Taiwan Relaxes Law Limiting Uses of Government-Owned IP
In order to provide for a greater use of government-owned IP, the Taiwanese government revised a law last week blamed for stifling technological research. The previous law placed limitations on professors and researchers at government-run universities on how much of an ownership stake they can have in the businesses arising around new technologies they develop and on how the technology could be used. Currently, researchers can own no more than 10 percent of the businesses and they cannot serve on their boards of directors. Now, those same professors and researchers can bypass the red tape when licensing the IP they have developed and can also ignore the government procurement regulations when making purchases for research projects that are sponsored by private funding.
This law is similar to the Bayh-Dole Act here in the US. While it is not as expansive as the University of Glasgow’s decision to give away all of its IP, it is a step in the right direction to aid in future technological development. According to Chen Cheng-hong, deputy minister of the National Science Council, any licensing and use of university-produced IP is governed by national [Taiwanese] property law. Following these rules can take up to a year, by which time the technology may be obsolete. These new rules are hoped to spur innovation in Taiwan.
Technology transfer should be a benefit to the Taiwanese Economy. For example, in 2005 alone, American universities brought 527 new products to the marketplace thanks to the Bayh-Dole Act. As innovation expands so, hopefully, will trade. Over half of the respondents to a recent survey of Taiwanese businesses stated that they will expand trade to China, with 48% “hoping to gain legal knowledge on intellectual property rights.” With this new revision, Taiwanese innovators will be able to bring their products to the market faster and partake in this increase in regional, as well as global, trade.