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Friday, March 1, 2013

Establishing a Healthy Intelligent Property Policy Environment for Internalization of SMEs: Taiwan’s Policy Framework

Wayne Chen


          Intelligent property (IP) is a legal concept granted legislative status to intangible invention whose production and sale can be controlled and protected. As a result, IP incorporated much in contemporary business operations, industrialization policies and rules of trade in the international sphere. IP, including trademark, copyright, and patent, formed complex ideological systems with which related regulations contribute to innovation, technology dissemination and protection of intangible properties for enterprises across states. IP policy environment led by governments is therefore critical for both local companies and the pursuit of innovative growth of the state.

          However, given its intricate character, IP is often considered as an obscure jargon to enterprises, particularly to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in routine business operations, and IP may only show its effect on business and trade once SMEs start stepping into the global arena. This essay investigates IP policies the Taiwanese government is drafting and implementing.


National Intelligent Property Strategic Framework

國家智財戰略綱領


          In past decades, the Taiwanese government has been implementing abundant IP programs focusing on promoting IP education and awareness. In 1992, the Legislative Yuan passed the Copyright Act amendments and in 1999 copyright affairs and awareness programs expanded to patent and trademark areas under the jurisdiction of Taiwan Intellectual Property Office. Since 2000, several programs were initiated focusing on information exchange, patent licensing and business consultation services by a wide range of authorities, including Industrial Development Bureau, SME Administration and Council of Agriculture. In 2008, the IP court was established to adapt the legal system to the trend of IP.

          In 2007~2011, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Taiwan was the 4th country after Japan, Germany and South Korea (as shown in Figure 1) received the most patent in US which is the biggest patent market in the world. However, patent income in Taiwan was relatively low. In 2010, the patent expense was US$4,943 million and the income was US$460 million. In 2011, the gap between income and expense further widened while the former increased to US$5,788 million and the income grew to US$838 million. Low add-in value of patents granted and surge in litigation over IPs (which are always very expensive) were 2 major challenges facing both Taiwanese government and enterprises, in response, the Ministry of Economic Affairs proposed the National Intelligent Property Strategic Framework in 2011 and the Framework was approved by the Executive Yuan in 2012.