Draft Partial Amendment of Patent Law Released
In volume 9, issues No. 8 and 10 of IPR News, we have previously discussed briefly the most recent draft amendments to the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law, made to satisfy requirements for Taiwan's entry to the WTO. Here we will briefly describe the draft partial amendment of the Patent Law, which passed first reading in the Legislative Yuan on June 26, 2000:
a. Simplify the requirement that in a joint application, each and every one of the multiple parties involved must sign all documents.
b. Introduce a "local priority" system: where an applicant files an application for a patent, if it then makes additions or improvements to the same invention within a certain period of time, it may file a new application and claim the earlier priority date as the base date for assessment of the patent.
c. Introduce an "early publication" system: following an application for a patent, the contents of the application will be publicized after a certain period, so as to avoid commercial uncertainties and replicated research. Through publication of new technology, industries will be able to obtain new information a lot faster.
d. Specify the timing for applicants to make additions and revisions: additions and revisions to patent applications should not alter the substance of the application. Since the early publication system is being introduced, the timing for making additions and revisions will also be changed. Accordingly, after considering such examples as Japan's Patent Law, the present amendments now specify the timing and criteria for making additions and revisions after filing the application, during the examination, and after the examination result is gazetted.
e. Binding power of dismissal of an objection or petition: where an objection or petition has been dismissed, then even if this decision has not been affirmed, no one may make a fresh petition in respect of the same facts and evidence.
f. Decriminalization of patent offences: the present draft does not include any amendments to punitive provisions of the Patent Law. However, 45 members of the Legislative Yuan led by Mr Chen Hsueheng have proposed decriminalization of patent offences. It remains to be seen what the Legislative Yuan will ultimately decide.
Patent Procedure Examination Standards Announced Shortly
After releasing an initial draft of the Patent Procedure Examination Standards, the Intellectual Property Office recently held three symposiums to solicit public comment. It has subsequently produced a revised draft of the Standards, which has been posted on the IPO's website for comment.
The R.O.C. Patent Law not only stipulates the procedures and substantive criteria for granting and revoking a patent, it also regulates changes to and management of patents. This means that the Patent Law is a substantive law as well as a procedural law. The initial examination, the reexamination, the objection and petition concerning a patent application are all closely connected to procedural examination of the patent. Under the principle of "procedural before substantive", only those applications that satisfy procedural examination will be submitted to a substantive examination.The socalled "procedural examination" involves assessing whether all application documents comply with the requirements of the Patent Law and its Enforcement Rules. This is especially important for new applications. Their application forms, specifications, diagrams, oaths and certification of right to make application must all be in order, else it would affect determination of the application date, which is undoubtedly the focus of a procedural examination. Since the R.O.C. Patent Law adopts a firstcome first served system, the determination of application date will inevitably affect the timing for a substantive assessment of novelty and advanc ement. Therefore, even though the Patent Law does not make specific reference to procedural examination, the process of patent examination itself is in fact a combination of procedural and substantive examina tions. Procedural examinations are a very important aspect of the Patent Law's enforcement and operation.
That is why these draft Standards have sought to provide clear guidelines regarding principles and common standards that a procedural examination should follow in practice.
Taiwan Comes Third in U.S. Patents in Year 2000
According to the most recent report of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, last year Taiwanese inventors obtained as many as 5,806 patents in the U.S., ranking third globally after Japan and Germany. The remaining countries in the top ten are respectively France, England, Canada, South Korea, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Three out of the top ten are Asian countries, being Japan, Taiwan and South Korea respectively.
According to statistical information from the said Office, the U.S. granted a total of 176,087 patents in 2000, an increase of 4.1% from the previous year. Out of these, 55% were obtained by U.S. nationals, and 45% by foreign nationals. Japan still ranked first in U.S. patents granted to foreign nationals in 2000 totaling 32,924 patents, or 18.7% of the total number granted by the U.S. that year. It was followed by Germany, totaling 10,822 patents, or 6.1% of the total number granted.
Taiwan ranked third, having obtained 5,806 patents, or 3.3% of the total number granted by the U.S. This was an increase of 1,280 patents, or 28.3%, from 1999.
Gazetted Patent & Trademark Applications in 1st Quarter of 2001
According to information from the Intellectual Property office, the Office handled 14,958 new patent applications during the period of January to March 2001, an increase of 8.75% from the same period last year. Compared to the same period last year, inventions have increased by close to 30%, while applications for new models and new designs have decreased slightly. The number of new patent applications by foreign nationals continued to increase by more than 20%, while the number of applications by R.O.C. nationals fell slightly. The number of approved and gazetted applications was 11,631, an increase of 38.89% from the same period last year. Out of these, invention and new design patents both increased by more than 50%, while new model patents also increased by close to 20%.
