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TIPO Statistics Report: Patent and Trademark Applications in 2014(Source: MOEA)

In 2014, TIPO received a total of 78,014 patent applications (6.2% less than 2013) and 46,378 invention patent applications (a near 10% drop, or 4,811 applications less, in two years). In trademark, applications (75,933) saw a 2.6% increase. TIPO sees the trend is moving toward the direction where government agencies, the industries, and academia have now focused their attention on utilizing limited resources to optimize patent quality and value. Compared to 2013, the number of invention (46,378), utility model (23,488), and design patent applications (8,148) saw an overall decrease (Figure 1). This overall drop was mainly caused by a 12.3% slump in invention applications (19,054, or -2,676) filed by Taiwan nationals, with the total number of invention applications concluded at a -5.8% (-2,840) dip (Figure 2). Invention applications filed by Taiwan nationals saw a three-year decline (19%), hitting the lowest point in ten years. In all, corporation shifting emphasis on patent quality, as well as budget cut in government funding to academic and research institutes, who are now becoming conservative patent applicants, may have contributed to declining invention applications. On the other hand, applications filed by foreign nationals in 2014 dipped only slightly (-1.1%), with Japan and the US occupying the top two positions (Figure 3). Japan saw a marked decrease (-474, or -3.8%; -240, or -16.8%) in its invention patent (11,945) and design applications (1,188), respectively. Third-placed South Korea concluded with a 46.7% (-150) plunge in design applications (171). This may have been caused by Taiwan amended Patent Act of 2013 that broadens the scope of protection for partial design, icon design and design for a set of articles, thereby encouraging applicants to convert their design applications and associated designs to partial and associated designs, respectively. It is noteworthy that mainland China shows significant growth in the overall patent applications, with invention applications (1,319) registering a marked growth (+172, or +15.0%) (Figure 4). As a result of the marked decline in invention applications filed by Taiwan nationals, the percentage of invention applications filed by foreign nationals grew from 55.8% in 2013 to 58.9% in 2014 of the overall applications (Figure 5). This growth attests to foreign applicant recognition of TIPO years of dedication to improving examination quality and facilitating examination cooperation with other IP offices. With relatively smaller number compared to invention applications, utility model applications (1,353) filed by foreign nationals saw an upward incline of 13.9%, maintaining a steady growth over the past decade. Over the years, TIPO has put a lot of effort to implementing its patent backlog clearing project that includes measures such as processing priority cases, digitally managing application process, as well as examiners providing mutual support. The number of first office actions (62,413) issued in 2014 saw a 3.9% decrease from 2013. However, the number of rendered decisions (70,206) was up by 4.2%, far exceeding that of substantive examination requests (41,168) (Figure 6). In December 2014, first office action pendency and disposal pendency for invention patent application averaged 21.2 and 29.7 months (Figure 7), respectively, both hitting a six-year low. With full exertion of examination capacity, the number of pending invention patent applications was down from the peak (160,479) in 2011 to the seven-year low (100,041) in 2014. In trademark, a total of 75,933 applications for registration were received at TIPO, registering a 2.6% increase over 2013 (Figure 8). Applications (19,716) filed by foreign nationals were 1,023 more than 2013, growing from 25.3% to 26.0% of all the applications filed in 2014 (Figure 9). This growth indicates that foreign corporations are becoming more active in planning out economic schemes in Taiwan. Applications (56,217) filed by Taiwan nationals saw a slight increase (+1.6%, or +879) over 2013. Of the top-three trademark filing countries, the US (3,799) continued to lead with a slight 2.8% increase; Japan (3,452) remained at second with a slight 3.9% drop (-141). Mainland China in the third place concluded with a significant increase in application number (3,263) and growth rate (+15.3%, or +433), gradually narrowing its gap from the top two trademark filing countries (Figure 10). In addressing the problem of declining number of patent applications, TIPO near the end of 2014 conducted a survey and called a series of meetings to solicit expert opinions from academia and industrial sectors. Tangible measures were also incorporated into TIPO annual IPR work project, focusing on improving patent examination quality and efficacy, expanding international and cross-strait IPR exchanges, creating a well-rounded e-filing environment, and providing assistance to corporations in establishing patent portfolios. In compliance with the National Guidelines for IP Strategies ratified by the Executive Yuan in 2012, TIPO will continue to bring together resources from other government agencies towards developing a national innovation system, while also providing strong support to patent applicants.