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How to Register a Taiwan Patent: Types, Fees, and More

A patent grants exclusive rights to an inventor for their creation of an invention, preventing others from making, using, or selling the invention without permission. In Taiwan, securing a patent can be an important step in protecting your intellectual property rights. In this article, we'll explore the process and all the details of applying for a patent in Taiwan.
 

3 Types of Patent in Taiwan

In Taiwan, patents are categorized into three main types according to the current Taiwan Patent Act: invention patents, utility model patents, and design patents.
 

 

Invention Patent

An invention patent pertains to creations that harness inherent natural laws to solve problems and achieve specific objectives or purposes. These inventions must possess technical characteristics, indicating that the means employed to address the issue involve technical elements within the relevant field. Discoveries, scientific theories, the presentation of information, and aesthetic creations are ineligible for this patent protection.
 
Patent Fees: Higher*
Patent Term: 20 Years
Processing Time: 12to 24 months
 
Note: The official fees are at least NT$10,500 (for the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings totaling less than 50 pages and with up to 10 claims).
  • For each claim exceeding 10, an additional NT$800 is charged.
  • For every 50 pages exceeding the initial 50 pages of the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings, an additional NT$500 is charged.
 

Utility Model Patent

A utility model patent refers to a creation based on the laws of nature, creates a tangible entity, and demonstrates innovation in the shape, structure, or combination of the entity. These entities must have utility value, physical substance, and practical use. Obtaining a utility model patent is relatively less expensive and involves less strict registration requirements compared to regular patents as it is subject to the formality examination.
 
Patent Fees: NT$3000
Patent Term: 10 Years
Processing Time: 4 to 5 months
 
The scope of protection differs between invention and utility model patents. Inventions cover a broader range, including substances, objects, methods, biological materials, and their uses, while utility models only cover the creation of shapes, structures, or combinations of objects.
 

Design Patent

A design patent refers to a creation that presents a visual appeal through the shape, pattern, color, or combination thereof of an item. It also includes computer-generated graphics or icons and graphical user interfaces (GUI) applicable to items. These creations are presented via display devices and evoke a specific visual appeal.
 
Patent Fees: NT$3000
Patent Term: 15 Years
Processing Time: 6 to 10 months
 
Design patents aim to enhance visual appeal and attract consumers while utility models and invention patents focus on enhancing functionality and usability. Each patent type possesses unique attributes and applicability. Entrepreneurs and inventors can select the most appropriate patent type based on their requirements and the nature of their innovation.
 
 

How to Register a Patent in Taiwan

First, we need to understand the legal requirements when filing any type of Taiwan patent. For applicants from foreign nations, it's mandatory to designate a proficient patent attorney, who has successfully completed the Taiwan Patent Bar Examination and possesses substantial experience in managing patent prosecution and related patent affairs to represent them during the patent application process. However, if the patent applicant resides or has a business office within Taiwan, the applicant can manage all procedural matters directly with TIPO and is not obligated to appoint a representative.
 

 

Step 1. Procedural Examination

The first step in the patent examination process is to ensure that all required documents are submitted in full and completed accurately.

 
The application, submitted in Traditional Chinese, must include essential details. When applying for patents, apart from providing the application’s name, nationality, and address, other specific requirements must be met:
  • Invention Patent: Description, claims, abstract, and necessary drawings.
  • Utility Model Patent: Description, claims, abstract, and drawings.
  • Design Patent: Description and drawings.
 
Additionally, documents like the Power of Attorney, Grace Period Certificate, and International Priority Document must be provided within specific timeframes, with translations into Traditional Chinese if necessary. It's important to note that the applicant can initially file the specification in select foreign languages, such as English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, and Arabic, then submit the translated version at a later time.
 
Common errors to avoid include ensuring that inventors are natural persons and ensuring consistency in signatures across application documents. For the Grace Period Certificate and the Priority Document, you must submit the original copies.
 
The Taiwan IP Office will assign a filing date and application number upon submission, operating under a first-to-file system, emphasizing the importance of promptly securing a filing date to establish precedence.
 

Step 1.1 Laid-open Publication ( or Early Publication)

For invention patents, the application is automatically published in the Patent Gazette 18 months from either the filing date or the earliest priority date. This publication allows any party to request inspection, transcription, photography, or copying of the application's specifications or drawings.
 

Step 2-1. Substantive Examination

For invention patents, substantive examination is essential to determine patentability. The applicant must request this examination within three years from the filing date or at the time of filing the initial application.
 
The invention must meet several criteria, including usability, novelty, and non-obviousness. Usability ensures practical industrial applicability, while novelty mandates that the invention is not identical to the prior creations. Non-obviousness denotes that the invention represents an advancement beyond existing technology.
 
During examination, the examiner conducts searches for prior art and similar documents. If the application is deemed unpatentable, an Office Action is issued, allowing the applicant to address objections through arguments or amendments with detailed claims, drawings, and other documents.
 
For design patents, substantive examination is compulsory and automatically initiated by the IP Office if the application satisfies the previous procedural requirements.
 
