2018 EU-Taiwan Seminar on IP Capacity Building for SMEs, Academia and Research Institutes
臺歐協助中小企業、學研機構強化智財能力建構研討會
25 April 2018

Report Download HERE.

The European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), under the framework of the European Business and Regulatory Cooperation (EBRC) programme, co-hosted the seminar together with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). The full-day seminar brought together experts from Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) authorities in both the EU and Taiwan and academic research institutions to share policies and best practices regarding intellectual protection capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities, and research institutions. The seminar, which was attended by an audience of 185, began with opening remarks by the guests of honour, which was followed by presentations under two main topics: IP capacity building for academic and research institutions and IP capacity building for SMEs. Each session was followed by an interactive Q&A session. 

Organisers

Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)
European Economic and Trade Office (EETO)
European Business and Regulatory Cooperation Programme (EBRC)

Guests of honour

Ms HONG Shu-Min, Director-General, TIPO 
Mr Thomas JÜRGENSEN, Deputy Head, European Economic and Trade Office

Speakers

Mr Benoît LORY, Minister Counsellor, IP Attaché, EU Delegation in Beijing
Ms TU Chun-Yi, Deputy Director-General, Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) 
Mr Jorg WEBERNDORFER, Senior Intellectual Property Rights Expert, DG Trade, European Commission
Mr Joseph WANG, Business Manager, Technology Transfer and Law Center, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) 
Ms Aida BALBUENA-DIEZ, Project Officer, European IPR SME Helpdesk in China
Ms Gloria WU, Deputy General Director, Science & Technology Law Institute, Institute for Information Industry (III) 
Mr Ignacio de MEDRANO CABALLERO, Project Leader, IP Key SEA & ARISE + IPR, European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Bangkok
Ms Aileen CHANG, COO, WISPRO Technology Consulting Corporation
Mr KAO Tso-Liang, Director, Information Service Division, TIPO, MOEA

Opening remarks

In her remarks Ms Hong said that the building of Intellectual Property capabilities is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as academic and research institutes. SMEs have always been the backbone of industries of all nations, including in Taiwan, where they account for about 98% of Taiwan’s enterprises. However, given that SMEs often lack resources, they often overlook IPR issues. This is therefore an important issue to address. Academic and research institutes are good at researching and developing new technologies, and enterprises are good at commercialisation. Through collaboration between academic and research institutes, R&D could be guided towards aligning with the needs of industry. 

In his remarks Mr Jürgensen mentioned some cases where small companies have won cases against industry giants, indicating that IP rights are not only for big and powerful companies but that they can also benefit other stakeholders, such as SMEs. Today, only a small number of SMEs and start-ups use IP rights either because they lack the necessary knowledge and expertise or because they find procedures to protect their IP rights too costly. Yet, IP rights are the key to protecting the intangible assets of companies and to allow them to profit from their creations and innovations. Helping SMEs or academic and research institutes to access and make use of the IP system can therefore lead to higher returns from their innovation efforts and give them easier access to finance. Knowing how to manage IP is also essential for increasing competitiveness domestically and across borders. 

The European Commission is putting forward a package of actions to support start-ups and SMEs with their intellectual property: The Commission's “Start-up and Scale-up Initiative” aims to give Europe’s many innovative entrepreneurs the opportunity to become the world’s next leading companies. The initiative puts emphasis on facilitating the regulatory environment, IP protection, venture capital investment insolvency law and taxation. In addition, Horizon 2020 fosters ecosystems where start-ups can connect with potential partners such as investors, business partners, universities and research centres. Also, in 2017, the Commission put forward proposals for a “Single Digital Gateway” that provides easy online access to single market information, procedures, assistance and advice for citizens and businesses. These initiatives go hand-in-hand with the European IPR Helpdesk which offers free support on IP and IPR matters to beneficiaries of EU-funded research projects and EU SMEs involved in transnational partnership agreements.

Session 1: IP capacity building for academic and research institutions

Topic: EU academic cooperation projects

Speaker: Mr Benoît LORY, Minister Counsellor & IP attaché, EU Delegation in Beijing

The speaker shared EU experience in IP capacity building. He began by stressing the importance of education and culture in developing capacity building. He said that innovation is one of the engines of economic growth, which is why there is a need for a better understanding of the IP component. The objectives of EU academic cooperation are to enhance Europe’s capacity to foster innovation-based sustainable economic growth, provide political leaders and stakeholders with reliable conclusions and recommendations, improve intellectual property training and education structures in Europe and spread IP knowledge and IP awareness. The objectives have both a domestic dimension through the European Patent Academy, the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Academy and the European IP Institutes Network Innovation Society (EIPIN-Innovation Society), as well as an international dimension.

The European Patent Office (EPO) Academy is the external education and training arm of the EPO.

Set up in 2004, the academy operates in partnership with a broad range of national and international institutions, including the EUIPO. It was the first academy of its kind created in Europe and is the most comprehensive such programme. The EUIPO is the EU institution that deals with the registration of patents. It has 38 members (including EU Member States plus Switzerland and other countries). The academy has developed an extensive network with Member States and universities, including Zurich University in Switzerland. The academy's activities are divided into four programme areas covering the following target audiences: National patent offices and related institutions, professional representatives, judges and legal professionals, universities and research centres, businesses and SMEs. Online training (e-learning modules) is available.

