Taiwan and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Taipei yesterday to speed up the process of patent screening, a move that is expected to boost bilateral business opportunities in the technological field.
The MOU on the Patent Prosecution Highway program will take effect on May 1, said Wang Mei-hua (王美花), director-general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office.
The initiative will help applicants receive patents on their products more quickly, as the authorities on both sides can share information on screening patents to facilitate the process, Wang told a press conference after the signing ceremony.
Under the program, applicants who have been granted a patent for their products in either Taiwan or Japan will be able to “request a faster review process when applying for a patent” in the other country, Wang said.
Citing Taiwan-based Hon Hai Group’s (鴻海集團) partnership with Japan’s Sharp Corp as an example of close business cooperation between the two countries, Wang said the MOU is expected to boost joint business opportunities.
For example, she added, it can “take 25 months for Japan to grant a patent.”
Once that approval has been given, she said, just another 1.1 months would be needed for applicants seeking a patent in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Intellectual Property Office is to reduce its review period to six months for those who also file a patent application in Japan after submitting their application in Taiwan, Wang said.
It usually takes 41 months for Taiwan to review an application before granting a patent, she added.
Taiwan received about 11,800 Japanese applications for mainly high-tech-related patents last year, while Japan recorded about 1,450 Taiwanese applications for patents in the same period, according to official statistics.
This shows that “Japan sees Taiwan as an important technological partner,” Wang said.
The MOU was signed by Liao Liou-yi (廖了以), chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations — which represents Taiwan’s interests in Japan in the absence of diplomatic ties — and his Japanese counterpart, Mitsuo Ohashi, chairman of Japan’s Interchange Association.
Echoing Wang’s remarks, Ohashi said the program would boost the Taiwan-Japan partnership in the field of technology.
The MOU was Taiwan’s second after it launched a Patent Prosecution Highway program with the US in September last year.