TIPO’s 2018 Annual Report:
14 Months for Total Pendency, 8.7 months for First Action
經濟部智慧財產局近期公開2018年工作成果，根據年報統計，發明專利申請方面，全年 41,991件實體審查，結案 39,528 件，初審首次通知平均需時 8.7 個月，審結平均需時 14 個月，審查效率穩步提升，已然超越歐美紀錄。設計專利申請方面，初審首次通知平均需時 6.1 個月 ，審結平均需時 7.4 個月，維持近年穩定水準。
According to the annual report newly released by the TIPO (Taiwan Intellectual Property Office), there were 41,991 requests for substantive examination of invention patent applications and 39,528 disposals of them in 2018. The yearly average disposal pendency was down to 14 months for invention patents and 8.7 months for a first office action. Both have hit a ten-year low and outperformed the current records in the US and the EU.
As for design patent applications, the average pendency for a first office action and for disposal were 6.1 months and 7.4 months respectively, showing a stable trend.
專利審查速度加快，同步帶動品質提升。2018年發明專利審結案件中，核准了 30,585 件 占 77.4%，核駁 8,063件占 20.4%（其他含撤回等 880 件）；審結後，核駁案提出再審查申請，數量逐年降低，申請人不服再審查結果，而提出訴願、甚而行政訴訟的情況皆有所減少。
Not only accelerating examination process, the TIPO continuously improves the quality of its work products. The patent application disposals completed in 2018 include 30,585 allowances (accounting for 77.4%), 8,063 rejections (20.4%) and 880 withdrawals or not accepted cases (2.2%). The requests for both reexamination and Invalidation were less, compared to the previous years. So were the requests for appeals and administrative litigations against examiners’ decisions.
以核駁再審查及舉發案為例，2016年、2017年及 2018年的審結數量，分別為 1,386、 1,365 及 1,150 件；不服智財局原審定的，分別有313、288 及 274 件提出訴願；後續又分別有104、 103及 103件提起行政訴訟；最終法院裁定撤銷原處分（含部分撤銷）各26件，2018年撤銷比例 (23.2%) 乃近三年最低。
而主要撤銷原因，法院對於進步性要件之認定，見解不同於智慧局；另依《智慧財產案件審理法》第 33 條規定，當事人提新證據，導致原處分被撤銷的情況也變多。
Taking reexamination and invalidation cases as instances, there were 3,901 disposals from 2016 to 2018 (1,386, 1,365, and 1,150
The main reason for revocation was mostly due to the IP Court’s disagreement with TIPO’s assessment of inventive step requirements. There was also an increase in cases being revoked for additional new evidence, as prescribed in Article 33 of the Intellectual Property Case Adjudication Act.
Faster Examination with Less Manpower
對照歐美國家的審查效率，USPTO（美國專利局）2018 年統計：初審首次通知平均需時 15.8 個月，審結 23.8 個月；而 EPO（歐洲專利局）2018年統計 (註1) ，審結時間的中位數 (median examination pendency) 22.3個月，若為汽車與機械類的專利申請 ( Mobility and Mechatronics) ，審結時間可降至 18.1 個月。由此可知，台灣審查效率後來居上，目前水準與日本相當：JPO（日本特許廳）平均 9.3 個月發出初審首次通知，14.1 個月審結。
Comparing the average first action pendency with that of the major IP offices in 2018, it was 15.8 months in the U.S., 10.3 months in Korea and 9.3 months in Japan. 上標  As for the average pendency to complete an examination, it was 23.8 months in the U.S., 23.8 months in the EPO(上標  22 months in China, 15.8 months in Korea and 14.1 months in Japan. From these statistics, we can see that the TIPO has been its peers in the efficiency of intention patent examination.