The academy focuses on four types of training and target audiences: 

Institutional strengthening focuses on the training needs of national patent office staff from current and potential Member States, along with staff of government institutions and other public-sector employees. Trainees from non-Member States are also welcome. 

Professional representatives: In a programme developed in conjunction with universities, the academy coordinates and supports training for professional representatives, not only as they start out in their chosen careers, but also in their continuing development.

Judicial training supports and develops training initiatives for judges and other legal professionals, with a view to harmonising patent enforcement and litigation practice in Europe. There is still no unified European patent system in Europe. While patents may be registered through the EIPO, litigation differs widely since it is still handled by local courts. Brexit is also likely to have an impact in the process towards harmonisation. 

Academia and business focus on raising awareness of intellectual property in further and higher education and informing industry and policy-makers about making the most of the intellectual property system and developing effective patent strategies. SMEs are a specifically targeted group since they have less power and less access to IP knowledge and the latest trends. With training they have the opportunity to learn how best to protect themselves and how to approach litigation. The training is not just one-sided as cooperation with industry professionals, who offer their experience and feedback, helps the academy to improve its offerings.

The academy's supervisory board, composed of one representative from each of seven contracting states to the European Patent Convention, is a subsidiary body of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. It also includes permanent observers from the European Commission, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Business Europe. Members of the supervisory board are appointed for a (non-renewable) three-year term. 

The executive director of the academy is appointed by the president of the EPO. The academic advisory board, chaired by the executive director of the academy, delivers opinions on the annual work programme, education, training policies and guidelines, and formulates appropriate recommendations and proposals. This allows for constant innovation and enrichment of the programme. 

The EUIPO academy encompasses all the learning and educational activities for EUIPO staff, staff of the Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) of EU Member States, EUIPO’s users, academia and the public at large. The academy is a body of the EUIPO run by a director and assisted by two heads of service. It was established in May 2011 with two main objectives: To provide EUIPO staff with a career-long learning path and to build EUIPO’s capacity and reputation as a centre of excellence in IP. The academy forms a vital part of the European Trade Mark and Design Network. Through the learning and knowledge sharing activities of this network, staff from EU national and regional IP offices, as well as IP specialists from across the European Union and beyond, are brought together.

The EUIPO academy has developed a training catalogue, which is available online, and learning materials, which covers training in general IP topics to specific courses covering all aspects of trade mark and design registration. The academy also works in partnership with other international institutions like the European Patent Academy and the WIPO.

The EUIPO academy also coordinates the involvement of the EUIPO in the EIPIN-Innovation Society PhD programme, a joint doctorate in intellectual property funded by the EU Commission. As a partner organisation, the EUIPO provides speakers for conferences and seminars, grants access to EUIPO intellectual property data and to the EUIPO’s online training catalogue, as well as supporting dissemination initiatives like the publication of theses. In addition, researchers taking part in the joint doctorate programme can also take part in on-site research visits.

The EIPIN-Innovation Society is a Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Action, established in 2016. The primary research objective of the programme is to provide political leaders and stakeholders with reliable conclusions and recommendations in the form of doctoral IP research on how to deal with the adaptive complexities of innovation cycles that secure economic benefits and uphold justice in the innovation society. Europe is good at innovation but often gets lost in the transformation of innovative ideas into commercial products and services. As part of the EU’s “2020 strategy”, the European Commission has articulated the desire to bring European research closer to business and underlined the extreme importance of industries based on immaterial assets and new technologies for the economy. EIPIN-Innovation Society’s mission is to contribute towards enhancing Europe’s innovation capacity in the globalizing world.

The society trains fifteen Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to present their research findings on a number of topics of great societal interest, and to guide inventors and entrepreneurs through the lifecycle of IP-intensive assets that takes human creativity into the marketplace. The EIPIN has partnered with five universities: the University of Alicante, the University of Strasbourg, Maastricht University, the University of Augsburg and the University of London.   

The international dimension comprises the EU-China IP Academic Network while the EU-ASEAN and the EU-Latin-America areas are under development. The EU-China IP Academic Network is an initiative to support exchange between European and Chinese universities specialising in intellectual property. The aim is to establish a sustainable mechanism to create opportunities to share ideas and conduct joint topical research to support policy making for the future. The network was launched during the first EU-China IP Forum in Suzhou organised by IP Key in May 2015. Since then it has been developed further in conjunction with European and Chinese universities in order to create a network that serves the objectives of both regions. In 2017 an MOU was signed between the EU and China to reinforce the regulatory dialogue mechanism and cooperation. Five components of academic cooperation are under development: an experts and alumni network, student exchanges, professorial exchanges, joint research projects and an annual IP forum. 

Challenges facing the EU-China IP Academic Network include the language barrier (although this is mitigated by translation), the lack of co-funding from host institutions and research grants as well as the problem of ensuring cooperation and coordinating the network in an efficient manner without duplicating efforts. 

