May 7, 1997 Patent Law Amendments to Commence January 1, 2002
On December 11, 2001, the Legislative Yuan determined that the Patent Law Amendments promulgated on May 7, 1997 will commence on January 1, 2002. A copy of the full Amendments can be found at the IPO website at:
As for amendments to Articles 4, 5, 23, 25, 34, 37 and 61 of the Trademark Law, which were also promulgated on May 7, 1997, the Legislative Yuan had already determined on August 12, 1998 that they would commence on November 1, 1998. A copy of these full Amendments can be found at the IPO website at:
New Regulations for Invention and New Design Patents from January 1, 2002
Various new regulations are now in place, in response to Taiwan's entry to the WTO on January 1, 2002. Pursuant to Article 134, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the current Patent Law, as well as Article 109, Paragraph 3 of the Patent Law that was promulgated on May 7, 1997 and entered into force on January 1, 2002, any invention patents granted and gazetted before January 23, 1994, and that still subsist as of the date of Taiwan's accession to the WTO, will enjoy an extended patent period that will now expire 20 years from the date of filing. Any new design patents that still subsist as of the date of Taiwan's accession to the WTO will enjoy an extended patent period that will now expire 12 years from the date of filing.
In order to protect the patent owner's rights, annual fees for the aforementioned invention and new design patents can continue to be paid prior to the original expiry date, and the original patent certificates will continue to be valid. (According to Article 8, Paragraph 1, Sub-paragraph 4 of the Patent Fees Regulations, which took effect from January 1, 2002, the annual fee applicable from Year 10 to Year 20 is NT$20,000 per year.) However, if patent owners wish to have the extended period specifically stated on certificates, they can voluntarily return the certificates for revision, without needing to pay any reissuing fees. Annual fees must continue to be paid during the extended period, and those who fail to pay in time can do so up to 6 months after the due date, although the applicable fees will then be doubled. Patent owners who fail to pay the necessary fees before this deadline will lose their patent rights from the date after the original due date.
In case certain patent owners, whose patents had an original expiry day in January 2002, fail to pay their annual fees by the deadline, resulting in the fees being doubled or their rights being extinguished, the IPO has especially notified these owners or their agents to continue paying their annual fees within the prescribed period (being 30 days after the original expiry date). The IPO will also notify other invention and new design patent owners, whose patent periods are being extended, so that they are aware of relevant procedures concerning the extension.
The IPO will shortly compile a booklet of invention and new design patents that fall within the extension provisions, setting out their application number, patent number, filing date, gazette date, expiry date, annual fee valid date, extended expiry date, patent owner and agent. Patent owners will be able to review the booklet at Level 3 of the IPO building, or on the IPO website (at http://www.moeaipo. gov.tw/news/ShowNewsContent.asp?otype=1&postnum=885&from=board).
If there are any questions concerning payment of annual fees, readers can contact the IPO at (02) 2738-0007 ext. 3019 or 3020 for assistance.
"International Classification for Industrial Designs" Applies to New Utility Models
On December 17, 2001 the IPO announced that the "International Classification for Industrial Designs" will apply to new utility model products, effective from January 1, 2002. The "New Utility Model Products and Classification" previously in force from March 22, 1968 by order of the Ministry of Economic Affairs is abolished by order of the said Ministry as of January 1, 2002. The now applicable Classification can be found in compressed file form on the IPO's website at: http://www.moeaipo.gov.tw/news/Show NewsContent.asp?otype=1&postnum=860&from=board.
IPO Announces Chinese Version of New International Patent Classification
The IPO has recently posted the Chinese version of the 7th edition of the International Patent Classification (IPC) on its website at http://www.moeaipo.gov.tw/ipo.asp?sub=2. Its contents will include Sections A to H, the introductory manual, and a reference table of revisions (from 6th to 7th edition). Readers can go directly to the Patents section of the website described above and download this information. However, as the patent administration system and procedures of the IPO needed to undergo substantial reform to comply with the new IPC, the 7th edition of the IPC took effect only from October 1, 2001.
