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WP listed among top law firms for our trademark practice

Winkler Partners has been recognized as an ‘eminent’ trademark practice by the World Trademark Review. The WTR ranks firms and individuals in seventy major markets worldwide, and publishes their findings annually, in a report known as WTR 1000.

In their 2015 publication, the WTR says that “the IP function at Winkler Partners is one of Taiwan’s most laudable” and that our “combination of domestic and international expertise appeals to many major companies – it represents nearly one-quarter of Interbrand’s 100 most valuable brands”. The WTR goes on to state that WP is known for our “star-studded client base” that includes major domestic tech properties as well as global eCommerce and Internet giants.

Quoting our clients, WTR notes that we provide “a high level of competence, good understanding of local laws, consistent results and prompt, attentive service”. In previous years, we have been recognized as “a favorite of companies with a transnational interest” as well as for our “highly knowledgeable and client-focused counsel”.

Head of our IP practice, Peter Dernbach, has also been named as a top trademark professional in the findings. Described as “standout”, Peter is “a trusted advocate who speaks excellent Chinese and understands the system very well… he and his entire team are a real pleasure to work with”. Peter is ranked highly for enforcement and litigation, and listed as one of only five individuals in Taiwan for his prosecution and strategy work.

The WTR 1000 is the first definitive guide exclusively dedicated to identifying the world’s leading trademark legal services providers. Winkler Partners has been honored to be included since the publication launched in 2011. You can find the entire guide for 2015 here.

Taiwan’s Labor Ministry relaxes rules for foreign professionals working at startups

On 7 January 2015, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) amended rules for foreign professionals working in Taiwan. Among the latest amendments, foreign professionals that have a bachelor’s degree or higher are no longer required to have work experience to work at qualifying startups. Qualifying startups are those that meet one of the following criteria outlined as part of the National Development Council’s HeadStart Taiwan project:

  • Have received NT$2 million or more in venture capital,
  • Have registered on the Go Incubation Board for Startup and Acceleration Firms (GISA) with the GreTai Securities Market,
  • Have been granted an invention patent in Taiwan, or have had a patent assigned or licensed to exploit by a Taiwanese invention patent holder, the assignment or license of which is registered with the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO),
  • Incubators already part of the international startup cluster in Taipei approved by the Executive Yuan or directly operated by or cooperating with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and which have been rated as Quality Incubators by the Ministry in the last three years or,
  • Have won awards in recognized entrepreneurial or design competitions.

HeadStart Taiwan’s main objectives are to create an environment that supports the growth of Taiwan’s startup ecosystem through deregulation, attracting capital, and cluster building. For more information, please refer to the NDC’s website here.

WP to attend gTLDs dispute resolution event in Hong Kong

Peter Dernbach, head of our IP team, will be attending the panelist meeting at the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre seminar on ‘Online Brand Protection: Tips on New gTLDs Dispute Resolution” on Monday, January 12 in Hong Kong. Details of the seminar can be found here.

Peter has served as a panelist in dozens of domain name disputes brought under ICANN’s UDRP system. If you’re attending this event, be sure to introduce yourself.

WP closed for New Year holidays

Winkler Partners will be closed on the 1st and 2nd of January, 2015 for the national New Year holiday. Please direct any urgent matters to info@winklerpartners.com. We will return to normal working hours on the 5th of January, 2015.

Please note that government offices in Taiwan will also be closed for the national holiday. Any specified governmental deadline falling during the national holiday will be automatically extended to the next working day, Monday, the 5th of January 2015.

Best wishes for the New Year from all of us at Winkler Partners.

WP ranked as top-tier insurance firm by The Legal 500

For a third consecutive year, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific has ranked Winkler Partners’ practice a top tier firm for insurance. Led by partner Chen Hui-ling, our insurance practice focuses on reinsurance, D&O insurance, and dispute resolution with specialized expertise in arbitration. The Legal 500 also states that D&O insurance is a particular strength, and noted that we have recently advised on a case of insider trading by directors of a listed company.

Led by partner Peter Dernbach, our IP practice also came highly recommended, as we work with some of the leading global brands across a wide variety of sectors. Partner Gary Kuo was recognized for his ‘excellent reputation’ and securing many favorable judgments. Partner Christine Chen was recommended for her IP litigation and enforcement work.

The Legal 500 has been ranking law firms worldwide for 27 years, with a special attention to practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel. You can read the latest Legal 500 Asia Pacific rankings here.

WP awarded major contract

Winkler Partners Translation has been awarded a major capital markets translation project by a group of Taiwan regulators and exchanges. In this project, Winkler Partners expands its role, ongoing since 2001, as the primary translator of the authoritative English versions of Taiwanese capital market laws and regulations, which can be found at http://eng.selaw.com.tw/.

Registering your .taipei domain and protecting your brand online

In August, Taipei City Government reached an agreement with ICANN to release the .taipei domain and make it available to businesses and individuals. Spearheaded by Taipei’s Department of Information Technology (DOIT), the .taipei project follows a trend set by other world cities such as New York, London and Berlin, which, in recent years, have launched their own city-level domains. According to the organizers, the new domains are a good way to market goods and services to the local community; attach a geographic location to brand identity; highlight a business’ location in relation to competitors; and provide a boost to search engine optimization (SEO).

From December 1, holders of global trademarks registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will be given priority to register their new .taipei domains, following that in January 2015 Taipei-based companies and organizations will be able to register their .taipei addresses. General registrations won’t be permitted until March 31st.