The EU-CN Experts and Alumni Network aims to promote exchanges and mobility opportunities for EU and Chinese students and scholars, promote participation in the EU-China IP Research Programme, which promotes initiation and follow up of joint research in IP of EU and Chinese scholars. 

The objective of the EU-CN IP Academic Forum is to disseminate the main activities of the EU-China Experts and Alumni Network in an annual event, to be organised alternatively in EU and China on an annual basis. 

The overall long-term objective of EU-China academic exchanges is to harmonise practices between universities and encourage joint research on topics such as IP enforcement. 

The speaker concluded that in order to improve and develop IP policy, the relationship with other organisations and countries is essential and that the complexity of IP regulation and protection in a globalised world requires both a vertical and horizontal approach.

Topic: Strategy and practice of promoting academia-industry collaboration

Speaker: Ms TU Chun-Yi, Deputy Director-General, Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) 

Ms Tu began by giving an introduction to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the development of science parks and the involvement of relevant ministries in promoting academic-industry collaboration. 

Her department was only established in 2014 and covers cooperation with Taiwan’s science parks. 

The Hsinchu Science Park focuses on six industries: Integrated Circuits (IC), computers and peripherals, telecommunications, optoelectronics and precision machinery. The Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung focuses on ICs, precision machinery, optoelectronics, research and development and the cultural and creative industry. The Southern Taiwan Science Park focuses on optoelectronics, green energy, ICs, biotechnology, precision machinery, biotech and medical devices. The science parks generated revenues of NT$2,461 billion (in 2017) and employ 272,194 people in total. 

The MOST is dedicated to optimizing the research and innovation ecosystem and supporting academic research innovation on basic science to strengthen industrial innovation and development. It works in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE). The MOEA’s objective is to accelerate the development of industrial technology, spur innovation and create commercial value while the MOE works to promote outstanding innovation in higher education and set up industry-specific classes to strengthen vocational ability. 

The speaker noted that Taiwan is facing similar problems as the EU in that SMEs are not paying sufficient attention to IP issues. To survive and thrive they need to increase capability and meet market demand for innovative solutions, raise gross margins as well as find innovative talent. 

The Academia-Industry Cooperation (AIC) programme has funded 6,800 cases of academia-industry collaboration. More than 10,000 people from participating companies have been involved in the projects and 14,000 PhD or master’s students have been supported. 

She went on to highlight some examples of academic-industry cooperation. A “Non-contact Wireless Life Detection System” was invented by a team from National Sun Yat-Sen University. In this case, a technique from ITRI was applied to help to develop a prototype and test and match potential targets. Since then, a start-up was established which will be able to enter the medical industry. In a case involving National Chiao Tung University and a local hospital, a new technology and method was developed to detect eye diseases.

In another example, university academics collaborated with China Steel to develop innovative new steel products that are stronger, more durable and less polluting, thereby greatly increasing the added value of the entire supply chain. 

There are nine steps to go through to commercialise ideas: 1) Basic principles are observed and reported; 2) The technology concept and or application is formulated; 3) The concept is proved; 4) Basic technologies are developed; 5) Technologies are integrated; 6) Prototypes are demonstrated; 7) Applications are tested; 8) Systems are certified 9) Actual application commences.

The MOST is now exploring marketable R&D, to support academics to launch businesses together with industry players. The MOST aims to set up the “Taiwan Tech Arena” by June 2018 to assist start-ups to raise NT$500 million. There are four aspects of this strategy: In terms of talent development, doctoral students are sent to study in the new ventures or cooperation projects abroad. In terms of funding the Taiwan Tech Arena, it will collaborate with international accelerators to invest in early-stage start-ups. In terms of technology, the aim is to turn academic R&D results into start-ups. Finally, in terms of the market, the MOST assists Taiwanese start-up teams to achieve a foothold in the ecosystem of Silicon Valley and supports start-ups to attend international professional exhibitions (such as CES).

In terms of legislation, the Fundamental Science and Technology Act was amended last year, aimed at encouraging start-ups as well as the utilisation of research results, and defining the scope of conflicts of interest. For example, under the new act, researchers which hold administrative positions may now also serve as directors of start-ups and may hold up to 40% of the total shares in start-ups.

First Q&A session

Questions were posed about Taiwan’s science parks including who is in charge, who finances them, the relationship between the parks, how to avoid overlaps and how they are linked to universities. Ms Tu replied that science parks originated in the 1960s independently but that they fall under jurisdiction of the MOST. While the government provides funding from technology development funds, this is recovered from revenues from the parks. Since 2016 the parks have been able to cover their own costs. The technology focus of the parks is different [although there is some overlap]. The parks’ management teams have to report to the MOST. Committee meetings are held to discuss which kinds of tech companies have applied to invest in the parks and sometimes to identify and encourage specific companies to invest in the park most appropriate to the park’s specialisation. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for universities but the MOST provides some funding for high tech research. Brainstorming meetings are held to discuss new trends and areas for collaboration. For example, collaboration is ongoing with Israel to find out how that country has been successful in encouraging start-ups and how Taiwan can cooperate with universities in the EU and United States. 

