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Protecting Offshore Wind Technology in Taiwan

Protecting Offshore Wind Technology in Taiwan

Industry news 30/04/2018

As part of the Taiwanese government’s drive to increase the amount of renewable energy generated in Taiwan, it was announced in January 2018 that environmental permits had been issued to nine Offshore Wind developers based in Taiwan and Europe. These permits will allow the developers to compete in May 2018 for over 5GW of contracts for the development of Offshore Wind projects.

The drive to expand Taiwan’s renewal energy capability will inevitably lead to innovative advances in this technological sector. As well as being potentially commercially valuable, such advances may well be patentable, and therefore a decision may be taken to pursue patent protection in Taiwan.

A peculiarity of Taiwan is that it is one of only a handful of countries which are not signatories to the international Patent Cooperation Treaty. The Patent Cooperation Treaty is an agreement that enables applicants seeking to obtain global patent protection to file a single international patent application, rather than separate patent applications in individual countries. The Treaty is intended to help defer, and in some circumstances reduce, costs and so is used widely by many companies as part of their filing strategy as an alternative to direct filings.

Since Taiwan is not a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, a patent application must be filed directly, and typically at the same time as an international patent application is filed. Failure to do so can lead to an irrevocable loss of patent rights in Taiwan which would leave others free to use a company’s proprietary technology in Taiwan.

Therefore, if Taiwan is a valuable strategic market, a decision on whether to seek patent protection for key technology, such as technology that improves efficiency, robustness, serviceability or prolongs the useful life of a wind turbine, should be made at the same time as filing an international application. This will ensure that the opportunity to secure strong valid protection in Taiwan is not missed.

If you would like to discuss patent protection of Offshore Wind Technology, in Taiwan or other jurisdictions, please contact us.