AmCham Representatives Meet with U.S. Patent Trademark Office Officials

Two ranking officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – Senior Counsel for China IP Policy Michael Mangelson and Senior Quality Advisor Anthony Caputo – paid a visit to AmCham Taipei on November 8  to learn more about intellectual property issues currently faced by companies operating in Taiwan. The meeting was attended by representatives from six Chamber member companies, including IPR Committee Co-chair Peter Dernbach of Winkler Partners.

During the meeting, attendees discussed digital piracy and copyright issues, especially regarding the dissemination in Taiwan of pirated content hosted on servers in other jurisdictions. Another major topic was the protection of trade secrets in light of the number of Taiwanese engineers being poached by Chinese tech companies.

Mangelson mentioned that during the 1980s, he had been an intern at a law firm in Worldwide House, the same building that houses the AmCham Taipei office. The firm, Huang & Partners, was also the former workplace of Tsai Ing-wen, who was a partner specializing in international economic law.

New Co-chair Awards – Recognizing Impactful Leadership

Many of the most important people at AmCham Taipei are the committee co-chairs. They are the ones who lead the organization’s 25 industry committees – the backbone of our advocacy mission that aims to make Taiwan’s business environment more open, innovative and prosperous. Each year, the co-chairs spend hours and hours writing e-mails, briefing policymakers, holding meetings and molding a consensus with their peers on issues that are vital to our businesses.

The Board of Governors has decided it’s time to formally recognize the most impactful co-chairs. With recommendations from the AmCham staff, the Board will select two co-chairs who will receive awards at the Annual General Meeting on Nov. 19. The selection criteria will include:

  • Catalyzing activity with regular committee meetings, strategic goals, innovative tactics and efficient execution.
  • Engaging with Taiwanese and U.S. policymakers on a regular basis and achieving results through substantive engagement.
  • Organizing events that raise the organization’s profile and advance the mission.
  • Joining the CEO Mission to Washington.

Fostering Innovation through Community Development

Taiwan is currently facing issues such as shrinking population, aging society, low birth rates, and an imbalance in urban and rural development. In order to address these issues, the Taiwanese government has launched the Regional Revitalization Program.

Every year AmCham Taipei’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee hosts a forum to enhance members’ understanding of topics relating to social programs and environmental concerns. To raise awareness about the Regional Revitalization Program, the committee held a forum entitled “Fostering Innovation through Community Development” at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on October 2. The event was sponsored by JTI Taiwan.

This year experts from the Lovely Taiwan Foundation; Taichung Township Long-term Care Foundation; and Wu Wei Wu, a learning center for socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers in remote villages in Hualien County, were invited to discuss current trends regarding corporate social responsibility and how the private sector can help promote regional revitalization.

Li Ying-ping of the Lovely Taiwan Foundation recalled that following the 2009 typhoon that devastated mountainous areas of Taitung County, villagers originally were hesitant to accept assistance from the foundation, viewing it solely as an organization that hosts music festivals and other events. After talking with residents, the foundation came up with the idea of creating a platform to promote local culture, music, and arts and crafts. Together with the community, the foundation worked to raise funds to convert a dormitory facility for Taiwan Railway employees into what became the “Tiehua Music Village.”

Over the years, Tiehua Music Village has attracted international attention, especially after a number of famous artists and musicians performed at the park. In its approach to regional regeneration, Tiehua Music Village sets an excellent example for other communities.

Other speakers at the forum were Gu Yu-jun, professor of environmental studies at National Dong Hwa University and a volunteer worker and promoter of the Wu Wei Wu, and Lin Yi-ying, program leader of Taichung Township Long-term Care, who serves as an advocate for improving long-term care issues for the indigenous population in Taiwan.

Lin shared her experience working to improve long-term care issues for elderly members of the Atayal ethnic group. Besides serving as a volunteer caregiver, Lin also provides training courses for local residents interested in becoming a caregiver. She stressed the psychological rewards of seeing patients recover and helping improve the living conditions of indigenous families.

In a panel moderated by AmCham’s CSR Committee Co-chair Fupei Wang, the speakers discussed some of the challenges non-profits face due to the relatively small size of the Taiwan market – from obtaining funding to choosing the right partners – as well as difficulties posed by various laws and regulations. They urged the authorities and the private sector to work closely together to integrate resources to promote social innovation and economic development.

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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.

Exploring Solutions to Taiwan’s Aging Society

In 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior reported that 14% of the island’s population was over the age of 65. That rate is rapidly increasing and is expected to reach 20% or higher by 2026, which could make Taiwan the world’s first “super-aged society.” Such a prospect is alarming, given the vast amount of energy and resources that would be needed to provide adequate care for the growing number of elderly.