On a question about the training programme at the EPO academy, Mr Lory said that training programmes are not compulsory for patent agents and agents do not need it to be registered at the EU level. The curriculum focuses on the latest developments in the EPO. 

Ms Tu asked Mr Lory how to encourage universities to protect IP. He replied that Horizon 2020 provides funding for research and an important component of the conditions to get funding is to have IP protection in place. 

On a question as to how to promote IP awareness in civil society, Mr Lory said that there is an observatory for IP which aims to provide knowledge and information of the impact of IP on European society. The EUIPO academy is also working on some projects directed at schools, another to address online piracy and some programmes to raise awareness of the importance of the role of copyrights.

Session 2: IP capacity building for SMEs

Topic: The new strategy of the European Commission on putting IP at the service of SMEs to foster innovation and growth

Speaker: Mr Jorg WEBERNDORFER, Senior Intellectual Property Rights Expert, DG Trade, European Commission 

Based on consultations with various stakeholders, a European Commission Communication from 2016 outlined the main problems facing start-ups: Compared to the United States, too few European start-ups survive beyond the critical initial phase of 2-3 years, with even fewer growing to become larger companies; start-ups face too many regulatory and administrative barriers; too few opportunities exist to find and engage with potential partners in finance, business and local authorities and accessing finance is one of the biggest barriers. 

Based on the findings, the Commission came up with the following set of actions:

Remove barriers (tax, company and insolvency laws). There is no EU-wide competence, for example, on tax. Moreover, insolvency law in the EU makes it tough to get a second chance, which, once again, is much easier in the US. 

Improve access to finance, such as venture capital, which is also much easier in the US. 

Create new opportunities: Set up support communities to allow SMEs to find the right partners, get more procurement chances, improve the quality and relevance of skills (it is difficult to find and train the appropriate staff), increase innovation opportunities (such as improvement of innovation support, innovation radar and support for the use of IPR).

There was an accompanying staff working document which makes the following assumptions based on recent data on EU SMEs: SMEs owning IP rights generate revenues that are almost 32% higher, expand their workforces faster and pay higher salaries. In addition, more than a third of SMEs engage in innovation-related activities but only 9% of SMEs have registered IP rights (compared to 36% of larger companies) and they are mainly limited to their national territories. Moreover, only 3% have European trade marks and even fewer have international trade marks.  

Three types of measures are planned for 2017-2019: 1) Facilitating SME access to IP; 2) Facilitating the use and enforcement of IP and 3) Coordination of IP support and monitoring the impact. 

In terms of facilitating SME access to IP, there are several ideas: Information must be easily accessible, easy to understand and addressed to the right companies. To do this an improved IP pre-diagnostic service is needed. The goal is to put in place an EU-wide IP pre-diagnostic service for innovative SMEs and guidelines and training for participating Member States to provide a free advisory service for SMEs on how to determine what IP is valuable and how to protect it. Some member states do well and some don’t do anything in this regard. To help fund patents, a pilot project provides subsidies to innovative SMEs to cover 50% of pre-grant costs of European patents as well as a portion of attorney fees. Companies that do not qualify for Horizon 2020 funding but are still identified as having potential get a “seal of excellence”. 

To facilitate the use and enforcement of IP, another idea is to develop an online patent licensing information tool to promote IP sharing and avoid unnecessary litigation. In addition, to facilitate mediation and arbitration, an idea is to map existing mediation and arbitration services in the EU to develop an EU IP mediation and arbitration network (not a new center), suitable for SMEs. Another idea is to develop IP litigation insurance. The scope and variety is very limited in the market at present so the Commission is consulting with insurance service providers in this regard. In addition, the Commission is looking at IP valuation methods for financial and insurance purposes. This is of course a very challenging task because IP, by definition, is unique, which makes it difficult to determine its value. Nevertheless, work is ongoing to reach an agreement with Member States and other stakeholders on a common IP valuation method. 

In terms of coordination of IP support, there is currently no mechanism to exchange knowledge on IP support services, which is why an EU coordination platform should be set up to exchange best practices. In terms of monitoring impact, a monitoring system for SMEs’ use of IP rights has been proposed to measure the impact of IP support, based on a common methodology. 

The speaker noted that these are ambitious plans which have not yet been implemented. At present the EU is studying pre-diagnostic services that are already offered in some Member States and plans to publish guidelines (a handbook) on pre-diagnostic services by July 2018. A call will be put out for tenders for setting up a website for patent funding and for its administrative support office by 2019 as well as a call for tenders in 2018 for the creation of a patent licensing online information tool by 2019. 

The EUIPO is mapping existing mediation and arbitration services (limited to trademarks and designs) and a study is being conducted by Aan expert group from DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD) published a study on IP valuation aiming atto determininge the best educated guess on the value of IP. Key findings are that IP valuation in practice The methodology will differentiates between new companies and those with some experience and other resources, and that. Besides valuing IP, rights also need to be IPR enforceability is an important aspectenforceable. 

Topic: Taiwan SMEs IP innovation strategy

Speaker: Mr Joseph WANG, Business Manager, Technology Transfer and Law Center, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)

The speaker said that he has been involved in ITRI’s cases of technology transfers. ITRI has quite a few people involved in patent licencing. 

In Taiwan, SMEs in the manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying industries are defined as having a paid-in capital of NT$80 million (US$2.42 million) or less, with fewer than 200 employees. In other industries, they are defined as having sales revenue of NT$100 million (US$3.03 million) or less in the last year, or with fewer than 100 regular employees. By these definitions, 97.73% of enterprises in Taiwan are SMEs (numbering approximately 1.408 million), of which 80% are in the service industry and 20% other industries. SMEs employ 8.81 million people, accounting for about 78.19% of the total workforce in Taiwan.

Despite these numbers, the export value of SMEs has declined significantly over the past 30 years. In 1987, SMEs accounted for 78% of Taiwan’s export value (major exports at the time were textiles, shoes and toys). However, by 2005, SMEs accounted for only 18% of Taiwan's export value. This has a lot to do with economic changes, such as the disappearance of labour-intensive industries. Nevertheless the export value of SMEs in Taiwan (at about 10-20% today) is below that of the US (30%), indicating the need for new development models. 

Taiwan has seen the number of start-ups falling, higher start-up costs and a higher failure rate. 30 years ago there were more opportunities for entrepreneurs but doing business in the global market is now much more difficult. Compared to large enterprises, SMEs have difficulty raising funds, getting IP talent, building unique IP or commercial business models. While no one would disagree with a statement by TSMC Chairman Morris Chang that SMEs need to develop more value, this is easier said than done. 

SMEs in Taiwan generally lack patent engineers, a basic understanding of IP and strategies and do not know how to control quality and assess benefits when dealing with IP issues. Up to 70% of companies say they are lacking in IP training and patent search analysis, specification writing, patent applications and infringement analysis that meet industry characteristics and their company’s needs. There is limited IP education in schools and very few patent engineers. In addition, corporate management and R&D engineers lack understanding of the concept of key IP rights and patent search and analysis capabilities, making it difficult to enhance the quality and value of corporate patents.

ITRI has started a consultation programme aimed at raising awareness of IP issues among SMEs. It provides consultation and IP advisory services, recommendations and strategies, including project consultations, tailored for specific needs. It has completed of 13 IP application courses, increased the

number of people studying the courses by more than 100,000, held seven seminars on industrial IP topics with industrial and patent map analysis and provided patent analysis information of high export value products to spread promotion benefits. The subject of analysis included key bicycle components, precision hand tools and LED applications. In addition it has completed 300 cases of IP consultancy and assisted enterprises in resolving IP problems, completed short-term diagnosis of 122 cases and provided proposals to companies for IP development strategies. In addition, it has completed 29 IP consultancy cases to assist companies in IP planning and promoted 132 domestic and foreign patent applications as well as assisted companies to improve their IP knowledge (such as how to avoid patent infringements), their adaptability and to promote international marketing. 

ITRI has set up an IP promotion website and produced animated short films about patent analysis and promotion. Each short video has practical case descriptions. 

Topic: IP and EU SMEs: The role of the China IPR SME Helpdesk

Speaker: Ms Aida BALBUENA-DIEZ, Project Officer, European IPR SME Helpdesk in China

The speaker began with an introduction to the China IPR SME Helpdesk. It was launched in 2008 through European Union funding and implemented by Development Solutions, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and the European Business Network. Its main functions are to raise awareness and prepare SMEs for IPR issues in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Staffed by legal experts, it provides free services to European SMEs in the form of business-focused and practical advice, IPR business tools and self-help solutions aimed at enabling SMEs to make informed IPR decisions on protection, enforcement and IP management. Its motto is “know before you go”. While advisory services are provided to European SMEs, the website and blog are open to all. Services include an enquiry hotline, which offers free advice, especially for doing business in China, e-learning and business tools, training workshops and live webinars. The helpdesk also prints various publications and materials.  

Business partners in China now ask for IP registration, which is taken seriously by both parties. Most enquiries to the hotline (86%) from SMEs and universities are in connection with protection. Many of the enquiries regarding enforcement (14% of enquiries) come from companies which have not taken prior action to protect themselves, in which case there is not much the helpdesk can do. This is why education and proactive action are encouraged. 63% of cases are concerning trademarks (including Chinese trademark names), 12% on copyrights (software is covered in this category), 7% on invention patents and 4% on design patents. SMEs are often not aware of the difficulties of getting invention patents. The helpdesk offers advice on the process. 

The helpdesk has produced a guide for every region in China as well as Taiwan. There are also industry-specific guides, for example on medical devices. The helpdesk has also developed an online game using virtual money that gives a realistic simulation as to what will happen in real life based on the IP choices made. This serves as a useful learning tool for SMEs to see which IP areas they need help in.

One of the main problems in China is that SMEs think that if their IP is protected in Europe or Macau it is protected in China, which is not the case. SMEs are also often not aware how important IP is in China and how much the environment has changed in recent years. 

