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01.06.2011 Taiwan, Province of China Patents Taiwan passes draft amendment to Patent Act ESSEN Patent & Trademark Office

On April 6, 2011, the Economics Committee of the Legislative Yuan completed examination of a draft amendment to the Patent Act after the conclusion of its fourth
examination meeting. During the final meeting, committee members expressed their concerns on design patent protection for artistic works, the extent of farmers’ rights to save seed for their own use, and agricultural technology policies once patent protection has been granted to plants. TIPO will remain in active consultation with the Council of Agriculture (COA) in the development of further supplementary measures.

It has been over eight years since the latest amendment to the Patent Act in February 2003. Once the bill is passed by the Legislative Yuan, the revised Act will boost domestic development in biotechnology, high-end agriculture, and creative and cultural industries. It will also help strengthen the patent examination system and patent protection in Taiwan, bringing our domestic patent system more in line with international practices.

The main points of the amendment are as follows:

(1) Patent protection for plants and animals and adding corresponding provisions regarding farmers’ rights to save seed for their own use, the exhaustion of rights, and compulsory cross-licenses for plant variety rights.
(2) Introducing the “reinstatement of rights” mechanism, whereby applicants or patent owners who lose their patent rights because they unintentionally fail to claim priority rights at the time of application or fail to pay patent annuities on time may apply for reinstatement of rights.
(3) Removing the time limitation for applicants wishing to amend applications, and allowing divisional applications to be filed within 30 days from the date on which an approval decision for the original patent application was issued.
(4) Revising provisions regarding the extension of patent terms for pharmaceutical-and agrichemical-related invention patents.
(5) Amending conditions that were excluded from the scope of patent right, including private acts that are for non-commercial purposes, acts that are necessary for obtaining drug regulatory approval in Taiwan and abroad, and the adaptation of international exhaustion principles.
(6) Revising conditions and compensation for compulsory licensing.
(7) Revising the patent invalidation system, including abolishing examination by ex officio action, allowing invalidation actions to be filed against a single claim,
consolidating examination for invalidation actions and corrections, as well as consolidating decisions for invalidation actions and corrections.
(8) Clarifying the subjective requirements for patent infringement, revising the methods of calculating damages, and eliminating the provision stating that damages may not be claimed in case of failure to affix a patent mark.
(9) Adding provisions that allow a single applicant to file an invention patent application and a utility model patent application for the same creation on the same date, and which clarify that corrections to utility model patent shall undergo formality examination.
(10) Bringing partial designs, computer-generated icons and graphical user interfaces (icons & GUIs), and sets of articles into the scope of patent protection and introducing the derivative designs system.

The enactment of this comprehensive amendment will bring about positive reforms to many areas of Taiwan’s patent system. TIPO has already begun preparation on supplementary measures that include amended patent rules and examination guidelines, revised patent application forms, and updated computer systems. (Source: TIPO 2011-05-12)

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