In order to address this pressing issue, AmCham Taipei hosted the 2019 Taipei Healthy Aging Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on September 27. The forum brought together representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations, to discuss the various challenges associated with an aging society and how to effectively confront these challenges.

In his keynote speech at the forum, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, a former trauma surgeon, noted that Taiwan’s rate of aging is one of the highest in the world. Within 24 years, the number of Taiwanese over the age of 65 jumped from 7% to 14% of the general population. Ko emphasized the importance of accurate government statistics in formulating good elder-care policy, as well as the need to reform Taiwan’s pension system so as to reduce the length of time that retirees are dependent on public resources.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je

Most of the event’s speakers focused on the dire need for a public health framework that includes holistic, integrated approaches to long-term care for Taiwan’s elderly. Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health, introduced the program that his department has implemented, which incorporates improving and promoting long-term care services, encouraging healthy living practices, and increasing community involvement. This program has created a more aging-friendly environment in Changhua and can serve as a model for other cities and counties across the island.

Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health

Another topic that speakers addressed was the issue of frailty, the physiological decline that the body undergoes as a result of aging, and how it is affected by a number of environmental and social factors that can be controlled by strong healthcare policies. Participants from industry stressed the important role of public-private partnerships in creating effective long-term care solutions that utilize predictive, preventive approaches, rather than the current model of procedural intervention. Vincent Shih, assistant general counsel at Microsoft and general manager of Microsoft Greater China’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs Leadership team, gave a presentation that described how the use of big data and technology can improve the quality of health services for the elderly.

The forum included two discussion panels moderated by Dr. Kang Jaw-Jou, vice president of National Yang-Ming University, and Professor Jennifer Wang, COO of GLORIA and chair of National Cheng-Chi University’s Risk Management and Insurance Department, respectively. Panelists included Dr. Wang Ying-yue, director general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; Dr. Mark Tennyson, executive director and regional head of Value, Access and Policy for Amgen JAPAC; and Tim Shields, general manager and CEO of Cigna Taiwan Life Insurance. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman provided brief closing remarks.

The forum’s platinum sponsor was Amgen. Cigna was the silver sponsor.

From left to right: AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Joyce Lee, General Manager, Amgen Taiwan Limited; Dr. Wang Ying-yue, Director-General of Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; AmCham President William Foreman; and AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Tim Shields General Manager & CEO, Cigna Taiwan Life Assurance Company Ltd.

AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chairs Joyce Lee and Tim Shields, AmCham President William Foreman, speakers, and panelists

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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.

U.S. Data Privacy Law and Legal Trends

Data privacy is becoming more important than ever as new laws are taking effect in the U.S. and across the globe. At the same time, enterprises are expected to meet data protection compliance. Organizations that are non-compliant with laws and regulations surrounding privacy protection are facing tens of millions, even billions of dollars in fines.

As business operations become more data-centric, the need for enhancing data protection and keeping sensitive information secure will continue to increase. To help companies protect against cyber security breaches, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee invited Eric Ubias, Managing Partner of Ubias Law PLLC, to discuss developing legal requirements and preventative measures at a seminar held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

Ubias introduced some of the recent U.S. Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions against large corporations, and outlined the most dangerous types of new attacks being experienced. He explained that Taiwanese companies will continue to feel the effects of increased regulatory focus on data privacy. Whether they are directly facing regulated subjects or are indirectly at risk through third-parties in the value chain, enterprises should take reasonable steps to achieve an increased level of protection. He concluded by offering a few suggestions on implementing cyber security best practices, such as ensuring that written policies and disclosures align with actual practices, conducting vendor diligence reviews, conducting training exercises, and developing incident response plans.

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.

Health Minister Addresses Luncheon Meeting

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung addressed a range of topics related to healthcare policy in Taiwan in his remarks at an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting at the Sherwood Taipei on July 19. The event was jointly sponsored by the Chamber’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, and Public Health Committees.

In his speech, Minister Chen stressed the government’s efforts to strengthen and expand long-term care services for Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, including programs to train more personnel to help care for the elderly and to provide those specialists with better salaries. The objective is to ensure that the aged can live in as much comfort and dignity as possible. He also covered the need for increased emphasis on prevention through vaccination and other means, efforts to reduce doctor-patient disputes through malpractice insurance and no-fault compensation, and the progress achieved in drafting new medical device legislation.