Topic: Corporate practice of building IP management

Speaker: Ms Gloria WU, Deputy General Director, Science & Technology Law Institute, Institute for Information Industry (III)

III has been working since 2008 to strengthen the IPR management system in Taiwan. Ms Wu expressed the view that visibility is improving and awareness of IP issues among SMEs is improving, although understanding of IPR issues among SMEs varies. She mentioned the case of Taiwanese tech firm, HTC, which recently granted a non-exclusive licence to Google in exchange for a royalty payment of US$1.1 billion. 

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS) was launched in 2008, which classifies a company’s level of IP management according to levels, ranging from B to AAA. Level B, the lowest level, is characterized by insufficient IP awareness whereas AAA, the highest level, represents having in place competitive IP strategies and generating profits from IP. Authorities in several government ministries and agencies are promoting TIPS to help companies capture value. 

The speaker went on to mention several actual cases of trade secret, trademark and copyright infringements. She also highlighted a case of a good design and product failing because of a poor understanding of IP issues. 

III offers training courses, starting with a TIPS introduction course, a self-evaluation and auditing course as well as a more sophisticated IP maintenance and management course. So far 2,000 people have been trained and employees of over half of the participating companies sent their employees for further training. Participants gave the training very high satisfaction ratings. 

She went on the highlight the importance of information sharing, especially about doing business in other countries. Many companies have shared information and advice in closed door meetings. 

III has a website which offers presentations on IP knowledge, management and branding, video courses, and articles on legal analysis and research reports. It also publishes manuals and holds conferences.

In addition, III provides assistance on IP strategies for inexperienced and understaffed companies as well as how to build brands to enter the international market. It also offers a table game teaching tool to help companies understand and design appropriate strategies. She went on to cite several examples of successful cases involving patents and trade secrets. 

The speaker concluded that a successful IP strategy needs the right people in place, the right training, learning from others, international connections and the implementation of the right system, customised for the needs of the specific company. 

Session 2 Q&A

On a question about IP licencing in China, the best advice is to follow China’s rules and to maintain good relations with customs authorities, which have the authority to enforce IP rights in China. 

On a question as to the use of funds generated by TIPO, funds are collected by the treasury. The idea of setting up a fund within TIPO has been floated but both the executive authorities and legislature are not in favour of government agencies setting up their own funds. The speaker from III said that the government provides funding for its work but that companies can pay for tailor-made services themselves. 

On a question as to how to improve awareness of IP issues in SMEs, one of the panellists made the point that if you want companies to take action, you need the support of top management. 

Session 3 - IP capacity building for SMEs, Part 2

Topic: Raising IPR awareness of SMEs in South-East Asia through activities of EU cooperation programmes

Speaker: Mr Ignacio de MEDRANO CABALLERO, Project Leader, IP Key SEA & ARISE + IPR, European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Bangkok

The EUIPO has a legal mandate to cooperate to promote the convergence of practices and tools in cooperation with the Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) of Member States and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property and to grant some IP rights as well as cooperate with non-EU offices and international organisations. 

The EUIPO has successfully concluded four technical cooperation projects: in Russia, (P4M-IP), ASEAN (ECAP III, which ended in 2017) and IP Key in China (which also ended in 2017) and the IPC EUI in India (ended in March 2018). Four new projects started in the past few months, including the IP KEY in China (which started in September 2017), the IP KEY in Latin America (since September 2017), the IP KEY in South East Asia (SEA, which also started in September 2017) and the ARISE + IPR (an ASEAN Regional Project, which started in January 2018 in Bangkok). 

The budget for EU-funded projects at EUIPO has doubled (from the previous period) to €25.5 million for the current 2017-2021 period, including €3.5 million from EUIPO (which gets its own budget from the EU). This has led to a commensurate increase in the activities to be organized, staff deployed at EUIPO and in the target countries. EUIPO is now operating in some 28 countries and is expected to implement 76 activities in 2018 alone. Six EUIPO staff are deployed, including a project and deputy project leader in Bangkok. 

IP Keys is EU-driven to promote IP legislation protection and enforcement. Besides other staff, 22 long-term experts are currently contracted for the projects in Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Peru and Beijing. 

There are two types of EU-funded projects: Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) projects. FPI projects, such as IP KEYS, are EU-driven and promote modern standards in IPR legislation, protection and enforcement and the development of best practices. They also support the interests of innovators and rights holders trading with or investing in the relevant area, increase political and public awareness of the importance of IPR protection and support the negotiation process and implementation of FTAs. DEVCO projects, such as ARISE + IPR and  IPC-EUI (India) are beneficiary-driven to provide support to countries or regions to pursue their own development agendas, improve systems of IP creation, protection, utilisation, administration and enforcement in line with international IP best practices and standards. 