The Office also handled 13,154 new trademark applications during the 1st quarter of 2001, a fall of 32.94% from the same period last year. The number of approved and gazetted applications was 14,061, an increase of 37.50% from the same period last year. New applications in respect of the top ten goods and services all indicated a falling trend, except for Class 29 Foods, which was once more in the top ten, and Class 5 Medical Equipment fell to a smaller extent. The top three goods and services continue the trend of the previous season, being Class 9 Machinery, Class 42 Services, and Class 35 Services.
商標各項申請之新式書表自本（90）年6 月1 日起開始實施，舊書表可延用四個月至9月30 日止，自10 月1日起全面使用新式書表，原舊書表停止使用。新式書表共計二十五種，可至經濟部智慧財產局網站下載使用，
New Trademark Application Forms can be Downloaded from IPO Website
The new forms for various trademark applications will be in effect from June 1, 2001. The old forms can be used for 4 more months until September 30 of this year, and new forms must be used as from October 1. There are 25 new forms, which can be downloaded from the website of the Intellectual Property Office at
Sample Not Required for Copyright Certificate
The Intellectual Property office indicated that as of May 1, 2001, in principle it will no longer require a sample to be submitted in an application for "Certi ficate of Copyright in respect of Exported Media Works and OEM Laser Discs". A sample is to be submitted only if specifically required by the IPO. However, the SID Code must still be filled in on the relevant application, as well as stamped on the exported products.
The assessment of Certificates of Copyright in respect of videotapes and OEM laser discs was originally undertaken by the Government Information Office, but was transferred to the IPO as of January 2001. The purpose of this assessment is to prevent media works and OEM laser discs exported by Taiwan from infringing copyright overseas. It is conducted in coordination with the Administrative Procedures Law. The number of applications handled by the IPO during the 1st quarter of 2001 was 3,384. Half of the applications were made with the IPO, while the other half were with various customs assessment centers.
Taiwanese at Overseas Exhibition Prosecuted for IPR Infringement
Recently some Taiwanese businesses participating in exhibitions overseas have been prosecuted for infringement of intellectual property rights, which seriously affects the exhibition and our national image.
The Taipei Trade Office based in Zurich had assisted Taiwanese businesses to participate in the Clocks & Jewelry Exhibition in Basel, Switzerland between March 22 and 29, 2001. The Office indicated that some nonparticipating companies were prosecuted for trademark infringement by running advertisements on exhibition materials, and there were also some other incidents of intellectual property right infringements.
The R.O.C. Trade Office in Hamburg also indicated that approximately 600 Taiwanese companies participated in the Computer Exhibition in Hanover from March 22 to 28, 2001. Taiwan had the largest number of participants second to the host country Germany. However, during the exhibition certain companies were prosecuted for patent infringements, and were compulsorily required by the German District Court to "remove" the exhibited products. The Trade Office in Hamburg had arranged for attorneys to assist Taiwanese businessses at the exhibition with potential IPR issues.
For many years the R.O.C. Government has been striving to protect intellectual property rights. However, in order to stamp out counterfeiting activities, not only must governmental departments be thorough in enforcement, the public must also truly respect others' intellectual property rights.
|Pirate Attack on Pearl Harbor
There have been reports that long before "Pearl Harbor" and "The Mummy Returns" were shown on the big screen in Taiwan, counterfeit copies had flooded the market. According to media reports, the counterfeits were probably made while the films were shown in overseas cinemas, and were then carried into Taiwan. In respect of this act of copyright infringement, the AntiCounterfeiting Committee of the MOEA, the Inte
llectual Property Office, as well as the prosecutors' office and police departments had met on June 11 for the 13th meeting of the Joint Committee. It was resolved that anticounterfeiting measures will be immediately reinforced against pirated copies.
The Copyright Law already contains regulations and penalties concerning: (1)importing pirated copies of films from overseas; (2) massproducing the same in Taiwan after obtaining the "master copy"; (3) unauthorized reproduction with intention to sell or rent; (4) selling counterfeits. Relevant provisions of the Copyright Law include: (1) Paragraph 3 of Article 87, Paragraph 3 of Article 93; (2) Article 91; (3) Article 91; (4) Paragraph 2 of Article 87, Paragraph 3 of Article 93 and so on. Repeat offenders are punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment.