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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.

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.

2017 Trade Secrets Act Forum

Taiwan has had Trade Secrets legislation on the books since 1996, but the law has been strengthened substantially in recent years in response to the increased number of cases of theft of confidential commercial information.

On December 6, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee and Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee jointly sponsored a seminar at the Westin Taipei to review the latest trends in trade secrets protection. Specialist Chen Hsin-ru (陳信儒) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office opened the session with a definition of what constitutes a Trade Secret, followed by describing the detailed steps involved in filing a lawsuit if one’s trade secretshave been infringed upon.

Citing real-life cases as examples, Prosecutor Liu Yi-jun (劉怡君) from the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office shared the process of investigation, including what evidence was required and what could help reinforce a case, as well as what corporations can do to prevent the violation of trade secrets. Special Investigator Pan Ji-xiang (潘季翔) from New Taipei City’s Investigation Bureau concluded the discourse with enforcement and litigation statistics.

From left to right: Speaker Special Investigator Pan of the New Taipei City Investigation Bureau; Speaker Specialist Chen of the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office; Speaker Prosecutor Liu of the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office; and AmCham IP&L Committee co-chair Peter J. Dernbach of the Winkler Partners law firm.

During the Q&A session, attendees raised numerous questions about the coverage of the Act and its enforcement. This seminar helped build a communications bridge between the business and law enforcement communities in the hope of enhancing regulative efficiency and strengthening the protection of valuable intellectual properties.

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.

Strategic IP Considerations on Industry Innovations in the Digital Era

Cloud-fueled digital transformation is driving innovation, touching every individual and industry, in what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Companies around the world are racing to transform their business and succeed in the new digital age, or else face the risk of disruption.

AmCham Taipei’s IP&L Committee invited Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President & Chief IP Counsel of Microsoft Corp., to deliver a presentation on “Strategic IP Considerations on Industry Innovations in the Digital Era” at a luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental Taipei on October 23.

Andersen referred to Johnson Controls as an example of a company that uses sensors from a building or environment to generate data such as temperature, humidity, and air quality so as to provide services based on customers’ needs. Using Azure, a cloud computing platform and service solution by Microsoft, Johnson Controls can store valuable data from connected buildings in a centralized computer or cloud server without having to worry about service interruption.

From left to right: AmCham Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee Co-chair Peter J. Dernbach, Partner of Winkler Partners; Speaker Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President & Chief IP Counsel of Microsoft Corporation; AmCham President Andrea Wu; Chris Neumeyer Special Counsel, Duane Morris & Selvam Taiwan, Foreign Legal Affairs Law Firm; and AmCham Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee Co-chair Vincent Shih, Assistant General Counsel, GM, Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Taiwan Corp.

As companies shift from traditional computing to the cloud, they need to rethink the business risks involved as data is digitalized. These risks include 1) security, 2) intellectual property protection, 3) compliance issues, 4) data privacy, and 5) data sovereignty. Andersen shared with the audience some of the risk mitigation strategies:

  • Review the terms of service provided by cloud technology suppliers to protect your business from third-party IP claims, and ensure that you understand the implication of limitations of liability and use of open source software on the products and services covered.
  • Develop your own patent portfolio to secure your innovations, especially technologies relevant for your competitors, and to deter or defend against patent lawsuits.
  • Obtain licenses to third-party IP to reduce your business risk, increase business flexibility, and provide basic defense against non-practicing entities (NPEs).

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.

IP&L Luncheon: The Value of Trade Secrets

Many companies would benefit by treating their confidential information more often as trade secrets rather than only or primarily seeking patent protection. That was the main theme of the presentation “The Orphaned Asset: Trade Secrets as a Much Neglected Corporate Source,” held March 3 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei under the sponsorship of AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee. The speaker was a leading authority on trade secrets: Dr. Richard L. Thurston, head of the Taipei office of the law firm Duane Morris LLP and former senior vice president and general counsel of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.).

IPL_Luncheon_Co-chair

IP&L committee co-chair, Jeffrey Harris, Managing Director, Orient Commercial Enquiries (left), speaker Richard L. Thurston, Ph.D. (middle), and IP&L committee co-chair, Peter J. Dernbach Partner, Winkler Partners (right)

The advantages of a well-managed trade-secret program within a company’s IP portfolio include:

  • Saving the considerable expense involved in patent filing and maintenance.
  • Enjoying coverage in perpetuity, whereas patents are for a limited period.
  • Gaining flexibility, as the content of trade secrets can be continuously updated or new trade secrets added.

The strengthening of Taiwan’s Trade Secrets Law in recent years has made this option a realistic choice. But companies must do their part by signing non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with key employees and implementing effective internal controls to ensure that trade secrets are well protected.

To view or register for upcoming AmCham events, click here.