On December 30, 2016, the Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of “Draft Partial Amendments of Taiwan Patent Act with respect to the Grace Period”. These amendments relaxed the criteria related to the Grace Period, expanded the possibility of patent protection to applicants who have the content of their patent publicized before filing, and thus would be beneficial to innovation and technology distribution. These amendments are issued on January 18, 2017 and are enforced on May 1, 2017. The main points in the amendments are:
1. Extend the period of the Grace Period and relax the regulation of publication
In response to the situation that enterprises and academic institutions may disclose the invention in various different form before filing of an invention, protecting the published invention from not being able to file a patent, and allowing an inventor to have more sufficient time for preparing the patent application, the current Grace Period of 6 months is extended to 12 months and the limit to the disclosure regulation is eliminated in which all disclosures of the applicant’s intention or non-intention are applicable to the regulation regarding the Grace Period.
2. Eliminate the applicability of the regulation regarding the Grace Period to the publication in the Patent Gazette
The purpose of the publication in the Patent Gazette is to avoid duplication of R & D funding or to make the public clearly aware of the scope of the patent claims, which is quite different from the main purpose of the Grace Period to enable the applicant to avoid being rejected in the patent application by the publication concerning exception to lack of novelty and non-obviousness prior to patent filing. Therefore, the applicability of the regulation regarding the Grace Period to the publication in the Patent Gazette is eliminated.
3. Delete the regulation that the applicant is obliged to file the application and settle the claim of Grace Period in the meantime
According to the current patent act, when a patent applicant wants to claim the Grace Period, it is necessary to specify the facts and dates (month/day/year) and provide a certificate within the period specified by the Patent Authority. In order to avoid the loss of the beneficiary Grace Period due to the applicant’s negligence to claim their rights and to fully implement the purpose of encouraging innovation and promoting the early distribution of technology, the regulation of “obliged to settle the claim of the Grace Period in the meantime” is deleted to protect the applicant’s rights and interests.
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