22 4 月 2019 Taiwan Legal Update: Amendments to Patent Act and E-payment Aboard
Amendments to Patent Act Extend Protection Term for Design Patents
In response to the adjustment of international intellectual property regulations to and ameliorate the practice of patent examination, the Intellectual Property Office proposed an amendment bill and it was later approved by the Executive Yuan at the end of last year. The amendments to Taiwan’s Patent Act received its third reading by the Legislation Yuan on April 16, 2019.
The main focus of the bill is the extension of the protection term for design patents to 15 years, which is expected to support the development of design industry, robust the island’s patent protection system and enhance the efficiency of reviewing patent application. In short, a total of 17 revised articles were made in this amendment. Highlights are as follows:
- Relaxing divisional patent applications of intentions and utility models for longer duration and wider applicable scope (Article 34, 46, 71, 107, 119 & 120)
Under the previous act, divisional patent applications, only allowable for eligible inventions, shall be filed within 30 days after the original patent application is approved. The new amendment relaxes the effective application time limit to 3 months upon receiving the approval or reexamination decision. Not only inventions but utility models are subject to this relaxation.
- Improving the efficiency of patent invalidation proceedings (Article 73, 74&77)
To avoid parties continuously complementing reasons, evidence or making corrections during the procedure and may result in undue delay, the revised provision required the grounds and evidence for invalidation must be submitted within 3 months. Any submission after the 3-month period shall not be taken into consideration. In addition, the patentee may apply for corrections during the invalidation procedure.
- Amending regulation for filing a post-grant amendment of utility model patents (Article 118)
Since the patent application for utility models are conducted in formality examination in the first place, the provision not only adjusted the time limit for post-grant amendment of utility model patents but regulated that the amendment shall be rendered only after substantive examination.
- Extending the term of design patents from 12 to 15 years since the filing date (Article 135）
Owing to the fact that Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs set a term of 15 years as the validity term of a design application, the new patent law revised the validity term, which is 12 to 15 years from the date of filing, to be in line with international standard.
- Solving the problem of insufficient storage space for patent files（Article 143）
In the past, patent files must be permanently stored in the office of the competent authority; more than 2.1 million files have been accumulated to date. Due to insufficient storage space and following international practices, those without preservation value can be deleted to control the preservation of patent-related records.
FSC to Allow Taiwanese Customers Using E-payment Aboard
Recently, the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) released an interpretive rule pursuant to Article 4I(6) of “Regulations Governing Cooperating with or Assisting Foreign Institutions in Engaging in Activities Associated with Electronic Payment Business within the Territory of the Republic of China”. The interpretation stipulated that electronic payment institutions providing customers in foreign countries with the service of collecting funds through an E-payment account for real transactions conducted at physical channels belong to other related activities approved by the competent authority. That is to say, the FSC has opened online to offline (O2O) outbound business to apply for service that provides Taiwanese customers using e-payment aboard.
Previously, foreign e-payment business could provide physical channels for real transactions that allow overseas customers to use electronic payment in authorized stores in Taiwan. For instance, tourists from Mainland China could use Alipay and WeChat pay when visiting the island. These O2O Inbound business must be granted by FSC in advance.
As electronic payments such as Line Pay become more and more popular in Taiwan, FSC decided to turn green light on O2O Outbound business which benefits customers from using e-payment service, linked with Taiwanese account, in foreign countries.
According to the deputy of Banking Bureau under FSC, Li-qun Wang, the policy is initiated by the suggestion of the e-payment industry. After the revelation of administrative order, e-payment business could cooperate with their foreign counterpart and send the application to FSC. The following documents shall be enclosed with the application.
(1) The feasibility analysis explaining the reason for the electronic payment being used in that specific overseas region, the local applicable laws and regulations, and whether the plan meets the local requirements.
(2) The legal opinions issued by the local government of the overseas institution; if there is no local competent authority that supervises the O2O service, the local lawyer may issue a legal opinion on the implement of e-payment instead.
After obtaining the approval from FSC, e-payment business shall properly introduce measures to protect the right of costumes and to solve the disputes in the written agreement.
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