Registrations will be processed in four waves:

Sunrise Period: December 1-31: Owners of trademarks registered with TMCH
Taipei Enterprise Sunrise Period
: January 21-February 19: Entities registered in Taipei City or New Taipei City only
Landrush Period
: February 24-March 26: First come, first served
Open Registration: March 31 onwards

*For detailed period policies please click the respective link

Domains registered in the Sunrise Period will cost a total of NT$4800 (approximately US$155) for three years. Taipei Enterprise fees will be NT$1920 for three years, while registrations made in the Open Registration Period will cost NT$800 for one year, according to information provided by Net Chinese (in Chinese), the domain registrar handling the .taipei project. Trademark holders wishing to register during the Sunrise Period can only register domains that exactly match the trademark listed with TMCH. During the Taipei Enterprise period, both full and partial matches are permitted.

The priority given to trademark holders allows for the protection of these marks online, and prevents domain squatting, a practice that can seriously damage a brand’s online identity and reputation, and can cause confusion amongst consumers. WP’s Daniel Chen, who has worked on many domain dispute cases for our international clients says, “We advise our clients, and indeed all trademark holders, to register their respective domains early to avoid the often lengthy and costly process of obtaining a suspension and/or transfer of domains registered by squatters”.

Additionally, Partner Peter Dernbach is active in the ICANN community as a member of the IP Constituency, currently serving as a member of the PDP Working Group on Translation/Transliteration of Contact Information. Peter also serves as a Panelist for WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center, and has helped resolve numerous domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Businesses interested in registering a .taipei address should visit the .taipei project website for more information, or contact Net Chinese.

Food Safety: A Legal Perspective

WP partners Peter Dernbach, Gary Kuo and paralegal Michael Fahey recently contributed an article to the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham)’s monthly TOPICS magazine. The article takes a look at the recent set of food scandals that have shaken the public’s faith in Taiwan’s food industry, examining it from a legal perspective.

The article summarizes previous food scandals that have occurred in Taiwan, dating back to the bran oil tragedy in 1979, which claimed the lives of over fifty people and caused significant physical harm to many others.

The article goes on to analyze the key litigation following the 2011 plasticizer scandal and the 2013 olive oil scandal. Peter and Gary explain the successful criminal prosecutions in both cases, the failure of a class action in the olive oil case, and the constitutional issues that led the Ministry of Health and Welfare to roll back massive fines imposed by local governments.

The article concludes that while Taiwan has made significant and admirable strides in its legal system since the 1979 bran oil tragedy, it will need to do much more to ensure that the country’s vibrant culinary culture and consumer health are adequately protected.

The entire article is available on AmCham’s website.

WP’s Michael Fahey speaks on recent immigration liberalization in Taiwan

As part of our pro bono support for Forward Taiwan, a grass roots movement for immigration reform in Taiwan, Winkler Partners’ Michael Fahey spoke at the National Immigration Agency’s 2014 International Conference on Immigration Policy. The purpose of the presentation was to describe recent government liberalization and to evaluate them quantitatively and qualitatively. Forward Taiwan’s proposals for immigration reform were also introduced.

Michael summarized the main issues that have led to immigration reform in the past, from the creation of permanent residence in 1999, to the recent relaxation of rules including those for financial health and criminal records. These relaxations have in part led to a steady increase in the number of permanent residents in Taiwan, from 1649 in 2005, to 10,811 as of September 2014.

One of Forward Taiwan’s main policies is to encourage the Taiwanese government to make it easier for foreign students and professionals already studying or working in Taiwan to stay and contribute to society. Foreign students are now given a six month extension to look for work after graduation for example, whilst the same is given to professionals to change employment. This has resulted in an increase of 343 professional and 525 student ARC (alien resident certificate) extensions since April of this year. While these figures are modest, they are a step in the right direction if Taiwan is to attract and keep foreign talent.

An even more recent development has been the new points system set out in regulations implementing the Employment Service Act. The points system allows foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities to obtain work authorization if they can score 70 points for various criteria. Points are given for university degrees, reputable universities, Chinese and foreign language, following government policy and even residence abroad. The significance of the new points system is that it is now possible for foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities to work and reside in Taiwan without having to meet minimum salary requirements.

Nearly 260 foreign graduates have been granted work authorization under the points system since it was announced in July of this year.

The presentation that accompanies Michael’s talk can be viewed here.

WP seeks new IP associate

Winkler Partners, an integrated partnership of Taiwanese and foreign lawyers, is planning to hire a new intellectual property associate who is passionate about law, with interests in intellectual property. We are looking for a colleague with a background in general trademark and patent law and practice. You can read more about our practice here and our community programs here.

Initially, your primary role would be to work with our Taiwanese and foreign colleagues in providing professional legal opinions to Taiwanese and foreign clients. You would be asked to research and learn intellectual property laws in Taiwan as well as help colleagues understand the clients’ legal needs and questions. You would likely also participate in Taiwanese and international business development and educational activities. While all colleagues are expected to engage in the development of every aspect of the firm, including case work, work environment improvement, and community support programs, your position would focus primarily on performing intellectual property case work.

The successful candidate will likely: (i) have relevant work experience (preferably three or more years); (ii) have a great command of both Chinese and English (iii) enjoy and value the importance of teamwork; and (iv) enjoy communicating. If you are interested in this position, please send your resume and relevant materials by email to personnel@winklerpartners.com.

 

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