The IP Key South-East Asia will last about four years and has the overall objective to support the introduction and spread of an EU level of IPR protection and enforcement in South East Asia (SEA). Some IP systems are well developed (such as that of Singapore) while others are at various stages of developing their legislative frameworks. The general objective of the project is to improve the protection of IP and its rights in SEA countries in order to help level the conditions of treatment with the companies that operate in the region and in particular, encourage IPR protection and enforcement standards alignment, share best practices and implementation, contribute to greater transparency and fair implementation of the IPR protection and enforcement system, discourage any protectionist market access barriers through the misuse of IPR legislation, improve the IPR environment in SEA and increase political and public awareness of the importance of IPR protection and enforcement. 

The key benefits that the project provides to businesses operating in the region are: access to information, improved IPR protection, technical knowledge and expertise, knowledge sharing, innovative tools and databases and more transparent and efficient IPR registration and enforcement. 

Activities include gathering knowledge (conducting studies, gathering statistics, policy analysis and legal evaluations), learning and sharing (through conferences, seminars, round-tables, workshops, peer-to-peer exchanges, trainings and study visits), sharing innovation (technical support and advice) and informing (through publications, press releases, newsletters and fact sheets). 

The main challenges to overcome are as follows:

Effectiveness of enforcement and administrative mechanisms, including the efficiency of IP procedures and modernization of IT tools.

Adequate and balanced IP frameworks, in line with European standards, to facilitate international trade, R&D and competition respecting fundamental rights.

Public awareness and debate on the importance of IPR, based on objective data, with the potential of IPR as a contributor of development.

Restrictions and obligations for EU business related to IP in domestic innovation policies. 

The importance of IP is recognised in the EU’s FTA negotiations with trading partners. FTAs usually contain a chapter on IPR and projects try to facilitate implementation as well as enhance the capacity of IP authorities. Support has been provided to facilitate the FTAs with Vietnam and Singapore as well as FTA negotiations with the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. 

The annual work plan for 2018 was approved in February. It offers a balanced, justifiable result scope, in line with EU priorities, while embodying a comprehensive coverage when it comes to types of IPR. Implementation has already started in areas such as general IP, enforcement, trademarks, GIs, designs and patents. A number of EU Directorate Generals (TRADE, GROW, AGRI, TAXUD) are involved as well as the European Patent Office (EPO), the SEA IPR Helpdesk, WIPO, US, Japanese, Swiss and Australian IPOs as well as businesses. 

The speaker went on to list some of the upcoming activities. The “Colloquium for Filipino Judges”, to be held in Manilla in The Philippines, aims to provide expertise from the EU at a forum for judges to share experiences and best practices, enhance their capacity for efficient, effective and expeditious disposition of IP cases. A judge and prosecutor from Europe will be brought in to share experience. Another event will exchange best practices for IP mediators, with the objective to strengthen the network for information and best practice-sharing between the EUIPO Board of Appeal and IPOPHIL mediators. 

EUIPO has created user-friendly IP tools. Among its most successful are TMview and Designview. It is now in the process of integrating the data of the Southeast Asian national IP offices into TMview and Designview. This will allow businesses to consult global databases covering 63 jurisdictions with information about registrations in the SEA IPOs. 369,3320 trademarks are registered in ASEAN TMview. 

The Arise + IPR programme is a continuation of a 20-year old EUIPO programme. Evaluation of the previous phase of the programme showed the need to support and improve the knowledge of SMEs. The new phase is starting in May 2018 and will be managed from Bangkok. The objective is to support ASEAN regional integration and further upgrade and improve the systems for IP creation, protection, utilisation, administration and enforcement in the ASEAN region. 

The ASEAN Common Guidelines for the Substantive Examination of Trademarks (First Edition) has been published and is available online for all. The guidelines were approved by all ASEAN countries, based on input from ASEAN members with the aim of harmonising practices in ASEAN with regard to analysis and enforcement of trademarks. 

ASEAN TMview and ASEAN Designview has been developed by the Intellectual Property Offices of the ASEAN Member States with the support of the EU-ASEAN Project on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (ECAP III Phase II) administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). They contain only ASEAN data. They allow anyone to get a clear picture of trademarks and designs registered in any of the nine ASEAN Member States. It is managed by The Philippine IPO. 

The ASEAN one-stop classification tool contains 13,800 terms, an ASEAN list of goods, an alphabetical list and a common EU-Madrid list. The creation of a GI Database to consolidate GI within ASEAN is in progress. 

Work is also in progress to develop an e-learning tool for SMEs in ASEAN. Progress has also been made to improve IP systems. For example, The Philippines introduced an online trademark electronic filing system in 2016, which is integrated with ASEAN TMview and ASEAN TMclass and has three payment channels. 

Topic: Enhancing the quality and value of IP through big data of patents and industries

Speaker: Aileen CHANG, COO, WISPRO Technology Consulting Corporation

The speaker said that the value of something depends on R&D and the subject matter chosen. For example, the value of a medical device does not necessarily depend entirely on technology. For this reason you need to choose the right domain and use the right tools. Moreover, a company’s IP strategy must be aligned with the company’s overall strategy. 

Searching used to be very time-consuming but now there are tools to help. A search that used to take 10-20 days can now take as little as 1-2 hours. SMEs need patent information to ensure that they do not infringe on patents, enabling them to control risks. 

