Taiwan Patent Act Amendment Passed Legislative Readings

On 29 November 2011, Taiwan passed the draft amendment to its Patent Act after three readings at the Legislative Yuan.  The amendment, considered a major overhaul of the law since its last revision in 2003, involves a total of 159 articles, with 108 articles amended, 36 added and 15 deleted. Some of the changes brought by the amendment are: 
  • allowing reinstatement of rights for unintentionally missing priority rights at filing or failing to pay issue fee and patent annuities;
  • relaxing the timing to file divisional applications up to 30 days after grant;
  • removing the 2-year threshold requirement for applying for patent term extensions for pharmaceutical and agrochemical related inventions;
  • stipulating compulsory licenses to produce pharmaceutical products for export to developing or least-developed countries to solve their public health crisis;
  • requiring subjective intent for damage awards; and
  • admitting partial designs, derivative designs, design of articles in a set, icons and graphic user’s interface (GUI) as patentable subject matter.

The date the Patent Act takes effect, though estimated to be one year after its promulgation, will be decided by the Executive Yuan to allow different sectors to gain a thorough understanding of the new system and adapt to its operation.