During Q&A, he praised the role of multinational companies in helping to raise standards in healthcare industries and expressed the Ministry’s openness to evaluating how additional forms of therapy, such as chiropractic, can contribute to the health and well-being of the population. Chen said that no single specialty ever has all the answers. Noting that “cooperation is the root of success,” he said he is always willing to listen to other people’s point of view.

Before the luncheon, the Minister met with leaders of the three sponsoring committees. Among the topics discussed were government policy on new-drug funding and procedures for assessing new medical-device technologies. Accompanying the Minister were Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Administration and Director General Wu Shou-Mei of Taiwan’s Food & Drug Administration.

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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. 

Data Visualization in Health Care Seminar

Understanding how to clearly present data is an indispensable skill for today’s medical professionals. On June 19, AmCham Taipei’s Pharmaceuticals & Public Health Joint Committee was grateful to host Ms. Katia Santome, Solution Designer of Z&A Knowledge Solutions for a seminar workshop on transforming complicated medical information into simple, clear, and valuable insight.

With attendees representing various firms from across Taiwan, participants learned to structure and visualize information using a step-by-step ideation process.

Ms. Katia Santome, an expert on information design and data visualization, encouraged participants to think about the broader message behind the data that we are intending to share. “This allows for greater intentionality around the visual we create, helping us to be both consistent and clear with our message,” she said. After deciding on a concrete idea, the presenter should focus on which details to share. This allows for intentional categorizing of ideas, which will help to make the information presented easier to understand. Thirdly, it is important to arrange key details by time, quantity, category or preference, so that the audience can convey concepts in a more simplistic way. Finally, Ms. Santome encouraged participants to focus on the structure of the data that will best demonstrate the relationship between the details. For example, while maps, charts, diagrams, or tables can convey the exact same information, these different data structures give the presentation a completely different feel.

Especially in the medical industry, professionals are tasked with condensing extremely complex and nuanced information into easily digestible concepts for presentation to students and patients alike. Ms. Santome guided participants through group discussions regarding how to make information more accessible and digestible. “Using simple processes, we can successfully condense difficult ideas into easy to understand visuals,” she noted. Ms. Santome left attendees with the following take-home messages:

  • Structure your thoughts: Make sure to get your thoughts and ideas on paper before you begin creating a visualization. Not only will this give your message consistency, but it will help save time when using digital software to create visuals.
  • Remove noise: By using icons, images, and other visual guides instead of text, participants learned how to cut down extraneous information in order to hone readers’ attention on the details that really matter. Removing text, grid-lines, and emphasizing key elements are all great ways to improve the clarity of one’s message.
  • Be creative: Only by thinking outside of the box can we fully re-structure information in meaningful ways for our audience. Using color and animation can truly elevate a presentation, making even the most complicated statistics accessible to everyone.

“Make sure you think through your ideas before you start!” Santome encouraged the audience. “Otherwise, your presentation will appear messy and inconsistent. It’s best to be intentional about how you use data visualizations”.

Feedback on the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. “This was the most practical workshop in the medical field I have attended in my entire life,” commented one participant upon the workshop’s conclusion. “The takeaways are extremely applicable — I learned so much in such a short space of time!”

Discovering Opportunities: Understanding Talent Trends

Technology has changed the dynamic for the recruitment process and workplace environment. As technology empowers employees to access and share information, more is expected from employers. Platforms such as LinkedIn, the world’s largest online website for professional and career networking, is leveraging the unique set of profile information on talent and companies to discover insights to better inform hiring decision makers.

At a recent seminar hosted by AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee and entitled, “Connect to Opportunity,” Jeff Wong, Head of Sales in North Asia at LinkedIn, discussed the latest hiring trends to help HR professionals and business leaders understand recruiting strategies and ways to expand their businesses in the coming years.

In his opening, Wong shared LinkedIn’s current status of 610 million members, 30 companies, and 20 million open jobs in its network. He discussed three macrotrends: 1) AI/Automation, 2) skills gap, and 3) independent work. And he posed the question:”Since the relationship between employers and employees is fundamentally changing, how is the government or your company preparing for the future?”

Wong noted a few trends LinkedIn sees emerging in Taiwan and around the globe:

  • ABC Skills are in demand: Many global tech companies have recently invested in Taiwan and are looking for talent with ABC skills. “ABC skills”: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Cloud Computing).
  • Soft skills are the biggest skills gap: Companies increasingly value soft skill sets, as they are important to the success of companies and cannot be replaced by AI and automation. The top in-demand soft skills in Taiwan are: 1) management, 2) project management, and 3) sales.
  • Rise in independent workers: 12% of Taiwan’s workforce are independent workers, including those working remotely or in shifts. Work flexibility is an important factor and people are taking this into consideration when looking for jobs.
  • Increasing competition: Taiwan is losing more talent than it is gaining, at a ratio of 1:2. The main five countries Taiwan is losing talent to are the U.S., China, Japan, Canada, and Germany. The top five countries Taiwan is gaining talent from are India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Brazil, and United Arab Emirates.

