Protecting Your IPR in Taiwan: A Toolkit
Last Updated: March 2010
As in other parts of greater China, the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is important to businesses operating in the Taiwan market. The Economic Section of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) created this IPR Toolkit to provide general information on Taiwan's IPR environment, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms, as well as resources available to foreign companies.
The information in the Toolkit is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice.
When Taiwan joined the WTO in 2002, it made a commitment to comply with the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Post-accession amendments to Taiwan's Copyright Law included stronger criminal sentences for counterfeiters and pirates, and stiffer penalties for destroying technical data protection measures. Patent and trademark filing systems have been simplified, and Taiwan's Legislative Yuan (LY) passed bills to establish an IPR court and to introduce civil and criminal liability for unauthorized provision of technology capable of infringing on copyright, such as peer to peer (P2P) file sharing technology. More recently, 2009 amendments to the Copyright Act clarify ISPs' responsibilities to protect copyrighted materials, limit an ISP's liability if the provider quickly removed IPR-infringing material, and allow ISPs to terminate or limit service for users who ignore three notices of infringement from the ISP.
Over the years, AIT has worked closely with Taiwan authorities, including the Ministries of Justice and Economic Affairs, to strengthen the island's IPR protection regime. AIT has sponsored relevant IPR training for judges, prosecutors, customs officials, and police officers. Guest speakers at AIT-sponsored workshops have included U.S. judges, prosecutors, and academic experts. AIT also sponsors academic and professional exchanges between U.S. and Taiwan IP authorities through the International Visitors Program, conferences, and in other venues.
Both the United States and Taiwan recognize the link between healthy economic growth and strong IPR protection. As a result of globalization and the increasing availability of low-cost labor abroad, Taiwan's manufacturing sector moved significant production facilities overseas. In response, economic planners have sought to use the skills of Taiwan's highly-educated population to grow knowledge-based industries such as biotech, computer services, and communications technology. To maintain a business climate attractive to both local and foreign investors, therefore, Taiwan must continue to ensure rigorous IPR protection.
Links to websites outside the U.S. government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are provided for the convenience of the user. Such links and/or use do not constitute official endorsement or approval by the U.S. government of any private sector or non-U.S. government website, product, or service.
The information provided above by no means constitutes legal advice and should not be a substitute for advice of counsel. Its intended purpose is to provide an overview of Taiwan's IPR environment, available enforcement mechanisms, and Taiwan offices sharing jurisdiction over IPR protection and enforcement. We recommend that U.S. companies seeking to do business in Taiwan or facing IPR infringement issues retain qualified U.S. and/or Taiwan legal counsel and pursue their rights through Taiwan's IPR enforcement regime.