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office is not required to perform a substantive examination of patentability. However, as patent rights are granted without substantive examination, to prevent patentees from IP rights abuse, the Patent Act stipulates that when exercising a utility model patent, the patentee must not issue a warning without presenting a technical evaluation report.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated a public consultation on 5G spectrum planning and auction preparation. Industry stakeholders and interested parties are invited to give comments in written form by 29 June 2018. NCC Chair Nicole Chan stated that the commission will be submitting its final analysis of the public consultation to the Executive Yuan in July 2018. The premier will then issue a further decision on 5G spectrum.
Consumers will not usually perceive a slogan as an identifier of goods or services until they encounter consistent advertising or other practices by the brand user. Generally, therefore, slogans are not inherently distinctive in existing trademark examining practice in Taiwan. In a recent administrative case, an applicant claimed that because its house mark was extremely well-known worldwide, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office should treat the trademark to be filed as a regular slogan.
To avoid repeated administrative litigation procedures, Article 33(1) of the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act stipulates that the IP Court must consider any new evidence submitted on the same invalidation reasons before the end of the oral debate proceedings. Since the act came into effect in 2008, this article has remained unquestioned. However, the IP Court loosely construed it in a recent judgment.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) released its 2017 Taiwan Communications Market Report in April 2018. The report disclosed the progress being made in preparation for the 5G spectrum auction, during which the NCC will identify that the 28 gigahertz (GHz) band, as well as the 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz bands, should be available for auction in 2020, aiming for large-scale 5G application.
A recent IP Court judgment has clarified the grounds for proving infringement using a patented manufacturing process. While the Patent Act provides for the shifting of the burden of proof, prospective owners of manufacturing process patents must consider whether an article made using a patented manufacturing process is unknown in or outside Taiwan before filing an application (or otherwise protect the invention using a product patent).
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) recently announced amendments to Chapter 11, Part II of the Patent Examination Guidelines. Changes to the definition of 'first market approval' relax the criteria on determination of first market approval but also impose a limitation on the scope of extension to the specific ingredients stated in the market approval according to Article 56 of the Patent Act.
In the new generation of robots, all kinds of process rely on the use of human intelligence. Therefore, a patent portfolio for inventions relating to robots with artificial intelligence should focus on the technical features of man-made inventions and creations and consider their various possible applications in order to obtain a reasonable scope of patent protection. Patent portfolio wars will significantly affect innovation, research and development of new robotic technologies.
Unauthorised trademarks and barcodes are often used on counterfeit products. However, it remains an issue as to whether the unauthorised use of a barcode violates any laws or regulations. Recently, the Supreme Court and IP Court, among others, have been reviewing the relevant issues and believe that unauthorised use of barcodes should constitute forgery under the Criminal Code.
Chunghwa Telecom recently announced that it will make a 5G pre-commercial system available in Taipei in 2020. The National Communications Commission has welcomed the move. It has also stated that its legislative proposal on the Telecommunications Act will take a proactive approach in responding to the significant need for flexible frequency sharing and network use.
A post-termination restrictive covenant for non-competition restricts an employee from joining the employer's competitor or conducting business in competition with the employer following termination of employment. The employee is usually required to provide such a covenant on being hired, making it difficult for the employee to decline. As the legality of such a covenant was controversial, when the Labour Standards Act was revised in 2016, a new article was added to regulate it.
Generally, technical features disclosed in a patent claim relating to mechanical or electrical engineering are more suitable for breakdown into basic comparison units that realise a certain function or deliver a certain result independently. Therefore, the triple-identity test is often used in these technical fields in determining equivalent infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. However, the Supreme Court recently held that it is insufficient to conclude patent infringement with a general triple-identity test.
When faced with the challenge of determining whether an invention patent specification has an inventive step when compared with the prior art, the courts must decide whether a person having ordinary skill in the art would be sufficiently motivated to combine the prior art references and replicate the invention. The criteria to make this determination was set out by the Patent Examination Guidelines 2013, and a recent IP Court decision serves as a useful model for this issue going forward.
In order to provide full reports on news events, it is often inevitable that the works of others will be used. Should relevant laws be unable to empower journalists to claim fair use under certain circumstances, news reports may fail to be conducive to the formation of public opinion or fail to agree with the main purpose of copyright protection. Exemption regulations concerning fair use in news reports can be found in the Copyright Act.
The IP Court recently set a guideline in a criminal trademark infringement case determining jurisdiction over trademark infringement cases where the actual operator of an online store selling counterfeit goods is not physically located in Taiwan. The IP Court held that a district court in a certain city should have jurisdiction over trademark infringement cases when consumers who may have access to the online store are located in that city.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) recently issued a warning regarding the key reinstallation attack and urged network operators and equipment providers to fix this unprecedented flaw in WiFi protection that has left almost all home routers at risk of being hacked. The NCC advised subscribers to avoid sending confidential or sensitive personal data via WiFi connections and to use 4G mobile internet access instead.
The examination of inventive step is of paramount importance in examining patent applications. However, Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) examiners tend to combine prior art references arbitrarily, which often results in findings based on hindsight. In order to prevent this practice and further enhance patent examination quality, TIPO has amended the inventive step examination guidelines.
The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) recently held a conference, inviting representatives from the industry, the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labour to discuss amendments to the Trade Secrets Act. TIPO will adjust relevant provisions based on the conclusions of the meeting and provide a revised version of the draft amendments for public discussion.
An employer may terminate an employment contract with notice or payment in lieu of notice and provide the appropriate severance payment if an employee is confirmed to be incompetent to perform the work assigned to him or her. However, employers may not terminate an employment contract if the employee is on maternity leave or suffering from an occupational injury or disease while working for the employer.
The Supreme Court recently clarified the level of proof in trade secret protection cases. In order to implement trade secret protection fully, the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act lowers the burden of proof on owners and obliges the other party to make a specific defence. This interpretation will be valuable for trade secret owners citing and referring to prior judgments to protect their rights in future.