Strengthening Intellectual Property Protection

Taiwan’s economic growth has long benefited from substantial foreign direct investment, especially since Taiwan is an important hub in the high-technology sector. In an effort to continue attracting foreign investment and collaboration, particularly on advanced technologies, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been working continuously to optimize IP protection and establish a sound IP environment.

AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee invited Hong Shu-min, TIPO’s Director-General, to share with attendees TIPO’s initiatives to improve IP protection. The Chinese-language luncheon program was entitled “不斷前進的智慧財產局” (“Continuously Strengthen IPR Protection”) and was held on June 22 at the Sherwood Taipei.

Director-General Hong’s presentation noted that the volume of patent application numbers had been in decline over the past few years. Last year, however, TIPO reported a 2% increase over the previous year, receiving a total of 73,791 patent applications. Besides giving an overview of Taiwan’s patent and trademark application status, Hong cited TIPO’s efforts to reduce patent backlogs, improve examination quality, and strengthen trade secret protection.

From left to right: Hong Shu-min, Director General of TIPO, Ministry of Economic Affairs and AmCham Intellectual Property and Licensing Committee Co-Chair Peter J. Dernbach, Partner, Winkler Partners

The Director-General explained various programs supported by the government to assist the private sector with IPR protection:

  • Training and coursework designed to help companies with application procedures, and consultation services to help companies develop corporate IP strategies.
  • The operation of regional service offices in Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung to provide guidance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • A one-stop shop website developed to educate and inform SMEs about protecting their IP through online resources.
  • A platform that provides information on Southeast Asian countries’ Intellectual Property Rights, as well as guidance to companies looking to expand into emerging markets.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Power Emails: How to get twice done in half the time

E-mails are supposed to be fast and easy, but in the modern workplace they can easily become a hassle. With limited time but ever accumulating messages, time is wasted and misunderstandings arise when online communication is not conducted properly. Managers and employees need to fully know how to utilize the power of e-mail, whether it is through adequate software training, email writing skills, or identifying the right type of communication.

On June 15th, AmCham Taipei invited William Zyzo, Managing Director of Z&A Knowledge Solutions and Advisor to AmCham Taipei’s Advanced Learning Lab, to the Lincoln Room to lead the seminar entitled “POWER Emails: How to get twice done in half the time”. To boost teamwork and involvement amongst attendees, Zyzo integrated e-mail style workshops and encouraged dynamic discussion regarding what types of communication guests use in their workplace.

Agenda included:

  1. How to manage the time-eating beast called email
  2. How to systematically improve your writing quality
  3. How to use the POWER Framework using actual business cases
  4. Where to get more help after the seminar

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

2018 Messages to Washington

Following release each year of the Taiwan White PaperAmCham Taipei sends a delegation to Washington D.C. for what is called the “Washington Doorknock.” This year’s Doorknock will take place June 18-22, and will involve more than 40 meetings with U.S. government officials from the executive and legislative branch offices, think tanks, and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. It is always an excellent opportunity for AmCham to provide briefings on the state of the business climate in Taiwan and to learn about the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Taiwan and the Asian region.

The Messages to Washington section of the Taiwan White Paper outlines the essential points AmCham wishes to share with the U.S. government, as shown in the accompanying infographicDownload the complete Taiwan White Paper.


AmCham Meets with Washington Visitors

Over breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on June 13, members of the AmCham Taipei leadership met with Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs Marie Royce and other U.S. dignitaries who were in Taiwan for the dedication ceremony of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) office complex.

Besides Assistant Secretary Royce, the visitors included Caroline Casagrande, Special Advisor to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Washington-based AIT Chairman James Moriarty; AIT Washington Managing Director John Norris; and State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Office of Taiwan Coordination Director Jim Heller. From AIT in Taipei, Economic Chief Jeff Horwitz and Deputy Economic Chief Mike Pignatello also attended.

The group was welcomed by AmCham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang; AmCham President William Foreman; Former AmCham Chairman Thomas H. McGowan; AmCham Board members Joyce Lee, Tim Shields, and Daniel Tseng; AmCham Senior Director Don Shapiro; and AmCham Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs Amy Chang.

The breakfast discussion centered around the recent progress in AmCham’s White Paper issues, as well as opportunities for expanding educational and cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the United States.

Understanding the Impact of U.S. Tax Reform

The recently enacted 2017 Tax Cut and Reform Bill, approved December 22, 2017, has substantially impacted taxpayers and domestic companies in the United States as well as operational planning for multinational corporations. While the new law reduces corporate and individual tax rates, the policy comes with a wide range of complexities in financial reporting.

To ensure companies are prepared to account for changes in the tax code related to the bill, AmCham Taipei’s Tax Committee invited Peter Su, US Tax / Tax & Legal Services Partner / Managing Director of PwC Taiwan, to a Chinese-language luncheon program entitled, “美國稅改之影響初步評估” (Assessment of Initial Impact in US Tax Reform)  held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. Su discussed the initial impact of the US tax reform, impact of US tax reform on Taiwan businessmen, and individuals in the US.