Similar to invention patents, the design must fulfill patentability prerequisites, including usability, novelty, and non-obviousness. Usability ensures practical application feasibility, while novelty requires differentiation from the prior art. Non-obviousness signifies advancement beyond existing designs. During examination, the examiner assesses novelty and creativity, searching for similar or identical prior designs. If the application is found unpatentable, an Office Action is also issued, providing the applicant an opportunity to address objections through arguments or amendments, just like the case with invention patents.
 
 

Step 2-2. Formality Examination

The formal examination system applies only to utility model patents, derived from substantive examination but focusing solely on confirming compliance with formal requirements.
 
It evaluates whether the invention meets the criteria of a utility model, focusing on its shape, structure, or combination. In addition, it examines the documentation, including the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings, to ensure compliance with formatting standards. Finally, it checks for any breaches of public order or morality and assesses the application content's clarity and completeness, looking for any notable discrepancies between the specification, independent claims, and drawings.
 

Step 3. Decision to Grant / Publication / Maintenance

Following approval, the IP Office grants and publishes the patent in the Patent Gazette, while also sending the patent certificate to the applicant. The applicant must settle the certification fee and the first-year annuity, which is consistent across all three patent types.
 
The official grant fee for Taiwan patents must be paid within three months of receiving the Notice of Allowance, with no possibility of extension. The fee for an invention patent is NT$1,800 (discounts available for eligible applicants), but the fees for the other 2 types are all NT$3500.
 
The term of different patents in Taiwan varies. Each has annual fees due each year, starting from the first one. Payments should be made within three months of receiving the Notice of Allowance, with succeeding annuities payable one day before the anniversary of the publication date. Late payment is permissible within a six-month grace period after the due date but with a corresponding surcharge.
 
Additionally, upon publication of a utility model patent application, individuals gain the right to request a "Technical Evaluation Report of the Utility Model Patent." This report is normally sought by applicants or patent holders aiming to assert their rights or when the patent is being utilized by another party.
 

How to Select a Good Attorney

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, safeguarding their innovations through patent registration is vital. Choosing the right patent attorney is crucial for successful patent registration, ensuring the protection of their most valuable intellectual property.
 

Field Expertise

An IP lawyer must have a strong background in handling similar cases. Assess their track record, focusing on the number of applications they have submitted and their approval rate. This reflects the attorney's diligence and expertise in preparing robust documents, thereby enhancing the likelihood of a favorable ruling for your company.
 

Technical Background

For most technological inventions, an IP attorney should possess the relevant technical knowledge to effectively draft patents and manage IP rights. For specialized fields, such as chemical or IT inventions, it is advisable to select a lawyer with a corresponding technical degree.
 

Personalized Attention

Effective client communication and personalized attention are crucial. A good IP attorney will build a strong relationship with you, thoroughly understanding your business objectives and industry-specific challenges. Reviews can help identify attorneys known for their responsiveness and engagement, ensuring a collaborative and supportive legal process.
 

Cost

While cost is a significant consideration, it should not be the primary deciding factor. Opting for the cheapest attorney can lead to costly mistakes if the patent is denied due to inexperience. Research to find the average rates and choose an experienced attorney who offers a good balance between cost and expertise.
 
Seek assistance from the Taiwan Patent Attorneys Association (TWPAA) or the Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) Taiwan Group.
 

Takeaways for Filing Taiwan Patents

What are the types of patents in Taiwan?

The types of patents in Taiwan include invention patents, utility model patents, and design patents. Design patents aim to improve visual appeal and draw consumer attention, whereas utility models and invention patents concentrate on improving functionality and usability with the latter covering a broader scope of innovation.
 

Do I need a representative to file my patent application as a foreign applicant?

Yes, foreign applicants must appoint a qualified patent attorney in Taiwan to file a patent application on their behalf.
 

What documents are needed for filing a patent application in Taiwan?

Required documents for filing a patent application in Taiwan include the application form, specification, description, claims, drawings, an abstract (if applicable), and a power of attorney.
 

Can I file a patent application other than Traditional Chinese?

You must submit your application form in Traditional Chinese, but for the specification part, several languages are accepted initially, such as English, Japanese, Spanish, and so on. Still, a Chinese translation must be provided within a specified period.
 

How much is it to file a patent application in Taiwan?

The cost to file a patent application in Taiwan varies depending on the type of patent and the complexity of the application. While the fee for an invention patent may be higher, the fees for the design patent and utility model patent are fixed at NT$3000 each.
 

WPTO - the Best Taiwan Law Firm to Help You File Patents

Let WPTO, a trusted Taiwan IP firm, guide you through the process of filing your patent in Taiwan. With over 70 years of expertise in providing comprehensive IP services, our team of experienced attorneys, patent agents, patent engineers, and consultants ensures your patent rights are safeguarded effectively.
 
From electronics to biotech, our specialists handle it all, having successfully obtained numerous Taiwan patents in various fields. Trust in our expertise and technical knowledge to protect your intellectual property. Contact us now to start your patent application process in Taiwan.
 
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