Taiwan’s IP Office (TIPO) published on November 26, 2019 a draft amendment to the Trademark Act after holding a hearing. All sectors of the community are invited to render their opinions in two months from publication of the draft.
Hereinafter we would like to summarize the main points of the amendment for your ready reference:
Under the current Trademark Law, any person may act as a trademark agent so long as he/she has a residence in Taiwan. The draft amendment stipulates that, apart from lawyers or other persons who are surely entitled to act as trademark agents, TIPO may formulate relevant rules and regulations governing the qualifications, management, and revocation of the registration of trademark agents.
Official documents can be served electronically according to the draft amendment.
In addition to natural and legal persons, the draft amendment provides that partnership organizations, administrative organizations, non-corporate bodies established in accordance with the relevant laws or stores registered under the Commercial Registration Law may also file trademark applications.
An expedited examination system is added. When filing a trademark application, the applicant may request TIPO to expedite examination with submission of the fact and reasons surrounding such request.
The current Trademark Act provides that a certified copy of the basic application needs to be submitted to TIPO as a supporting document in the case of claiming priority for a trademark application filed in Taiwan. The draft amendment relaxes this requirement and mandates that, any type of documents can be accepted as a supporting document for claiming priority, provided that the document which has evidential effect is issued by the relevant TIPO. On this score, the applicant may claim priority with submission of a certificate of registration.
The current Trademark Act provides that no one is allowed to register a trademark which comprises or is composed of the name of a famous juristic person, store, or other organization and thus likely to confuse the related consumers. The draft amendment expands such protection by prohibiting registration of a trademark which comprises or is composed of a name the same as or similar to the name of a famous juristic person, store, or other organization and thus likely to confuse the related consumers.
Articles 30.1.15 &57.2
Currently, a trademark is statutorily unregistrable in case it was determined in a final and irrevocable court ruling that the trademark has infringed upon a copyright, patent, or other legal right owned by a third party. Based on the reason that TIPO is not in the capacity to verify the authenticity of the facts surrounding a private right dispute at the trademark filing stage, the IP Office, according to the draft amendment, will not address any registrability issue during the prosecution of an application for a trademark judged to have infringed upon another’s IP right. However, a third party may initiate an invalidation action questioning the registrability of such trademark before TIPO based on a court ruling.
According to the current Trademark Act, “fair use” is not restricted by another’s exclusive right to a trademark. The draft amendment makes it more clear that either “descriptive fair use” or “nominative fair use” shall be deemed to be “fair use”.
The “international exhaustion of trademark right” doctrine is embraced by the current Trademark Act. The draft amendment adds an exception to said doctrine, under which a trademark holder may still claim his right to the trademark if the branded goods circulating in the market have been processed and refurbished by a third party.
A non-use cancellation action can be filed against a registered trademark if it has not been put to use for three years after its registration. The draft amendment makes it clear that when a registered trademark is canceled finally and irrevocably due to non-use, the right to said trademark shall be deemed extinguished from the filing date of the cancellation action initiated by TIPO ex officio or by a third party .