On February 1, 2018, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office executed a temporary Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot arrangement. Now if TIPO or CIPO approve an applicant’s claim, the applicant can ask the other office to process their respective claim faster. According to CIPO, the goal of this agreement is to improve “patent quality” and decrease “examination workload”.
One interesting factor about this arrangement is Taiwan is usually somewhat isolated from the international community with regards to intellectual property law. Taiwan is not signatory to the Berne Convention or the Madrid Protocol. Despite implementing a PPH arrangement with Canada, Taiwan is not a member of the Global PPH. Taiwan seems to be taking a step away from this general isolation.
Additionally, this PPH arrangement has come at a particularly geopolitically relevant time. In late 2017, the Government of Canada expressed interest in raising its profile in Asia. With a Patent Prosecution Highway between CIPO and the European Patent Office leading to an increase in respective patent filings, Canada might have felt a PPH with Taiwan would lead to a similar result. Taiwan is a major player in the semiconductor manufacturing and fabrication space and this PPH may enable Canadian companies to obtain intellectual property rights faster in this market.
On Taiwan’s side, the Taiwanese President wants Canada to support Taiwan’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. They might feel joining the PPH signals their commitment to international agreements.
With all this in mind, it will be interesting to see what happens next.