台灣《專利法》11月起鬆綁多項限制

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Newly Passed Amendment to Taiwan’s Patent Law: Relaxation of D.A. Requirement, Longer Term of Design Protection, Revised Invalidation Procedure

English Version

我立法院 4月16 日通過行政院 107年底提出的〈專利法部分條文修正草案〉,這次修法對內配合經濟法規的鬆綁,對外因應國際規範的調整,進一步完善制度、提升審查效能,以利產業創新,相關條文 11月1日起正式生效。其中重點內容包括:設計專利權保護期間由12年延長為15年,分割申請案之適用範圍及期限予以放寬等七項重點,扼要說明如下:

The amendment bill to Taiwan’s Patent Act approved by the Executive Yuan in late 2018 was passed on April 16, 2019, by the Legislative Yuan. It extends the term of protection for design patents from 12 to 15 years. The bill aims to create a more robust patent protection system, enhance the case review efficiency of patent remedies and promote industrial innovation. It will be effective on November 1.

A total of 17 articles were included in the amendments. Seven major changes introduced are summarized below:

一、擴大發明及新型專利申請案分割的適用範圍及期限 (修正條文第34條、第46條、第71條、第107條、第119條及第120條)

發明專利申請案若要申請分割,現行《專利法》規定,僅能在收到初審核准審定書後30日內提出,修法同時放寬申請分割的適用範圍及申請期限:發明專利申請案的分割,可於再審查核准審定書送達後3個月內申請;同時開放新型專利申請案的分割,可於核准處分書送達後3個月內申請。

上述修正內容對應到《專利法施行細》第29條規定的審查實務,將「…應自其說明書或圖式所揭露之發明且非屬原申請案核准審定之申請專利範圍,申請分割….」等規定,提升於《專利法》明定,並將違反前述規定者,列為不予專利事由、及舉發事由。

台灣《專利法》修法擴大專利分割案的適用範圍及申請期限

Restrictions relaxed on divisional patent applications of intentions and utility models for longer deadline and boarder applicable scope(Article 34, 46, 71, 107, 119 and 120)

According to the current Patent Act, divisional patent applications, allowable only for eligible inventions, shall be filed “within 30 days after the date on which an approval decision for the original patent application is served.” The amendments relax the time limit from 30 days to three (3) months upon receiving the approval or reexamination decision for the original application. The new stipulation applies to patent applications for not only inventions, but also utility models. 

The related provision in Article 29 of the Enforcement Rules of the Patent Act which prescribes “ a request for division ….. is filed based on the invention(s) disclosed in the description or the drawing(s), but not those claims that have been approved in the original patent application…..” will be added to the Patent Act. Any causes in violation of said provision shall be regarded as the grounds for unpatentability and invalidation. 

二、提升舉發審查效能 (修正條文第73條、第74條及第77條)

專利權無效的舉發程序,常因舉發人不斷補提理由及證據、或專利權人不斷更正,使得審查效率一再延宕,為了改善這種情況,草案修正舉發人能夠補提舉發理由或證據之期限,從1個月延長至3個月,逾期提出者即不予審酌。另針對舉發案件審查期間,專利權人得申請更正的條件及限制,也加以進一步規範。

Review-efficiency improvement of invalidation proceedings(Article 73, 74 and 77)

In order to avoid undue delay in invalidation proceedings, the amendments impose restrictions on invalidation actions that the grounds and evidence for invalidation shall be submitted within three (3) months, i.e. relaxed from one (1) month, after the date of filing the said action. Any submission after the required period shall not be examined. There is also new restrictions on post-grant amendment during the invalidation action in the amendments. 

三、修正新型專利申請更正之時點、及新型更正案之審查方式 (修正條文第118條)

新型專利更正案的審查,由目前的形式審查改為實體審查,新型專利更正案的申請時間點,限於該新型專利有舉發案件審理中、申請的新型技術報告受理中、或訴訟案件繫屬中。

Amended Stipulation for filing post-grant amendment of utility model patents (Article 118)

The post-grant amendment of utility model patent shall be rendered after substantive examination, instead of the formality examination stipulated currently. It can be filed only when said utility model patent is under invalidation proceedings, under litigation, or after its request for a technical evaluation report being accepted.

