Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this articl with those for 20+ other jurisdictions.
Applying for a patent
What are the criteria for patentability in your jurisdiction?
The criteria for patentability in Taiwan include:
- statutory subject matter;
- written descriptions;
- industrial applicability;
- novelty; and
The subject matter of an invention must include the creation of technical ideas using the laws of nature.
The subject matter of a utility model must include the creation of technical ideas related to the shape or structure of an article or combination of articles using the laws of nature.
The subject matter of a design must include the creation of visual appeal in respect of the shape, pattern, colour or any combination thereof of an article as a whole or in part.
What are the limits on patentability?
An invention patent will not be granted for:
- animals, plants and essentially biological processes for the production of animals or plants, except processes for producing micro-organisms;
- diagnostic, therapeutic or surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals; or
- inventions that are contrary to public order or morality.
A utility model patent will not be granted if it is contrary to public order or morality.
A design patent will not be granted for the following:
- the shape of an article that is solely dictated by its function;
- fine art;
- the layout of integrated circuits and electronic circuits; or
- an article that is contrary to public order or morality.
To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?
To determine whether a software-related invention meets the definition of an ‘invention’, the content of the claimed invention – rather than the recitation form of the claims – must be considered in order to identify whether the invention (as a whole) is of a technical nature. If a portion of the claimed invention does not use the laws of nature, it will still meet the definition of an ‘invention’.
Judgments are made based on the technical features recited in the claims; but due to the special nature of software-related inventions, the specification must also be reviewed in order to understand the essential meaning of each feature of the claim. Therefore, during examination, an omnibus judgment is conducted by examining the invention in the claims as a whole and examining the specification, drawings and common knowledge at the time of filing in order to determine the problems intended to be solved by the invention and the technical means for solving the problems, with reference to common knowledge at the time of filing.
If the claims do not specifically recite essential technical features, but – after referring to the specification, drawings and common knowledge at the time of filing – the examiner finds that as a whole the invention is of a technical nature, but is not related only to the laws of nature, mathematical formulae, business methods, artificial rules, information disclosure or aesthetical creation, he or she will request that the applicant respond or make amendments on the grounds that the claims are unclear. If the examiner finds that software or hardware plays a significant role in the invention, but that the specification does not clearly or sufficiently disclose this (eg, how the software and hardware cooperate or how the problems are solved), he or she will consider whether a person skilled in the art could implement the invention.
To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?
If a business method is merely an artificial rule (eg, a social rule, empirical law or economic principle) and does not use the laws of nature, it will not meet the definition of an ‘invention’. However, if a business method uses computer-related techniques in its implementation, it will be judged based on those techniques.
To what extent can inventions relating to stem cells be patented?
If an invention uses embryonic stem cells that have the potential to develop into a human, it will be considered contrary to public order or morality and thus will be unpatentable. Examples include human embryonic totipotent stem cells and methods of cultivating or proliferating human embryonic totipotent stem cells. Human embryonic pluripotent stem cells – which are separated from human embryonic totipotent stem cells – have no potential to develop into a human; therefore, they are not contrary to public order or morality.
Are there restrictions on any other kinds of invention?
No other restrictions apply.