2023-07-21 [Software Patent Filing in Taiwan] Guidelines for Filing Computer Software Related Application in Taiwan

Taiwan:

Patent filing regulations for Computer Software related invention is somewhat different from patent applications in other fields. However, if these regulations could be followed, a computer software related invention could also be granted in Taiwan smoothly.
The most common rejection reason, like all other countries, for computer software related application is read “the application does not meet the definition of an invention”.
In Taiwan, the definition of “Invention Patent” is defined as “a creation of technical ideas utilizes the laws of nature”. Therefore, there are two main steps in Taiwan patent examining procedure to determine whether a patent application of computer software related invention meets the definition of an invention:

Step I. whether the computer software related application has its characteristic features which are obvious to meet or not meet the definition of an invention;

Step II. whether “a hardware resource is utilized to achieve information processing of computer software”.

☆The first portion of Step I:
Regarding “Obvious to meet the definition of an invention” in Step (I):
(A) How to determine an application is “obvious to meet the definition of the invention”? If an application possesses any one of following characteristic features, the application meets the defining criterions of an invention.
(i) (a) A control to a machine; or
(b) Substantially executing a process/processes accompanying with a control.
The “control” in the above could be classified as follows.

(1) The control is on a machine to be controlled or on a machine related to an operating object to be controlled, regarding structure, component, combination, functionality, function, feature, characteristic or operation of the machine.
For example, a web server, which is an operating object to be controlled, is used to control an electric cooker, which is a machine related to the operating object to be controlled, to finish rice cooking, which is a function of the machine, in a predetermined time, which is a functionality of the machine.

(2) The control is taken in order to achieve an operating purpose of a machine(s).
For example, a power control system controls electric supply of a power generation device and electric storage of a battery according to electricity price, electricity generating capacity and electricity consumption. [Noted, the operating purpose of the power generating device and the battery is to adjust their electric supply and electric storage depending on these three factors, i.e., electricity price, electricity generating capacity and electricity consumption.]

(3) An integrated control is executed on a system comprising a plurality of machines having relationship to each other.
For example, an integrated control is executed on the system comprising multiple merchandise distribution devices and drones according to instructions of a management server.

(ii) Using data with technical features to substantially perform data processing, including:
(1) Using data such as numerical value or graphic drawings representing technical feature of an object to operate a calculation or perform a process to obtain information of numerical value and graphic drawings.
For example, operating a calculation or perform a process on data representing heart electrophysiological activity to obtain information of numerical value.
(2) Performing information process on technical relationship between an object status and its corresponding phenomenon.
For example, performing information process on a velocity and acceleration of a car and a velocity of another car neighboring to the car to determine whether a car accident is to happen.
☆The second portion of Step I:
Regarding “Obviously NOT meet the definition of an invention” in Step (I):
If a patent application belongs to one of the following items, it is regarded “Obviously NOT meet the definition of an invention”.

(i) An application that does not use the natural law, including:
(1) An artificial arrangement.
For example, a programming language.
(2) An artificial regulation or a regulation other than the natural law or an artificial regulation.
For example, the rules or methods for games or sports, the economic rules and so on.
(3) A mathematical formula or a mathematical method.
For example, a Fast Fourier Transform method.
(4) A human spirit or a mental process.
For example, the writing of legal document.
(5) Merely using (1) to (4) as mentioned above.
For example, an implement of business method.

(ii) An application that are not technical idea.
An application is merely a disclosure of information, but not a creation of technical idea.
For example, “merely a disclosure of information” includes: an allocation of graphic design configuration of a user interface, an information content included in a message displayed on a device, a user manual or specification for using a chip, an optical disc that stores music files, image data obtained by a digital camera.
Moreover, an interactive combination of a computer system and a data format only relating to steps of data collection and data input, even if the data may contain a special format, is still considered as “merely a disclosure of information”.

☆The determining criterion for Step II, “whether a hardware resource is utilized to achieve information processing of computer software”.
The main criterion determination is on whether an application “is a specific information processing device or a method thereof which is constructed according to its objective of information process by means of interactive operation of computer software and hardware”.
For example, a specific information processing device or a method thereof, which has hardware resource such as an input unit, a processing unit and a display unit to achieve a specific function by means of information process of computer software, but could not achieve specific information process of calculation according to the objective of information processing, could not be considered meeting the definition of an invention.

★Tips for software related patent filing in Taiwan:
1. We advise software related portion is combined with hardware machine, but not only is filed for software itself or software related method itself. And the hardware machine is preferred to having its specific function other than a general computer.
2. The function of software is preferred to a technical operation of a hardware machine, but not a simple operation according to human rules.
3. The software is preferred to generating technical effect which could be quantified, but not artificial effect.

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