WISPRO utilises industry and patent intelligence to assist enterprises in innovation and IP planning. It tries to put information in a language and structure that is easy to understand. It looks at both upstream and downstream players in the supply chain to assist companies in innovation and planning. It studies patents and how IP is deployed. Data is broken down into parts by year and category. Mergers and acquisitions and litigation between players are also taken into account in the analysis. It assists start-ups in business planning. Some companies have been prompted to change direction after viewing results of analysis. It is able to provide customised systems and establish workflow. 

For example, the Patentcloud database for medical use non-invasive optical sensors was created, allowing local enterprises to understand the technology roadmaps for optical sensors and semiconductor sensing components, assist local entities to select and define R&D projects, allocate R&D resources, define technical solutions, accelerate product development, plan for supply chain or co-development and control patent risk in advance of the development process. The database has been designed to be easy to use. Success is not just about planning and patent analysis and drafting patent applications but also about positioning for the market and employing the appropriate business model. 

WISPRO holds forums together with local companies and universities to share patent intelligence in various industry sectors. It also provides consulting for companies, educational and research institutions and venture capitalists. In so doing it helps clients to speed up the R&D process, accelerate product development, save money by not misallocating resources, evaluate investments, understand product and technology trends, assist in market planning, formulate technology development strategies and increase patent quality and value, among other benefits. 

Topic: TIPOs capacity building for SMEs

Speaker: Mr KAO Tso-Liang, Director, Information Service Division, TIPO, MOEA

TIPO provides assistance measures in the form of localization counseling and information sessions on increasing patent capacity and value at its head office in Taipei and its regional service centres in Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. It also offers online resources including an “IP Corner for SMEs” information on IPR protection in Southeast Asian countries, a global patent search system, patent education and dissemination for commercialising patented inventions. In addition, it provides customised value-added services such as customised guidance courses for SMEs in industrial parks. 

Weekly one-hour IPR courses are offered at its regional service centres. The courses are taught by the heads of the centres and cover topics such as patent application practices, trademark application practices and copyrights. SMEs may also request customised courses where they provide venues and handle registration while the courses are conducted by instructors assigned by TIPO. In addition to the weekly IPR courses, 18 customized courses were run in 2017 and another “industrial zone” course was held. Feedback was positive. Participants were highly satisfied with both the course content and the instructors’ performance.   

The TIPO also holds information sessions on increasing patent capacity and value. The number of sessions has been increasing every year. In 2018, 35 sessions have been scheduled. The sessions help trainees to understand the strength of patent, trends and how to leverage patents as well as how to file patent invalidations and how to protect their patents. 

The “IP Corner for SMEs” is a dedicated online platform for SMEs which contains information from many sources. The purpose is to offer a single portal to assisted programmes offered by multiple agencies, including the MOEA, the Industrial Development Bureau (under the MOEA), the Environmental Protection Administration, the Ministry of Education and the MOST. Access is available for both corporations and individuals. The IP Corner for SMEs provides information on IP counseling services, how the IP Court in Taiwan works, R&D subsidies, where high-quality technology can be found, how to enhance IP capacity, how to strengthen a brand, trademark and domain name cyber-squatting, how to raise start-up capital, how to establish an IP rights management system, applications rejected in mainland China, subsidies for participating in exhibitions, how to utilize intangible assets to reduce taxes and how to resolve IP disputes, among other subjects. 

In support of the government's new Southbound Policy, TIPO created the “IPR Protection in Southeast Asian countries” website that contains IP-related information of 10 countries in the region covering six main areas: authorities and legal regimes, IP application and protection, IP development status, IP enforcement agencies, representative offices in the region and related websites. The website is kept up to date. 

The Global Patent Search System (GPSS) is a single window global patent search service which contains patent data from five major global IPOs (SIPO, USPTO, EPO, JPO, and KIPO) as well as WIPO and TIPO. The search functions of the site are advanced. The multilingual search system enables searches in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean. Users may also use Chinese and English phrases to conduct searches. Singular and plural nouns are automatically detected when conducting searches in English. The interface in traditional Chinese allows for multinational patent searches. There is an automatic conversion between traditional and simplified Chinese characters and vice versa to allow searches of mainland Chinese sources. In addition to searches by patent/publication number, application number or certificate number, various countries’ numbers may be entered at the same time to conduct number searches. 

Since its launch in January 2018, there have been 650 registrations, 100,000 queries and 600,000 page views. In future, additional functions to be added include a patent analysis tool. A mobile version will also be developed. The TIPO also set up a website in 2011 for online education and promotion containing information on commercialising patented inventions. It also offers customised value added services. 

Final Q&A session

On a question about cooperation with ASEAN programmes and the possibility of including Taiwan in online databases, the reply was that the EUIPO is just a technical body and such a decision would have to be made at the EU level. 

On a question as to whether TIPO’s IP database plans to expand to add other North East Asian countries, the reply was that it would be possible. On a question as to whether TIPO services are free, the reply was that consultation and training to local SMEs is free of charge. While the TIPO may not be able to provide services in other countries it may be willing to provide services to offices in Taiwan without charge.