FAQ - Chinese Taipei (TW)

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Questions

General information about patents in Chinese Taipei

From filing to grant

After grant

Sources of information

Answers

General information about patents in Chinese Taipei


What types of industrial property rights exist in Chinese Taipei?

Taiwanese industrial property rights include invention patents, utility model patents, design patents and trade marks. Patents of addition were abolished in 2001.

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How long are the terms of protection of Taiwanese invention patents or utility model patents?

The term for a Taiwanese invention patent is 20 years from the filing date; the term for a utility model patent is 10 years from the filing date.

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What inventions cannot be patented at the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO)?

Under Article 24 of the Taiwan Patent Act, the following are not patentable at the TIPO:

  • animals, plants, and essentially biological processes for the production of animals and plants, except processes for producing micro-organisms
  • diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals
  • inventions which are contrary to public order or morality

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Can computer software be patented in Chinese Taipei?

Yes. The TIPO will grant software-related invention patents, provided the claimed invention fulfils the general patentability requirements.

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Is Chinese Taipei a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

No, Chinese Taipei (TW) is not a party to any international patent-related treaty such as the PCT or the Paris Convention. It is therefore not possible to file applications under these treaties.

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From filing to grant


As a foreign applicant, do I need to appoint a professional representative in Chinese Taipei?

Yes. If you do not have a residential or business address in Chinese Taipei, you must appoint a TIPO-registered professional representative to represent you in the patent grant procedure there.

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What language must I use for a Taiwanese patent application?

Under Article 25 of the Taiwan Patent Act, Taiwanese patent applications (title, claims, description, abstract and drawings) can be filed in a language other than Chinese. However, a Chinese translation printed in traditional Chinese characters must be submitted within a specified period. According to the Implementation Regulations Governing Foreign-language Patent Applications, the languages currently accepted are Arabic, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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What is the term of priority in Chinese Taipei?

The priority term in Chinese Taipei is 12 months; partial and multiple priorities are possible. Domestic priorities were introduced in 2001. In 2013, the deadline for submitting the priority document for patent applications was extended from four months from the filing date to within 16 months from the earliest priority date. It is now also possible to apply for reinstatement if the applicant inadvertently failed to claim priority.

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Can I claim priority for an application filed in Chinese Taipei?

Yes. Since Chinese Taipei joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2002, the priority of a Taiwanese application can be claimed for international applications in WTO member states and vice versa. Priority can also be claimed in countries which have reciprocity agreements with Chinese Taipei.

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Does Chinese Taipei allow divisional applications?

Yes. Patent applications which involve two or more inventions may be divided into separate divisional applications, at the request of either the TIPO or the applicant. A divisional application must be filed within thirty days of receipt of the notice of grant. A divisional application may only be filed before the re-examination decision on the original application has been taken. It is accorded the filing date of the parent application.

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Can I submit third-party observations on a Taiwanese patent application?

Yes. Third-party observations were introduced in the amended Patent Act which entered into force on 1 January 2013. After publication of the application and before its grant, any person may now present to TIPO a written statement, together with relevant evidence, stating why the patent should not be granted.

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Can I submit a request for a time limit extension with TIPO?

Yes, you can request an extension of a time limit set by an examiner if you are unable to perform certain acts or procedures within the relevant time frame. You must give reasons for your request. Statutory time limits can only be extended in specific cases which are stipulated in the Patent Act.

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Can I apply for an invention patent and a utility model at the same time in Chinese Taipei?

Yes. Provisions for the dual filing of patents and utility models were introduced in the amended Patent Act which entered into force on 1 January 2013. One application must be selected and the other abandoned upon notice of grant. If the patent is selected, the utility model will be deemed non-existent ab initio.

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Can Taiwanese utility models be converted into patents?

Yes they can (and vice versa). For utility model applications, conversion is possible within thirty days from the date of the decision refusing the original application. Conversion of patent applications into utility models may be requested within two months from the decision of refusal. Once a grant decision has been taken, conversion is no longer possible. The filing date of the original application will be taken as the filing date of the converted application.

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Can I request that my Taiwanese application be published earlier than 18 months from the filing date?

Yes, you can request its early publication from the TIPO.

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Can I withdraw my Taiwanese application before it is published?

Yes. If the patent application is withdrawn within 15 months from the filing (or priority) date, it will not be published. If withdrawal is requested later than that, the application will be published if the preparations for publication are already under way, but all subsequent procedures will be discontinued.

