Taiwan Discusses Intellectual Property Rights with U.S. and Japan

A two-day workshop, organized by the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), brought representatives from Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. together to talk about protecting trade secrets and intellectual property rights recently.  More than 180 law enforcement officials and experts from 19 Indo-Pacific nations communicated with relevant personnel from the three countries.  Held on-line due to the covid-19 pandemic, various views were shared about how to protect IPR and also how to strengthen IPR as a component of economic growth and competitiveness.  Brent Christensen, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (A.I.T.), highlighted the importance of the virtuous cycle of interaction, IPR protection, investment and innovation. He also noted that IPR protection is a key ingredient to attract investment and encourage innovation in order to improve economically.  Representatives from Taiwan’s Prosecutors Office, Taiwan Intellectual Property Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also weighed in on the best practices for prosecuting cases related to trade secrets theft and digital piracy.  The initiative first launched by Taiwan and the U.S. in 2015 is one of the key IPR meetings of the year in the Indo-Pacific region.

IP Navigation Manual for Start-ups in Taiwan

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office has produced a manual to help start-ups gain a better understanding of the issues around IP protection.  In 2020, TIPO began a series of meetings with various start-ups to hear directly from them and formulate some ways to assist them.  One major finding was that there was an insufficient understanding of intellectual property rights which resulted in start-ups neglecting IP protection, while insufficient capital caused them to overlook the creation of patent portfolios altogether.  Partly in comic strip form and case study stories, the manual breaks down complex IP concepts in an easy-to-understand format.  The stories focus on tech start-up situations and describe the potential hurdles such a business might face from the first day all the way up to product launch.  In this way, it is hoped that budding entrepreneurs will have a clear picture about what kind of IP protection will be best suited to their products.  The main message is clear: early development of portfolios is a must when one considers the lower overall examination fees and shorter average examination waiting times.  Combined with the Positive Patent Examination Pilot Program for Start-up Companies initiative begun recently, TIPO is making every effort to strengthen IP protection for the next generation.

The EU and Taiwan discuss Internet Copyright Issues

The EU – Taiwan Seminar on Protection of Internet Copyright was held online last December.  The event was organized by the Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (TIPO) and the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO).  By holding this seminar, it is the aim of both sides to provide a more comprehensive road map for the continued development of Internet copyright protection.  Presentations were made by various experts which produced a useful exchange of information which can enhance the public’s understanding of the issues.  As protection of Internet copyright has increased in importance, this virtual meeting between 120 virtual participants as well as some in person meetings in such fields as industry, government and academia will go a long way to establish a strong foundation for further understanding and cooperation.

China tops World Intellectual Property Organization List

In WIPO’s annual report for 2019, China ranked first for the number of international patent application filings, overtaking the United States which held top spot for more than 40 years.  China had 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty System with the U.S. in second position with 57,840 applications. Japan was third, Germany fourth and South Korea fifth.  WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said that this shows the culture of innovation is strengthening in Asia. In 1999 China only made 276 patent applications, but twenty years later that had increased 200-fold.  This is all part of the government’s push to make China a higher-value economy by promoting innovation and setting the conditions for growing high-value industries.  In fact, Chinese company Huawei Technologies was the top corporate filer for the third consecutive year.  It’s worth noting that this is happening in a global atmosphere of increased creativity as 2019 was a record breaking year with 265,800 international patent applications.

China Establishes Fast IPR Service Centers

China has set up 25 service centers to provide a swifter response to intellectual property rights (IPR) issues.  The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) aims to provide county-level industry clusters with faster pre-review processes, confirmation and rights protection on IPR-related issues.  This is in response to the targeted regions which have become more focused on knowledge-intensive industries.  As these regions switch from traditional labor-intensive industries, a knowledge gap is likely to occur.  Anticipating this, the government has decided to invest in the centers which will help businesses get IP protection for example with the physical designs of popular items that are most at risk of being copied.  The CNIPA has plans to expand the system as China becomes a more knowledge-based economy.

The Original Grant System in Hong Kong

When the patent system was reorganized in late 2019, one of the key features was the introduction of an original grant system for standard patents which would provide an alternative route for patent registration in Hong Kong.  Previously, a patent application had to be filed first in either China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), United Kingdom Patent Office (UKPO) or the European Patent Office (EPO).  Then, it could be re-registered in Hong Kong.  While this method can still be used, the new possibility is that applications for standard patents can be filed (in English or Chinese) in Hong Kong directly with the Patents Registry of the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department either with a priority claim or as a first filing.  Another change is to the short-term patent system which is valid for 8 years.  Under the new system, two independent claims instead of just one can be made under a short-term application.  This change allows applicants to seek protection of a product and process of an invention in one short-term application.  One of the benefits of the new system is that applicants who are seeking protection only in Hong Kong no longer need to waste time and money by filing in one of the other administrations.  It also raises the profile of Hong Kong as a patent administration center and as an additional IP protection bulwark for goods being exported from China via Hong Kong.

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