在2014年以前，台灣發明專利的審查，往往要 3 年多才能完成，積案以每年 2 萬件的幅度增加，一度超過 16 萬件，這種情況對於生命周期短的高科技產業非常不利，等於阻礙業者的技術創新與市場競爭。政府 2012 年編列 12.6 億新台幣預算，推動為期 5 年的清理積件專案。透過推動 e 化、增加約聘審查員、輔導成立協助專利檢索的外圍組織、人力調整、加強培訓等措施，集中火力消化積案，才得以縮短審查週期。
Not very long ago, people applying for patent rights in Taiwan had to wait more than three years for a result. The backlog of patent application increased around 20 thousand cases per year and reached its peak of 160,479 cases in 2011. That situation negatively impacted businesses, particularly in those industries operating with short product cycles. That practically hindered the innovation process and impeded market competition.
In order to reduce the backlog, Taiwan’s Government had invested NT$ 1.26 billion (US$ 39 million) in a five-year program, called the “Patent Backlog Reduction Project”. The program was officially launched in 2012. The TIPO incorporated multiple measures to tackle the growing backlog. Some of which are recruiting 170 fixed-term examiners, training 70 civilian servicemen with science backgrounds to assist with prior art searches, leveraging electronic resources, optimizing organization and internal process, etc.
清理專利積案計畫 2017 年結案之時，待辦案件已降至 44,002 件，發明專利初審平均審結期間已降為 15.5 個月，較歐、美、日、韓等主要國家更為快速。更值得一提的是，支援清理積件專案的 170 名約聘審查員，已於 2017 年 4 月全面退場，恢復正常人力編制，審查員數量比 2012 年減少一成的情況下，審查效率與品質持續好轉。
By the time the project ended, the pending applications were down to 44,002 cases and the average disposal pendency for invention patents was shortened to 15.5 months, faster than that of major IP offices. Even after all the fixed-term examiners recruited for the project left in April 2017, the average disposal pendency was notably further down to 14 months in 2018 with a staff number 10 percent less than its 2012 level.
The overall performance improvement must be attributed to TIPO’s effort to keep up with the best practices around the world, combining the e-filing and e-delivery services, breakthroughs in international cooperation, amendments to the Patent Act, establishing the industrial patent knowledge platform system and patent invalidation hearings, together with other actions.
24/7 e-filing and e-delivery Services
以電子申辦服務為例，2008年8月27日上路至今屆滿 10年，從電子申請、線上繳費、線上檢送優先權證明文件、電子文件送達、線上變更等逐步擴大功能，服務時間也延長到24小時、全年無休。如今專利電子申請比例達 74% ，近一成來自非上班時間的申辦；符合電子傳送條件的公文（專利檢索報告之非專利文獻的引證文件），電子送達比例達 81.5%，且超過二成在非上班時間傳送。
One of the examples is TIPO’s online service which began in 2008. Its service scope has extended gradually from e-filing, fee collection, patent annuities management, to e-delivery, content editing, issuing digital certificates, priority document transmission, etc. And the service is now available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In 2018, 74% of new applications were filed online. 10 percent of which were submitted outside of business hours. (上標  ); 81.5% of the documents fit for e-delivery were delivered electronically and one-fifth of which were sent outside of business hours.
此外，線上專利審查系統 2019 年正式上線，提供審查員更方便的工作環境；專利舉發案也納入聽證程序，就主要爭點提供當事兩造完整口頭陳述、及相互詢答的機會（註2）；這兩項新措施、以及持續與更多國家締結的跨國專利加速審查合作計畫（註3），皆可望進一步提升審查效率。
Moreover, an online examination system is now underway. By which examiners are able to review substantive examination documents online in real-time. Another measure worth mentioning is the “Hearing on Patent Invalidation Program”. It enables both parties in a patent invalidation case to fully express and argue their views on specific facts. Given the above progress, we can expect that the TIPO will continue its improvement in examination efficiency, as well as its overall productivity.
