Patent attorneys
Inventors
Judges and other leadership roles
Measures to improve female participation


According to the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), the number of new female patent applicants in 2021 accounted for 15.18% of all applications filed by Taiwanese individuals, indicating a considerable gender imbalance in the participation of women. While women's involvement in the field has increased over the years, questions regarding gender gaps in IP ownership and innovation remain.

Patent attorneys

TIPO statistics show that the percentages of women passing the national patent attorney exam from 2018 to 2021 were 38.33%, 37.5% and 40.68%, respectively. These figures roughly correspond to the proportion of women pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines (approximately 36-37%) during the same period, as reported by the Ministry of Education.

From the inaugural national patent attorney exam in 2008 to 2021, the number of women passing the exam has gradually increased. However, the number of female patent attorneys is still relatively low: women represent only 156 out of 531 members of the Taiwan Patent Attorneys Association. This may be due to the traditionally lower representation of women in STEM fields. Accordingly, the question remains whether women in Taiwan face more challenges in IP-related areas, especially regarding careers.

Inventors

The Taiwan Innotech Expo was held in Taiwan in 2021. It featured participants from 24 countries and exhibited over 1,300 patented inventions. According to the TIPO, the participation rate of teams from Taiwan with female members was 46.26% of the total number of exhibitors; 43.37% of the award-winning entries were created by such teams. This would suggest that women are keeping up with men in both quantity and quality of technological research and development efforts.

Judges and other leadership roles

In terms of women's involvement in the IP arena, women consistently equal or exceed their male counterparts' performance in the field. For example, in the Intellectual Property and Commercial Court of Taiwan, 10 out of 18 judges are female. Further, two out of four presidents appointed since the court's establishment in 2008 have been women, including the current appointee. The current president of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association Taiwan Group is also a woman. Clearly, women are every bit as capable as their male colleagues in the field.

Measures to improve female participation

Notwithstanding Taiwanese women's achievements in the IP field, governments and organisations can take further steps to promote gender equity and encourage increased participation by women – for example:

  • increasing opportunities for education and professional development for women in STEM fields;
  • enhancing diversity in hiring and promotion within the IP industry; and
  • introducing incentives such as reducing the official fees for granted patents and applications filed or invented by women.

For further information on this topic please contact Hsiu-Ru Chien at Lee and Li Attorneys at Law by telephone (+886 2 2763 8000) or email ([email protected]). The Lee and Li Attorneys at Law website can be accessed at www.leeandli.com.