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The number of patent applications filed by local colleges and universities dropped 11.3% to 4,275 in 2014 from the peak of 4,817 in 2013. In addition, their applications filed in the three quarters of 2015 also decreased by 10% compared to the same period of 2014. The applications from national universities were mostly for invention patents while those from private universities were mostly for utility model patents. Overall, these universities outperformed in applications for the areas of medical and healthcare as well as pharmaceutical and biotech.
In the past few years, over 50% of the patent applications filed by the top 10 national universities were for invention patents. In particular, the invention patent applications accounted for over 95.5% of the total patent applications filed by the National Tsing Hua University for a long time.
In July 2015, TIPO began visiting universities to learn more about why they were decreasing patent applications. Of the six universities visited so far, the decline was mostly due to yearly subsidy cuts in the Aim for the Top University Plan of the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the growing emphasis on the performance of technology transfer stipulated by the Key Performance Indicator of the MOE’s Plan for Developing Technological University Paradigms. Guided by these subsidy policies, universities are now attaching greater importance to quality rather than quantity of their patent applications. Although the number of applications might be affected, the industry and academia wishing for long-term partnerships should begin by maintaining sufficient number of high-quality patent portfolios.
TIPO invited experts and representatives from the MOE, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the Department of Industrial Technology and the Industrial Development Bureau of the MOEA, as well as six universities to attend a conference on discussing universities to apply for patents to protect and promote their R&D results. TIPO held the conference in hopes to figure out the reason for the decrease in the universities’ patent applications and their patent application strategies. Meanwhile, TIPO also encouraged all attending parties to exchange views on some issues. The issues include how the universities can seek a balance between the application quantity and technology transfer results, whether there is a need to integrate universities technology transfer centers, and how to guide universities enhancing their patent capacity and technology transfer results.
The MoST said that its annual subsidy for invention patent applications has never decreased but increased, even up to NT$140 million in 2016. University and research institutions may file requests for the subsidy and utilize it upon approvals from their internal review mechanisms. Meanwhile, the MoST plans to launch an invention patent applications maintenance and promotion program in 2016. With this program, 10% of the subsidy may be used for promoting and enhancing patent technology transfer results. In 2015, the MoST launched a program on promoting the collaboration between universities and research institute. With the assistance from the Industrial Technology Research Institute, the MoST selected and promoted academic patents with great potential for industries. A total of 12 universities, including National Tsing Hua University, participated in this program in 2015. The MoST plans to seek assistance from the Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) to extend patent matching services for more technologies next year.
In addition to providing patent traing programs, TIPO is also encouraging universities to work with the industry to apply for more patents. Such applications that involve commercial exploitation are eligible for requesting accelerated examination. TIPO hopes that the MOE and MoST can relax relevant laws and provide incentives to help universities boost their R&D capacity and step up development for the entire industry.
The information session will be recorded and made available to the public at the TIPO website.
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(These latest Intellectual Property (IP) news and events presented here, are prepared and compiled by us, the World Patent & Trademark Law Office (WPTO),for your reference and information)