All questions

Intellectual property and data protection

i Copyright

Under Taiwan's Copyright Act, there are no registration or filing requirements for a copyright to be protected by law. However, there are certain features that qualify for a copyright, such as originality and expression. Therefore, while there is a type of copyright called 'computer program copyright' under Taiwan's Copyright Act, whether a work is copyrightable would still depend on whether the subject work has the required components (such as the features described above), especially the feature 'expression' (instead of simply an 'abstract idea'). As to a new copyright developed by an employee of a company during the course of employment, where a work is completed by an employee within the scope of employment, the employee is the author of the work while the economic rights to such work will be enjoyed by the employer unless otherwise agreed by the parties. As to a new copyright developed by a contractor, the contractor who actually makes the work is the author of the work unless otherwise agreed by the parties; the enjoyment of the economic rights arising from the work should be agreed by the parties, or such rights should be enjoyed by the contractor in the absence of such agreement. However, the commissioning party may use the work.

ii Patent

As to patent, an inventor may file an application with Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office, and the patent right will be obtained once the application is approved. According to the Patent Act of Taiwan, the subject of a patent right is 'invention' and an invention means the creation of technical ideas, utilising the laws of nature. As a general rule, business methods are regarded as using social or business rules rather than laws of nature, and therefore may not be the subject of a patent right. As for a fintech-related software invention, if it coordinates the software and hardware to process the information, and there is a technical effect in its operation, it might become patentable. For instance, a 'method of conducting foreign exchange transaction' would be deemed as a business method and thus not patentable; however, a 'method of using financial information system to process foreign exchange transactions' may be patentable. As to a new patent developed by an employee of a company during the course of employment, the right of an invention made by an employee during the course of performing his or her duties under employment will be vested in his or her employer and the employer should pay the employee reasonable remuneration unless otherwise agreed by the parties. As to a new invention developed by a contractor, the agreement between the parties should prevail, or such rights should be vested in the inventor or developer in the absence of such agreement. However, if there is a fund provider, the funder may use such invention.

iii Data protection

In Taiwan, personal information is protected by Taiwan's PDPA; the collection, processing and use of any personal data are generally subject to notice and consent requirements under the PDPA. Pursuant to the PDPA, personal data is defined broadly as: the name, date of birth, ID Card number, passport number, characteristics, fingerprints, marital status, family, education, occupation, medical record, medical treatment, genetic information, sexual life, health examination, criminal record, contact information, financial conditions, social activities and other information that may directly or indirectly identify an individual.

Under the PDPA, unless otherwise specified under law, a company is generally required to give notice to (notice requirement) and obtain consent from (consent requirement) an individual before collecting, processing or using any of said individual's personal information, subject to certain exemptions. To satisfy the notice requirement, certain matters must be communicated to the individual, such as the purposes for which his or her data is collected, the type of the personal data and the term, area and persons authorised to use the data.

Given the above, if a fintech company wishes to collect, process or use any personal data, it will be subject to the obligations under the PDPA as advised above.