Dual rights for one inventive idea


Crystal J. Chen and Candy K.Y. Chen

Five months after the new Patent Act came into effect, the Legislative Yuan swiftly passed another bill on further amendment to several disputable provisions of the new act (the partial amendment).

The partial amendment was promulgated and enacted on May 31, 2013, in the hope that it can eliminate any foreseeable impact to innovators and future patent applicants.

The utility model patent is one category of patent protection in Taiwan, and involves the protection of an invention creation relating to the shape or structure of an article. Since there is no substantive examination for a utility model application, it typically takes only six months from filing to grant. It is therefore a favourite tool used by many small and medium-sized enterprises to obtain speedy and cheaper patent protection for less technical innovations.

However, some innovations relating to the shape or structure of an article may also qualify for an invention patent. In order to avoid double patenting, applicants previously had to weigh the benefits and choose between a utility model patent associated with a patent right that is granted relatively quickly but that also expires sooner (10 years), and an invention patent with a longer exclusive term (20 years).

Taiwan, Patent, IP,