From left to right: Peter Su, CA CPA/TX Bar (USA), US Tax / Tax & Legal Services, Partner / Managing Director, PwC Taiwan; AmCham Tax Committee Co-Chair Stella Lai, Public Affairs / Government Affairs Consultant, Dell (Taiwan) B.V. Taiwan Branch; AmCham President William Foreman

*This event was conducted in Mandarin. 本次活動將以中文進行。

When: June 8, 2018 (12 PM – 2 PM)

Where: Grand Hyatt Taipei, 2F, The Residence

Speaker: Mr. Peter Su, CA CPA/TX Bar (USA), US Tax / Tax & Legal Services, Partner / Managing Director, PwC Taiwan

美國總統Donald J. Trump (以下簡稱川普)於 2017年12月22日簽署減稅1.5兆美元的稅改法案,新法除調降所得稅率、修正所得來源認定判斷條件及取消企業之最低稅負制等, 另新增多項反避稅以及防止稅基侵蝕條款。此次稅改是美國三十年來規模最大的減稅調整,不僅影響美國國內企業,亦影響集團跨國企業之營運規劃,包含歐盟及中國等世界主要經濟體皆積極評估其對各國經濟環境之衝擊與影響。不論台商是否已在美國投資皆須留意,審慎檢視美國稅改之因應策略,以便即時調整美國及全球營運佈局。

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Central Bank Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and Digital Cash

Several central banks around the world, including the Bank of England and the central banks of Sweden and Uruguay, have been studying the idea of introducing central bank digital currencies (CBDC) as a means of moving toward a cashless future. According to Wikipedia, “central bank digital currency is different from ‘digital currency’ (or virtual currency and cryptocurrency), which are not issued by the state and lack the legal tender status declared by the government.” As legal tender, CBDC could compete with commercial bank deposits and challenge the existing system in which only a fraction of bank deposits are backed by actual cash on hand.

To help explain the potential percussions for the financial sector, the AmCham Technology Committee sponsored a presentation on June 9 in AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room. Antony Lewis, Singapore Director of Research at blockchain software firm R3, spoke on “Central Bank Digital Currencies, Blockchains, and Digital Cash,” addressing the prospective challenges for financial regulators and the potential advantages that the advent of digital cash could bring, including more secure settlement methods.

From left to right: Carl Wegner, Managing Director, R3 / Head of AsiaAntony Lewis, Director of Research, R3 / Central Bank Digital Currency lead; AmCham Technology Committee Co-chair Revital Shpangental Golan, CEO, Anemone Ventures;

AmCham’s 13 Issues for Special Attention

During the preparation of the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, AmCham Taipei’s committees reviewed and rated the status of issues raised in the 2017 White Paper. Based on a five-tier scale, 21 items were placed in Category 2, meaning “Showing Good Progress.” Of the 21 items, eight were identified by the committees as having strong enough progress that the issue did not need to be raised again. The other 13 issues rated in Category 2 reappear in this year’s White Paper. 

Although all of the 76 suggestions raised in this year’s Taiwan White Paper are important and deserve consideration, AmCham Taipei recommends that the authorities pay special attention to these re-raised 13 issues below. Committee experts are confident that the positive momentum from this past year’s collaboration with the Taiwan government through the National Development Council will continue, hopefully enabling these 13 issues to be fully resolved.

AmCham Taipei has put together an infographic summarizing these Category 2 issues, spanning across 8 industries from Banking to Travel & Tourism.


AmCham Taipei Launches the 2018 Taiwan White Paper

The 2018 edition of AmCham Taipei’s annual Taiwan White Paper was released on June 6 with a news conference followed by a membership luncheon, both at the Regent Taipei hotel.

The news conference, which generated wide coverage, was attended by representatives from 32 local and international print and broadcast media organizations. Chamber President William Foreman opened the event by explaining the significance of the White Paper. He noted that the purpose is not merely to try to solve problems affecting AmCham member companies, but more importantly to help “Taiwan become more prosperous and more successful.” Since most of those member companies are deeply rooted in Taiwan – many have been operating in Taiwan for decades – Taiwan’s success and their success are intertwined.

AmCham Chairman Albert Chang then provided the journalists with a PowerPoint presentation of the highlights of the 2018 Taiwan White Paper:

  • A record high of 11 committee issues resolved (compared to zero last year), with 21 other issues showing good progress.
  • Unprecedented cooperation from the National Development Council thanks to the personal efforts of Minister Chen Mei-ling.
  • The selection of 13 priority issues for attention in the coming year. These are issues, carried over from last year, that were rated as showing good progress and should require only a bit more effort to finalize.
  • A series of broad-based suggestions on steps Taiwan should take to enhance its attractiveness for foreign investment.

The presentations were repeated at the luncheon, which was attended by some 120 AmCham members and guests. The guest of honor was National Development Council (NDC) Minister Chen Mei-ling, who received the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government and expressed her thanks to AmCham for its “valuable suggestions that have made an important contribution to the improvement of Taiwan’s business environment.” In her remarks, she also disclosed recent progress in several areas of concern to AmCham member companies:

  • Working-hour conditions under the Labor Standards Act. Similar to the recommendation in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, the NDC has suggested to the Ministry of Labor that supervisory and administrative personnel or professionals with a certain salary level be exempt from the current legal restrictions on working hours.
  • Implementation of a member-choice labor pension scheme to allow those with greater risk appetite to seek higher returns. Minister Chen said the government would phase in this approach, starting with the young generation.
  • Providing legal recognition to the chiropractic profession (the longest standing White Paper issue). Chen said the government is adopting an open-minded approach, looking for a win-win solution.

For a fuller discussion of the White Paper contents and Minister Chen’s luncheon remarks, see the Topics Online website.