Legislative Yuan Passes Amendments of Fair Trade Law
On January 15, 2002 the Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of "Partial Amendments of the Fair Trade Law". The background for these amendments is that Taiwanese businesses are now facing global competition in the 21st century, and mergers and acquisitions have become the trend in the face of advantages available to multinational corporations. In response to this shift in corporate structure as well as the present economic needs of Taiwan, the Economic Development Advisory Conference (EDAC) required that the Government streamline procedures and remove barriers applicable to mergers and acquisitions, and provide incentives for their taking place while maintaining fair competition in the market. In accordance with the EDAC's conclusions, the Fair Trade Commission of the Executive Yuan has drafted these Amendments, having reference to overseas competition laws concerning regulation of business combinations. The full document of these Amendments can be found at the website of the Commission at
Draft Amendments to Classification of Goods and Services
Pursuant to Article 154, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Administrative Procedure and Article 78 of the Trademark Law, and following solicitation of public comments, the IPO recently announced draft amendments to "Schedule to Article 49 and Article 51 of the Trademark Law Enforcement Rules". Any person wishing to provide further comments to the Amendments can contact the legal department of the IPO by mail, fax (02-27351946) or E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org. gov.tw).
The "Classification of Goods and Services" table to Article 49 of the Trademark Law Enforcement Rules was based on the "International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement" (Nice Agreement). Following the 18th session of the Nice Union Committee of Experts, the 8th edition of the Nice Agreement took effect on January 1, 2002. Although Taiwan is not a member of WIPO, its trademark and service mark classifications are consistent with the international classification, and therefore revisions to the Taiwanese classification are made accordingly.
The present amendments principally subdivided the existing Class 42 services into 4 new classes, being Classes 42 to 45. In addition, Article 51, Paragraph 2 is inserted into the Enforcement Rules, which provides that the new Classification will take effect only from March 1, 2002. The leeway takes into account distance barriers confronting overseas applicants and trademark agents, as well as gives applicants and agents sufficient time to understand and respond to the new system. The main revisions are as follows:
(1)Revise Class 42 services, which include mainly services provided by persons (individually or collectively) in relation to the theoretical and practical aspects of complex fields of activities; such services are provided by members of professions such as chemists, physicists, engineers, computer specialists, lawyers, etc.
(2)Insert Class 43 services, which include mainly services provided by persons or establishments whose aim is to prepare food and drink for consumption and services provided to obtain bed and board in hotels, boarding houses or other establishments providing temporary accommodation.
(3)Insert Class 44 services, which include mainly medical care, hygienic and beauty care given by persons or establishments to human beings and animals; it also includes services relating to the fields of agriculture, horticulture and forestry.
(4)Insert Class 45 services, which include in particular investigation and surveillance services relating to the safety of persons and entities; services provided to individuals in relation with social events, such as social escort services, matrimonial agencies, funeral services.
A reference table of the revisions can be found at the following website: http://www.moeaipo.gov.tw/news/Show NewsContent.asp?otype=1&postnum=868&from=board.
Amendments to Integrated Circuits Layout Protection Law
The Integrated Circuits Layout Protection Law ("ICLPL") was promulgated on August 11, 1995. In coordination with the Law of Administrative Procedures, which came into effect on January 1, 2001, the Intellectual Property Office drafted amendments to 5 of the provisions of the ICLPL, which passed their first reading by the Legislative Yuan in October 2001.
Main points in the aforementioned amendments (Legislative Yuan version) are set out as follows: (1) Those who have not yet complied with statutory procedures may do so within a prescribed period (Article 14 amended); (2) Where a lawful administrative penalty is invalidated in accordance with Article 123 of the Law of Administrative Procedures, the relevant term is "termination" (Article 24 amended); (3) An opportunity will be given to reply within a prescribed period to an application to revoke a circuit layout registration (Article 27 amended); and (4) A circuit layout will not be protected unless it has been registered with the competent authority (Article 28 amended).
The full document of the said Amendments may be found at the IPO's website at:
Partial Amendments to Copyright Intermediary Organization Regulations
In line with the amended Copyright Law (promulgated November 12, 2001) and the new Law of Administrative Procedures (effective January 1, 2001), the IPO has proposed "Partial Amendments to the Copyright Association Regulations", and a public hearing has been held to solicit public comments.