Besides the government’s efforts to attract foreign talent from abroad, Taiwan also needs to consider how to retain its local talent – especially those with R&D and engineering skills. Wong encourages companies in Taiwan to invest in talent development through continuous learning and to make learning accessible for employees.

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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.

Promoting Taiwan as a Liver Health Center of Excellence

Republic of China Vice President Chen Chien-jen, an epidemiologist with a background in researching hepatitis B, was the keynote speaker at the Taiwan Liver Health Forum sponsored by AmCham Taipei together with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). The event, held at the Howard-Plaza Hotel on October 3, was attended by 90-some guests from government, the medical community, and industry.

The idea for the forum grew out of a suggestion by AmCham Taipei’s Public Health Committee in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper that Taiwan strive to become the “Liver Health Center of Excellence in Asia.” Participants in the forum confirmed the validity of that goal, citing Taiwan’s pioneering work in past decades in controlling hepatitis B through vaccination and the government’s progress toward eradicating hepatitis C in the coming decade in line with World Health Organization objectives.

Hepatitis is endemic in this part of the world, and is considered a major health risk because it often leads to liver cancer. Among the points made by speakers at the forum were the importance of increasing the amount of screening conducted in Taiwan for hepatitis C. Although the effort would lead to higher healthcare expenditures in the near term, in the long-run it will substantially save costs due to reduced hospitalization and mortality, as well as heightened productivity.

Speakers also called for further expansion of clinical trials in Taiwan, more public education to raise awareness regarding liver health, and workplace programs to encourage more screening.

Opening remarks at the forum were delivered by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen and MOHW Deputy Minister Ho Chi-kung. In his half-hour keynote address, Vice President used a PowerPoint presentation to brief the audience on Taiwan’s past successes in combating liver disease. Other speakers were Dr. Kao Jia-horng, president of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver; Dr. Pwu Raoh-fang, director of the MOHW National Hepatitis C Program Office; Dr. Homie Razavi, managing director of the U.S. Center for Disease Analysis; and Dr. Chiu Chang-fang, vice president of China Medical University Hospital.

Two panel discussions were moderated by Ramanathan Velayutham, Taiwan general manager for AbbVie Biopharmaceutical, and Pang Lai-li, Taiwan managing director for Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), respectively. Aside from the speakers, the panelists included Dr. Lee Po-chang, director-general of the National Health Insurance Administration; and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Sophia Lee. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman gave closing remarks.

Platinum sponsors for the event were Abbvie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead Sciences. MSD was a silver sponsor.

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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.

Amendments to the Company Act

Recognizing the need to enhance Taiwan’s business environment to stay competitive in the global market, the Tsai administration has enacted a series of ambitious policy changes and legal amendments aimed at stimulating innovation and growth. Most fundamental to these goals are the sweeping changes made to the Company Act, Taiwan’s basic law governing business operations, that were passed by the Legislative Yuan in a late session on July 5 and promulgated into law on August 1.

To help AmCham members and guests better understand the scale and implications of these amendments, AmCham Taipei’s Tax Committee invited Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), to host an explanatory seminar in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on September 13. Chen and the MOEA worked closely not only with the Legislative Yuan but also the private sector, including business professionals, legal experts, and academics, on enacting the amendments. Chen noted that 148 articles to the Company Act were amended, with at least four articles deleted and replaced.

From left to right: Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and AmCham Taipei’s Insurance Committee Co-Chair Dylan Tyson, President & CEO, Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc.

Key amendments are intended to:

  • Enhance business transparency by clarifying reporting obligations and abolishing anonymous “bearer shares.”
  • Improve the environment for startups by permitting the issuance of non-par-value shares, as well as permitting multiple distribution of cash dividends throughout the year.
  • Enable greater flexibility in business operations by furthering the gradual digitalization of documentation, increasing the range of rewards possible for talent, and reducing restrictions on directorships.
  • Strengthen shareholder protections by amending rules on shareholder meetings and the nomination of directors.
  • Improve corporate governance through enhancing disclosure requirements and access to shareholder rosters.
  • Allow the registration of company names in English so as to help foster international business operations and branding.

Chen added that the MOEA is currently in the process of developing the regulatory framework that will see these amendments enter into force. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

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

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

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.