目前三種專利審查的平均審結時間，發明專利 14 個月、新型專利技術報告 5.4 個月、設計專利 7.4 個月。發明專利初審核駁後，54.9%會提出再審查申請，再審查申請的首次通知，平均需時 11.9 個月，全案審結 14.4 個月，各項紀錄均為近 10 年最佳水準。
To date, the average disposal pendency of patent applications is 14 months for inventions, 5.4 months for utility models and 7.4 months for designs. With respect to re-examination, the request rate (following an examination rejection) in 2018 was 54.9%. The average first office action pendency for invention patent reexamination was 11.9 months and the average disposal pendency was 14.4 months, both at their fastest level in 10 years.
Invention Patent Applications Grew by 2.8%；Non-residents’ Applications Grew by 4.1%
專利申請與發證統計方面，2018年智慧局收到三種專利申請共 73,421件，其中，發明專利申請為 47,429件，較 2017年增加2.8%，數量近 5 年最高，四成由國人申請，外國申請總數為 29,064 件（年增4.1%）為近 10 年來最高紀錄，外國申請案的五大來源國，分別是日本 12,871 件、美國 6,393 件、中國大陸 2,595 件、南韓 1,766 及 德國 1,197，中國申請年增幅 (37.4%) 尤其可觀。
As to the statistics on patent applications and grants in 2018, the TIPO received 73,421 new patent applications, in which applications for invention patents reached a five-year high at 47,429 and grew by 2.8%. Of those, 29,064 cases (60%) were filed by foreign applicants. That also registered a 10-year high. Among the top five origins, Japan led by 12,871 cases, followed by the US (6,393 cases), China (2,595 cases), South Korea (1,766 cases) and Germany (1,197 cases). The highest growth rate went to China, at 37.4%.
我國發明人向五大專利局的申請件數也穩定增長，排名維持領先，2017年（註4）向美國提出的發明專利申請 19,019 件，中國 10,802 件；2018 年向日本提出的發明專利申請為 1632 件、歐洲 1,767 件、韓國 1,050 件。
Invention patent applications filed by residents with IP5 offices grew steadily as well. The most popular destinations are the US and China. The USPTO and the CNIPO received 19,019 and 10,802 applications respectively in 2017, followed by the EPO, the JPO, and the KIPO with 1,767, 1,632 and 1,050 applications respectively in 2018. (上標  )
設計專利方面，今年申請總數 8,082 件，其中 53% 為國人申請，外國人申請總數為 3, 830 件，外國人申請案的五大來源國，分別是日本 1,224 件、美國 777 件、德國 305、中國 296 及法國 233 件。而國人向五大專利局提出的設計專利申請，2017年（註4）向中國提出 1,426 件、美國 1,113件；2018 年向日本提出 300件、歐洲 654 件、韓國 72 件，目前看來，只有對南韓的申請數增加。
Moreover, new applications filed for design patents dropped slightly at 8,082 in 2018. Of those, 47.4% were filed by foreign applicants. Among the top five origins, Japan led by 1,224 cases, followed by the US (777 cases), Germany (305 cases), China (296 cases) and France (233 cases). The design patent applications filed by residents with IP5 offices also dropped slightly
發證方面，2018年三種專利公告發證件數共 62,193 件， 其中發明 36,147 件、 新型 18,559 件，分別較前年減少21%、2.5%； 設計 7,487 件，年增幅4.8%。在我國取得專利權的五大國家，分別是日本 11,269 件、 美國 6,051 件、中國大陸 2,088 件、南韓 1,787 件 及德國1,161 件，三種專利各自占比請參考附圖，申請人與專利獲證排名，請參考〈2018 台灣專利百大榜：台積、高通、SEL、工研院拔得頭籌〉一文。
Lastly, a total of 62,193 patent applications were granted in 2018, including 36,147 invention patents, 18,559 utility model patents, and 7,487 design patents. Compared to 2017, the numbers of invention and utility model patents were down 21% and 2.5%, respectively, whereas design patents were 4.8% up.
Of those, 11,269 grants were earned by applicants from Japan, 6,051 from China, 1,787 from Korea and 1,161 from Germany. For detailed information in terms of the patent types and rankings, please refer to the attached graphics and the article “TSMC, Qualcomm, SEL Lead the Patent Rankings 2018 in Taiwan” published earlier.