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Under the auspices of the Executive Yuan, TIPO has since 2010 been carrying out a patent backlog reduction project, which has been completed recently at the end of 2017, with a total of 431,255 cases being examined and closed, exceeding the original target of 413,316 by 17,939 cases. Among them, the backlog of pending invention patent applications had dropped to about 44,000, a great achievement by the office.
With regard to patent pendency, in comparison with the Five IP Offices (IP5), in 2016, the average patent pendency at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was 25.6 months and the European Patent Office (EPO) 26.5 months, both longer than that of TIPO (19.8 months). In 2017, the figure in Taiwan was further reduced to 16 months, improving opportunities for applicants to expand their patent portfolios around the globe and enhancing Taiwan’s industries more competitive as a whole.
In addition, TIPO provided training to examiners with fixed-terms as well as R&D substitute service draftees involved in the backlog reduction project. As such, in addition to helping reducing backlogs during their services at TIPO, they will be able to bring their skills to other private entities or businesses after the project is closed, allowing them to continue providing patent-related professional services. In other words, the project has also helped cultivate professional talents specializing in patents.
In the future, TIPO plans to continue striking a balance between the number of patent applications and that of cases examined, in the hope of preventing backlogs from taking place again. In addition, it will follow examples of advanced countries, in the hope of further improving patent examination efficiency and quality while providing better services.