四、設計專利權期限由12年延長為15年 (修正條文第135條)

為了回應外界延長設計專利權期限之建言,參考《海牙協定(有關工業設計國際寄存之海牙協定)》簽署國多數國家的設計專利權期限為15年,修法將現行設計專利權期限,由12年延長為15年。

The term of design patents extended to 15 years from the filing date (Article 135)

The protection term of design patents is extended from currently twelve (12) years to fifteenth (15) years, to be exact, from the filing date of the application in response to the industrial propositions on the issue and following international practices. 

設計專利保護期延長至15年

五、 專利檔案保存年限調整(修正條文第143條)

為了解決專利檔案儲存空間不足的問題,參考國際立法例,將現行專利檔案之申請相關書件的「應永久保存」規定,修正為具保存價值者永久保存,其餘改為30年以下之定期保存。詳細而言,專利檔案的申請書件、說明書、摘要、圖示及圖說經,經專利專責機關認定具保存價值者,應永久保存。

前項以外的專利檔案,發明專利案(除經審定准予專利者保存30年外)應保存20年,新型專利案(除經處分准予專利者保存15年外)應保存10年,設計專利案(除經審定准予專利者保存20年外)應保存15年。 

Controlled preservation of patent-related records(Article 143)

Due to insufficient storage space and following international practices, only patent files, such as application documents, description, claim(s), abstract, drawing(s), with confirmed enduring value shall be preserved permanently. Other patent-related documents shall be kept for a period of no more than thirty (30) years in the amendments. 

More specifically, patent-related documents shall be retained for twenty (20) years for inventions, ten (10) years for utility models and fifteen (15) years for designs, unless otherwise approved. As for patents reviewed and approved by the authority purposely, the related documents shall be retained for thirty (30) year for invention, fifteen (15) years for utility models and twenty (20) years for designs.   

六、其他健全法制事項 (修正條文第29條及第57條)

《專利法》第28條規定,主張外國優先權的發明專利申請人,在其國外首次申請專利之日起12個月內向我國申請專利,就可以主張國際優先權;第29條則規定,主張外國優先權的申請人,應該於最早之優先權日後16個月內檢送規定之證明文件,未於專利申請日同時主張優先權的申請人,則得於相同時間內申請恢復優先權並檢送證明文件。此次修法進一步釐清,未於最早之優先權日後16個月內檢送優先權證明文件,不屬於得回復主張優先權的事由。

另就專利權期間延長的舉發事由,刪除現行《專利法》第57條第1項第6款,以避免可能誤解,因為《專利權期間延長核定辦法》第4條第1項第1款、及第6條第1項第1款規定,醫藥品、農藥品或其製造方法可以申請延長專利權的時間,是以中央目的事業主管機關核發藥品許可證、或農藥許可證所採認的試驗期間為準,無須審就該發明是否曾在外國申請延長專利權。

Amendments to support the rule of law development (Article 29 and 57)

Applicants claiming priority, in accordance with Article 28, shall submit a certified copy of the first patent application, which indicating when and where it’s filed, within sixteen (16) months after the earliest priority date. 

Currently, Article 29 provides that applicants, who unintentionally fail to claim priority at the time of filing, may apply for reinstatement of priority claim within the same period. The draft amendment further clarifies that the priority claim shall be deemed not to have been made if the applicant fails to either apply the reinstatement or submit the required documentation within the 16-month time limit. 

In addition, Subparagraph 6, Paragraph 1, Article 57 of the Act is deleted from the listed invalidation grounds of patent term extension. Because the periods of time allowable for patent term extension include the period of domestic and/or foreign clinical trials conducted to obtain a pharmaceutical or agrichemical approval from the central competent authority in charge (Ministry of Health and Welfare or Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan) according to Subparagraph 1, Paragraph 1, Article 4 and Subparagraph 1, Paragraph 1, Article 6 of the Regulations for Ratifying Extension of Patent Term. It is not relevant whether or how long any foreign patent authority has approved a patent term extension to the pharmaceutical or agrichemical. 

七、增訂過渡條款

明定新舊法律過渡適用規定,包括本次修正施行前尚未審定之專利申請案、舉發案、更正案,應以適用新法為原則;並針對擴大核准審定後的分割申請、延長設計專利權期限等事項,明定適用原則。

 Transitional arrangements(Article 157-2, 157-3 and 157-4 )

At the time the amended Patent Act comes into force, pending application for design patents, post-grant amendment of utility model and invalidation proceedings, as well as divisional applications for eligible inventions and utility models, shall apply the newly amended Act. The amendments shall also apply to design patents in effect and extinguished for failure to pay annuities in time. 

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