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How soon after filing a Taiwanese application do I need to file a request for examination?

Requests for substantive examination must be filed within three years of the filing date. Otherwise the application is deemed withdrawn.

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What is the time limit for responding to official actions in Chinese Taipei?

Generally 90 days, for foreign applicants. If necessary, and on request, the TIPO may grant extensions of no more than 180 days in total. However, this time limit is not statutory, but set by the examiner case-by-case, so exceptionally deadlines may in fact be either shorter or longer.

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Are Taiwanese invention patents and utility model patents subject to substantive examination?

Invention patents are substantively examined (for novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability) in Chinese Taipei.

Since 1 July 2004, utility model patents are examined only for compliance with formal requirements, and no longer substantively. However, once a utility model application has been published, anyone may ask the TIPO for a technical evaluation report which may serve as a technical reference or as a basis for revocation litigation.

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After grant


When do I have to pay annual fees in Chinese Taipei?

The annual fee for the year in which the Taiwanese patent is granted must be paid on the publication date. Subsequent annual fees are due yearly in advance. The annual fees for several years may be paid in a lump sum.

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Is there a grace period for paying annual fees in Chinese Taipei?

Yes, there is a six-month grace period if you miss the deadline for paying an annual fee.

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Can a lapsed Taiwanese patent be restored?

Yes. If you inadvertently fail to pay the annual fees, reinstatement of the patent is possible by paying triple the amount of the annuity within one year from expiry of the six-month grace period for payment.

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Can I request an extension of the patent term in Chinese Taipei?

Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are known as "patent term extensions" in Chinese Taipei. You can apply for an extension (of a maximum of five years) if your patent is for a pharmaceutical, an agrochemical, or a process for their preparation, and marketing the patented invention is subject to governmental approval. Only one extension is possible.

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How can I challenge a granted Taiwanese patent?

The opposition system was abolished in 2004, and now the only way to a challenge a granted patent is through the invalidation procedure. Invalidation can be requested by anyone at any time. After the end of the patent term, however, only an interested party can request invalidation. Partial invalidation was introduced in the amended Patent Act which entered into force on 1 January 2013. Invalidation ex officio by TIPO was abolished in 2013.

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Sources of information


Where can I search Taiwanese patent information in English?

You can search for patents, utility models and designs via the English interface of the free Taiwan Patent Search (TWPAT) database hosted by the TIPO.

Trade marks can be searched in a separate database on the TIPO's English website.

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Where can I find English abstracts of Taiwanese patent documents?

English abstracts of Taiwanese documents can be retrieved together with their bibliographic data from the TIPO's free Taiwan Patent Search (TWPAT).

TWPAT database

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Where can I get an English machine translation of a Taiwanese patent or utility model document?

Currently, the TIPO's free databases do not include an English machine-translation function. However, full-text data of Taiwanese patents and utility models can be retrieved via the TIPO's Chinese-language database and then translated using a free machine-translation tool.

A step-by-step guide on how to retrieve this data is available on our website.

Searching in databases – Chinese Taipei

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Where can I find legal-status information on Taiwanese patents in English?

Basic legal-status information can be retrieved from the English-language version of the free Taiwan Patent Search (TWPAT) database hosted by the TIPO. For tips on finding up-to-date legal-status information via the Chinese interface of the TWPAT database, please consult the search guide on our website, Searching in databases – Chinese Taipei.

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Where can I find official information about fees in Chinese Taipei?

Information on fees can be found under "Regulations of Patent Fees" in the "Laws and Regulations" section of the TIPO's English-language website.

TIPO website

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Can I access the documents in the file of a Taiwanese patent application?

Yes. Online file inspection is possible via TIPONet, using either an English or Chinese interface. You can access the files for published patent applications from 2003 onwards, provided no patent has yet been granted or office action issued. Utility models are now also covered, for applications filed as from 2 May 2012.

Most official communications are available only in facsimile form and in Chinese. However, a machine translation function can provide English versions of the list of documents in the file and of any documents available as text data.

To access the English interface, click on "File Wrapper Search" under "Patent" on TIPO's English homepage. A step-by-step guide on how to access files in TIPONet is available on our website.

TIPO's English homepage

Searching in databases – Chinese Taipei

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Where can I find information on Taiwanese patent agents?

The Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) has a regional group for Chinese Taipei and its website is available in English and Chinese.

An English version of the Patent Attorney Act is available under "Laws and Regulations" on the TIPO's website.

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