A memorandum on a TW-JP cooperation program on the deposit of biological materials for patent purposes was signed on November 20, 2014. The joint measure will facilitate filing procedures for patent applications involving biological materials and which are filed both with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO). The mutual recognition of the deposit of biological materials for patent applications involving a biological material or utilization of a biological material will be available, and this is anticipated to alleviate the burden placed on applicants resulting from having to make duplicate deposits in Taiwan and Japan.

TIPO will promulgate the “Guidelines for TW-JP Mutual Cooperation of Deposits of Biological Materials for the Purposes of Patent Procedures” based on the memorandum. The effective date for this cooperation program will be specified after the completion of the relevant preparations by both TIPO and JPO.

Taiwan and Japan have developed close trade and economic relations. Among the international deposits of biological materials for patents made to the Taiwan deposit institution, Japan tops all other countries with the most applications. Over the last 20 years, a total of 600 applications for the deposit of biological materials for patents were made by Japanese applicants, which only trailed applications for the deposit of biological materials made by local Taiwanese applicants. The Budapest Treaty dictates that biological material can be deposited at any of the international deposit institutions recognized by said Treaty. That is, no duplicate deposit in each country is required for a multinational application. However, since Taiwan is not party to the Budapest Treaty, it may not request samples of biological materials deposited at international deposit institutions. For this reason, in the case of a patent application filed in Taiwan by a Japanese applicant, a duplicate deposit in Taiwan is required.

Based on the memorandum of the TW-JP mutual cooperation program on the deposit of biological materials for patent application, the intellectual property offices in Japan and Taiwan will recognize the deposit of biological materials in a local deposit institution of the other country, and therefore no duplicate deposit is needed for patent applications involving biological materials. In addition, for a patent application that has already been filed in Taiwan whose biological material is deposited at an international deposit institution inJapan, the applicant can request for furnishing the biological materials from Japan.

This new program will enable an applicant to choose to deposit biological materials for a patent application either in Taiwan or in Japan. The multiple choices of the deposit institutions may eliminate the inconvenience of international deposit of biological materials to the patent applicants. Taiwanese applicants may also deposit at an international deposit institution located in Japan to reduce the costs associated with duplicate deposits when filing patent applications in a number of different countries.

[Data Source: the TIPO website]