In March 2015, the Taiwan Patent Office (TIPO) added cross-references for cases of dual filing of patents and utility models to their public search system TWPAT. Under the new Patent Act (in force since January 2013), an applicant may file a patent and a utility model for the same invention on the same day. In such cases, the bibliographic data of the patent now shows the number of the utility model which was filed at the same time, and the database entry of the utility model shows a reference to the patent application. There is also a remark that the utility model will lapse on the publication date of the granted patent, as double patenting is not allowed.
Furthermore, TIPO has recently added a direct link to the online file inspection tool in TIPONet from its Taiwan Patent Search (TWPAT) database. Users can access the corresponding file by clicking on a button displayed with the bibliographic data of the patent or utility model. Online file inspection in TIPONet is available for patents from 2003 onwards, under the condition that the first office action was issued on or after 1 March 2011. For utility models, the files of all applications filed on or after 1 May 2012 are included.
Currently, both new features are only available in the Chinese version of TWPAT. Step-by-step search guides explaining in detail how to search this and other information in TWPAT are available on the EPO's Asian patent information webpages.