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09.11.2010 10:00

Taiwan: Elitegroup Finally Defeats the TIPO

By: A & Finet

Elitegroup Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Tatung Co., Ltd., filed an invalidation action against the Utility Model Patent, titled “A Socket with land grid array to fix the position of a CPU”. After 5 years of investigations by the Courts, the case was decided by the Supreme Administrative Court in favor of Elitegroup, and remanded to the TIPO for reexamination. After reexamination, the TIPO, however, rejected the invalidation action once again. Elitegroup, therefore, filed an administrative lawsuit to the Intellectual Property Court (IP Court), which, in turn, decided in favor of Elitegroup and ordered the TIPO to invalidate the patent Grant.

The whole incident, including Elitegroup’s filing of repetitive administrative lawsuits, shows how the administrative organs often overlook the Court orders, and how the presumptuous attitude of the administrative organs has incurred the civilians and corporations unnecessary expenses on resources and money. Such an attitude not only undermines the effectiveness of a Court order, but also makes it difficult to enforce an order.

Chupond Precision Co., Ltd. (Chupond) filed a Utility Model Patent application for “A Socket with land grid array to fix the position of a CPU” in 1994. After examination, the TIPO then issued the Grant to Chupond, and approved Chupond’s assignment of its patent right partially to Suyin Corporation. Elitegroup, on the other hand, thought that Chupond’s Utility Model Patent should not be patenable, and therefore, filed an invalidation action against Chupond’s patent Grant. The invalidation action, however, was rejected by the TIPO in 2004. Elitegroup then appealed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) against the rejection; though the MOEA also rejected the appeal.

Following the defeat, Elitegroup filed an administrative lawsuit against the rejection in Taipei High Administrative Court (High Court), and finally obtained a favorable decision from the High Court. The TIPO appealed the decision to the Supreme Administrative Court (Supreme Court), but was not able to provide any evidence or make references to any applicable laws to convince the Judge that the patent Grant was justified. The Supreme Court, therefore, rejected the TIPO’s appeal in 2007, and the case was remanded to the TIPO for reexamination. Surprisingly, during the reexamination, the TIPO did not take any of the Courts’ findings into consideration but rejected Elitegroup’s invalidation action once again. Elitegroup had no choice but to file yet another administrative lawsuit against the TIPO decision.

Elitegroup filed an invalidation action against the TIPO in the IP Court, which was established in July 2008. After the IP Court’s investigation, the IP Court commented that Chupond’s Utility Model lacks novelty and inventive step, and therefore, ordered the TIPO to invalidate the Grant and bear the associated litigation fee. The decision may be further appealed.

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