These Amendments propose to revise 21 articles, principally in relation to: (1) changing the competent authority to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the copyright authority will be specifically responsible for related matters; (2) copyright intermediary organization members include exclusive licensees; (3) the copyright intermediary organization should be founded by copyright owners; (4) deleting provisions in these Regulations as to assessment of license fees; (5) the competent authority may revoke a permit after it has been granted, where it is found that the copyright intermediary organization should not have been granted a permit; (6) once a copyright intermediary organization has been deregistered or its permit has been revoked, the competent authority must also order that the association be dissolved, and will notify the local district court and the relevant association of the same, giving reasons, and publish such notice in a government gazette; (7) revise provisions relating to copyright catalogues; (8) in line with the amended Law of Administrative Appeals and the new Law of Administrative Procedures, provisions in these Regulations concerning "re-appeal" are deleted.
Protection of Information Access Right for the Hearing/Visually Impaired
The IPO has recently prepared a first draft of amendment to Article 53 of the Copyright Law, dedicated to protecting the right of the hearing and visually impaired to access information. This amendment will enable approved non-profit institutions or groups to adapt published works, by way of tape recordings, computers, oral narration accompanied by visual images or sign language translations, or in any other way use such works, for the specific purpose of making them accessible to the hearing and/or visually impaired members of society.
Amendments to Compulsory Licensing of Musical Works Regulations
On December 20, 2001 the IPO announced the first draft of proposed amendments to the "Musical Works Compulsory License Application & License Fee Regulations", prepared pursuant to Article 154, Paragraph 1 of the Law of Administrative Procedures, Articles 2 and 71 of the Copyright Law, and other relevant laws and regulations, as well as practical concerns. The proposed amendments will revise 13 articles and delete 1 article of the Regulations.
Main points in the proposed amendments include: (1) The "competent authority" referred to in the Regulations will be changed to the "designated authority responsible for copyright matters", in line with the revised Articles 2 and 71 of the Copyright Law promulgated by order of the President on November 12, 2001; further, an invalidation of an unlawful administrative penalty and an invalidation of a lawful administrative penalty (after obtaining compulsory license approval) become respectively "revocation of approval" and "termination of approval". (2) A provision is inserted, requiring that written notice be given to the designated authority responsible for copyright matters where there is a change in the agent, or the agent ceases acting. (3) A provision is inserted, allowing applicants to have their documents notarized by private notaries. (4) A provision is inserted, requiring that the applicant, the owner of copyright in the musical work and their agents be notified in writing of a termination of approval.
Recent Patent & Trademark Applications and Approvals
According to statistics released by the IPO in respect of patent and trademark applications and approvals over the last 3 years, there were a total of 67,860 new patent applications during 2001, an increase of 6,629 applications from 2000 (61,231 applications), or a slight increase of 10.83%. The 2000 figures represented an increase of 9,310 applications from 1999 (51,921 applications), or an increase of 17.93%.
In 2001 47,721 patent applications were approved, an increase of 5,490 from 2000 (42,241 approvals), or a slight increase of 12.97%. The 2000 figures represented an increase of 13,097 approvals from 1999 (29,144 approvals), or a substantial increase of 44.94%.
As for trademark applications, there were a total of 59,158 applications during 2001, a decrease of 28,844 applications from 2000 (88,002 applications) or 32.78%. The 2000 figures represented an increase of 14,790 applications or 20.20% from 1999 (73,212 applications).
In addition, a total of 77,432 trademark applications were approved in 2001, being an increase of 9,689 applications or 14.30% from 2000 (67,743 applications). The 2000 figures represented an increase of 12,314 applications or 22.22% from 1999 (55,429 applications).
Online Applications for Overseas Patent Claims Information
The IPO has installed an "Online Application System for Overseas Patent Claims Images". This system adopts a membership system, and users can become members by using the Internet to apply for an account online, and then remitting the necessary payment to the IPO. Members will be able to apply online to obtain information about overseas patent claims. Once the IPO receives the requests of its members through the system, it will automatically e-mail the requested information to members within 8 to 24 hours. The IPO will begin accepting requests from January 1, 2002, and the cost will be NT$4 per page, which will be automatically deducted from the member's online account. The system currently contains claims information from more than 9 million patents, including U.S. patents since 1974, Japanese patents since 1976, and European patents since 1978. The website of the system is www.patdoc.moeaipo. gov.tw.