Taiwan Strengthens Trademark Protections at Border
Taiwan recently passed an amendment to the country’s Trademark Act which will strengthen trademark owners’ rights against counterfeit goods. The measure allows trademark owners in Taiwan to file with Customs to have their trademark recorded on the Customs database. This enabled Customs’ ability to recognize and seize counterfeit products at the border. The amendment has three main components: extending the protection period for trademarks, enabling new means of notification to trademark owners, and updating the process for images to be sent to confirm trademark infringements.
Before the passage of this amendment, trademark owners could apply for protection for only one year. This resulted in owners having to reapply for their trademark to be registered with Customs on a yearly basis, increasing costs and the paper workload for both the owner and Customs. The amendment has extended the protection period to the length of registration of the trademark. If a trademark has been approved for 10 years, the protection period approved by Customs will be for 10 years, eliminating the need to refile every year.
The amendment also updates the ways in which trademark owners can be notified of potential infringement. Prior to the amendment, the traditional means of contacting owners was through fax. This often led to missed messages, and trademark owners not being able to verify the validity of suspected copyright infringements. Under the new amendment, Customs are now able to contact trademark owners through text, telephone, email, or fax, and can also attach a record to the file. This allows for owners to have more opportunity to verify products detained by Customs.
Lastly, the amendment updates the procedure for owners to obtain pictures of the suspected counterfeit goods. Prior to the amendment, Customs would only send pictures to the trademark owner if they believed there was a likely trademark infringement. Now, owners may request photos from Customs whenever there is a report issued, regardless of if Customs believes there is a “likely trademark infringement.”
The amendment to Taiwan’s Trademark Act significantly strengthens the country’s trademark protections. This is a win for trademark owners as well as consumers, as they now will be less susceptible to counterfeit goods.
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