Edited by Stefan Luginbuehl and Peter Ganea
Chapter 21: INTRODUCTION TO THE PATENT SYSTEM IN CHINESE TAIPEI (TAIWAN)
The shelf life of a statutory IP law in Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) is rather short. So far, the Trademark Act has been revised 13 times in 84 years, with an average life cycle of 7.2 years. The Patent Act has been revised 11 times in 70 years, with an average life cycle of 6.3 years, whereas the Copyright Act has seen 16 revisions in 86 years with an average life cycle of only 5.4 years. The frequent amendment of statutory IP laws cannot be explained by the rapid pace of technological change and societal needs alone. The inability of the judiciary to further the development of IP law by clarifying the existing provisions and pointing out the new direction of IP law, and the activism on the part of the IP Office (TIPO) and its technocrats to alleviate pressure from the US by constantly revising IP laws also play an important role. The activism of technocrats pre-empts the judiciary and destabilizes the IP statutory law itself. As a consequence, the development of IP law in Taiwan is largely equivalent to ‘new amendment’ of statutory IP law. The proper balance between statutory IP law and adjudicated IP law has yet to be struck. The IP technocrats need to wait patiently and the judiciary needs to decide cases on their merit and substantively solve the legal disputes. A recent empirical study of decisions on patent adjudicated by the IP Court from 1 July 2008 to 31 October 2010 shows a disturbingly low success rate.
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