前揭要點及其修正理由說明等詳細資料，可至智慧局如下網址瀏覽http://www.moeaipo.gov.tw/news/ShowNews Content.asp?otype=1&postnum=678&from=board IPO Revises "Examination Guidelines for
Distinctiveness of Trademarks"
In line with Article 5 of the Trademark Law, the IPO promulgated the "Examination Standards for Distinctiveness of Trademarks" on November 22, 1997. Due to practical demands of the examination process, the IPO subsequently revised these Standards and announced the new "Examination Guidelines for Distinctiveness of Trademarks" (changing "Standards" to "Guidelines") on December 25, 2001. These Guidelines will insert types and examples of trademarks lacking in distinctiveness, as well as insert types and examples of distinctive trademarks. Examples will include: (1) inventive trademarks: where the trademark is intellectually inventive and does not make use of existing vocabulary or objects; (2) casual trademarks: the trademark is composed of existing vocabulary or objects, but has no connection with the relevant product; (3) suggestive trademarks: the trademark implicitly suggests the shape, quality, function, composition, nature, characteristics, or purpose of the product, but is not necessarily or customarily used to describe the product.
Details of the aforementioned Guidelines and reasons for the revisions can be found at the IPO website at: http://www. moeaipo.gov.tw/news/ShowNewsContent.asp?otype=1&postnum=678&from=board.
IPO to Abolish Article 4 of "Implementation Regulations for Suspension of Release of Goods Infringing on Copyright or Plate Rights by Customs Authorities" Pursuant to Article 154, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and Articles 90-1 Paragraph 3, Article 90-2 of the Copyright Law, the IPO recently announced its intention to abolish the provisions in Article 4 of the "Implementation Regulations for Suspension of Release of Goods Infringing on Copyright or Plate Rights by Customs Authorities".
Article 4 of the Regulations provided that customs authorities must notify the applicant and the party whose goods are subject to suspension in writing of the suspension. However, as this provision has already been inserted in Article 90-1 Paragraph 3 of the newly revised Copyright Law gazetted on November 12, 2001, in line with the Code of Civil Procedure, this provision should accordingly be deleted from the said Regulations.
IPO Announces Items in Examination of Copyright Documents
The IPO recently announced the revised "Guidelines for Examination of Copyright Documents for Exported Audiovisual Works and OEM Laser Disks". Video products originally with the exportation code of 571 will no longer be part of the IPO's examination as of January 1, 2002.
Enforcement Rules to Optical Media Management Law
On November 30, 2001 the IPO held a public hearing on "Draft Regulations & Enforcement of Optical Media Management Law". Pursuant to Article 154, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and based on Article 4, and Articles 10 to 12 of the Optical Media Management Law, the IPO announced the draft "Optical Media Manufacturing Permit & Declaration Rules", the "Source Identification Code Management Rules", and the "Optical Media Manufacturing Equipment Import & Export Management Rules" on November 23, 2001.
Subsequently the MOEA promulgated the aforementioned 3 Rules on December 26 and 31, 2001 respectively, which would take effect as from those dates. A full copy of these Rules can be found at the following websites:
Explanations and details of these Rules can also be found in Volume 9, Issue 22 of IPR News.
Electronic Signatures Law Promulgated on November 14, 2001
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had drafted the Electronic Signatures Law, with a view to building a secure and reliable electronic transactions environment and promoting E-Commerce, after reviewing international legal examples and principles of such international organizations as the UN and European Union. The Law will legally regulate electronic signatures and electronic documents, as well as establish a management system for electronic accreditation entities. The Law has been promulgated by order of the President on November 14, 2001, with the enforcement date to be determined by the Executive Yuan. The main legal principles for the Law include technology neutrality, freedom of contract, and market orientation principles. There are 17 articles to the Law, covering the following main issues:
1.Stipulate the where a legal act or legal rule should be done in writing, it may be done in an electronic document form if complying with certain elements; and the validity of electronic documents made in accordance with these elements;
2.Where the law requires an original document to be provided, an electronic document made in accordance with certain criteria may be provided as an alternative.
3.Where the law requires written form of documents to be maintained, it may be maintained in the form of electronic documents complying with certain criteria.
4.Bases for determining issuing date and location of electronic correspondence and transaction records.
5.Where the law requires signature and chop, electronic signatures made in accordance with certain criteria may be used as an alternative.
6.Criteria for making digital signatures.
7.Certification authorities must publicly disclose their bases for certification practice.
8.Relevant penalty provisions.
9.Dealing with certification authorities who cease providing services.
10.Certification authorities' liabilities for damages.
11.Validity of certification issued by foreign certification authorities.
Full explanations, legislative principles and full document of this Law can be found at the MOEA website at: