The “National Intellectual Property Strategy Program” was announced by the Taiwan government in November 2011 in an effort to promote and raise the intellectual property capability of Taiwanese firms. As policy adviser to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in drafting the “National Intellectual Property Strategy Program,” the Science and Technology Institute under the Institute for Information Industry (STLI) conducted a survey in 2012 in order to gain a broad overview of the level of IP awareness and IP management and use among Taiwanese firms. The survey was distributed to 1,384 firms that are listed either on the Taiwan Stock Exchange or the Gre Tai Securities Markets. 281 companies responded to the survey, achieving a survey response rate of almost 20%. The content of the survey was divided into three parts: IP knowledge and understanding, current IP management within the companies and IP issues that companies face. The Importance of IP to Businesses Intellectual property has become a commonplace asset owned by firms. The growing significance of intellectual property to companies in general is undeniable, and firms are recognizing this as well. An overwhelming 93% of the respondents claim to own some form of intellectual property. The most common type of intellectual property owned by companies is trademarks, followed by patents and trade secret. Many companies are also actively seeking to obtain more intellectual property. Over 68% of the respondents indicated that they have submitted applications for formal intellectual property rights in the past two years. 84% of the respondents agreed with the statement that they believe intellectual property can bring added value for the firm. In addition, over 78% of the respondents also believe that intellectual property helps enhancing the company’s market position. It is clear that the majority of Taiwan firms already consider intellectual property to be a vital asset for their business and that building up and expanding their IP portfolio has become a top priority. This is also reflected in the annual spending that firms allocate for intellectual property. The survey respondents were asked whether a specific budget is allocated toward spending related to intellectual property every year, and the majority of the respondents, almost 70%, responded in the positive. Particularly, the respondents pointed out that they commit the most resources to obtaining and maintaining intellectual property rights every year. 10% of the respondents even indicated that they spent over NT$5 million annually on obtaining and maintaining intellectual property rights. The respondents were also asked about spending on inventor incentive, IP personnel, IP disputes and litigations and staff IP training. The results showed that companies commit the least spending on providing IP training for staff, with more than half of the respondents noting that they spend less than NT$500,000 on IP training each year and only 14% of the respondents noted that they will increase spending on IP training the following year. Weakness in Generating Value from IP As noted above, Taiwan firms are actively seeking to obtain more intellectual property and building up their IP assets. With almost 70% of the respondents noting that they have applied for intellectual property rights in the last two years shows that companies are generating quite a lot intellectual property, but whether all the intellectual property generated is being exploited and creating commercial and economic benefits remains doubtful. Most of the firms, almost 86% of the respondents, acquired their intellectual property through their own research and development (R&D). In contrast, the proportion of firms using other means of acquiring intellectual property is quite low, with only 17% of the respondents acquiring intellectual property through acquisition and 28% through licensing, while 41% percent of the respondents acquired their intellectual property by joint research or contracted research with others. With R&D being the major source of intellectual property for firms, firms are clearly putting in a lot of investment into acquiring intellectual property. However, the returns on these investments may not be proportionate. When asked whether the firm license out their intellectual property, only 13.5% of the respondents claimed to be doing so. This suggests that most Taiwanese firms are not using their intellectual property to generate revenue and commercial value. Instead, intellectual property is still mostly regarded and used as merely a defensive tool against infringement. Companies in Taiwan are also facing increasing risks of being involved in IP-related disputes and litigations. More than 30% of the respondents have already been involved in some kind of IP-related disputes and litigations in the past. The most common type of litigations faced by Taiwanese companies are patent infringement, followed by trademarks infringement, piracy and counterfeit, and disputes with (former) employees. Furthermore, more than 50% of the firms that have been involved in IP litigations noted that patent infringement and trademarks infringement pose the most detriment to the company’s business operations in general. It is evident that intellectual property has become a competitive weapon in businesses, and IP disputes and litigations are inevitable threats that most firms must face in today’s business world. Hence, it is essential for firms to have the necessary strategies and protection in place in order to minimize the risks created by potential legal disputes. With this in mind, it is worrisome to observe that most firms have not incorporated intellectual property into the company risk management program. Nearly 86.1% of the respondents claim to have some kind of risk management program in place within the company, but when asked what is included in the risk management program. Only 40.7% of the firms with risk management programs said that intellectual property is included, which is considerably lower than other types of risks generally seen in risk management programs. With IP disputes and litigations becoming an increasing threat that may bring negative impact for businesses, Taiwanese firms need to incorporate and strengthen IP risk management within the company. IP still not widely considered as business strategy With intellectual property being an important asset, firms should also have the necessary infrastructure and resources to manage IP accordingly and integrate IP into the company’s overall business operations. However, more than 50% of the respondents do not have designated personnel or department that is specifically responsible for managing the company’s intellectual property. Nearly 33% of the respondents indicated that the responsibility for managing IP is shared by other departments within the firm. When further asked about the tasks of the designated personnel or department that is responsible for IP, it is observed that the designated personnel/department mostly undertake routine tasks such as filing for patent applications and trademark registrations and maintaining relevant databases. Tasks such as patent mapping and competitive landscape analysis are the least performed tasks. The proportion of designated personnel/department for IP that are involved in the company’s business and research strategic decision making process is also quite low. This suggests that despite the importance of IP to firms, many Taiwanese firms still have not integrated IP into their overall research and business strategies and utilize their intellectual property as a strategic tool in their business operations. Low Levels of IP Awareness and Training within Firms In order to gauge the level of IP knowledge and understanding in Taiwanese firms, the survey also contained 10 very basic questions on intellectual property. Surprisingly, the respondents that answered all the questions correctly were less than 4%. The proportion of respondents that correctly answered 5 or less questions did not even reach 50%. This means that Taiwanese firms still lack fundamental IP knowledge and understanding in general. This is also reflected in the response to the question whether the company has an overall IP policy in place, which also serves as an indication of the level awareness and concern with intellectual property within the firm. An IP policy that is distributed to company staff means that IP awareness is promoted within the company. However, almost 40% of the respondents claimed that there is no overall IP policy within the company, and nearly 30% of the respondents noted that even if there is an IP policy, it is not made widely known to company staff. This reveals that many Taiwanese companies still need to undertake more IP awareness promotion within the firm. More IP awareness promotion is also justified by the results to the question as to whether the company provides IP training for company staff. The results showed that almost 44% of the respondents do not provide any form of training in IP to company staff at all. This also corresponds to the result noted earlier that most respondents commit the least funding to providing IP training each year. Providing regular IP training to staff is certainly still not the norm for most Taiwanese firms. Issues facing businesses and their policy needs Taiwanese firms still faces many difficulties and challenges in their intellectual property management and hope that the government could provide them with the assistance and resources needed to help them enhance their intellectual property capacity and capability. Some of the major difficulties that the respondents pointed out in the survey include the lack of IP experts and professionals. It is difficult for firms to find and hire people with adequate professional IP skills, as the education and training currently provided by universities and professional schools do not seem to meet the actual IP needs of companies. Another major difficulty faced by Taiwanese firms is the lack of information and knowledge regarding international technical standards and standard setting organizations. A significant portion of the respondents expressed the wish for the government to help them gain entry and participation in international standard setting organizations. Among the other difficulties, the regulatory complexity and lack of clarity with the ownership of intellectual property arising from government-contracted research, which poses as barrier for firms in obtaining licenses for use and exploitation, is also an issue that the majority of the respondents hope the government could improve. In addition to the difficulties mentioned above that Taiwanese firms hope the government would help them encounter, the respondents were also asked specifically what other resources and assistance they would like to seek from the government. 69.4% of the respondents hope that the government could provide more training courses and seminars on IP. Many respondents are also seeking a common platform that can unify all resources that could help enhance IP management. Expert assistance and consultation on obtaining intellectual property rights and providing information on international IP protection and litigation are also resources that Taiwanese firms desire. More than 50% of the respondents also indicated that they would like to receive assistance in establishing IP management system within their firms. Conclusion The results of the survey provided insight into the level of IP management among companies in Taiwan. Although the importance of intellectual property for businesses is undeniable and widely recognized by firms, the results of the survey revealed that there is still much room for improvement and for Taiwanese firms to put in more efforts into strengthening and enhancing their IP capabilities. In general, Taiwanese firms have not incorporated their intellectual property into their management strategies and derived adequate value. Intellectual property remains mostly a defensive tool against infringement. Furthermore, there is still need for greater promotion of IP awareness among firms and within firms. With these IP management difficulties and deficiencies in mind, it should be noted that the respondents of this survey are all listed companies that are already of a certain size and scale and should have greater resources in their disposal to commit to their IP management. It would be reasonable to assume that small and medium firms, with significantly less resources, would face even more difficulties and challenges. Using this survey results as reference, the “National Intellectual Property Strategy Survey” would seek to help Taiwanese companies address these IP issues and provide adequate assistance and resources in overcoming the challenges Taiwanese companies face with their IP management. It is also hoped that this survey would be carried out regularly in the future, and that the survey results from 2012 would serve as a baseline for future surveys that will assist in observing the progress Taiwanese businesses are making in IP management and provide a whole picture of the level of IP awareness and management within Taiwanese firms.Blockchain in Intellectual Property Protection
Background Blockchain is a technology with the ability to decentral and distribute information. It records encrypted information of the user’s behavior. Blockchain has disintermediate, transparency, programmable, autonomous, immutable and anonymous essential features. The first application of blockchain is to develop cryptocurrency and a payment system, Bitcoin, which has overturned traditional concept of the currency model we knew. So far, blockchain has been widely applied in many territories, such as the intellectual property protection system, called the Blockai, which is a website using blockchain to overcome the plight of piracy in the United States. Example The Library of Congress in the United States found that it had been lack of efficiency for the copyright management. Blockai provided a solution for the Library. Authors will benefit from having proof of publication and copyright monitoring by registering with Blockai. The Blockai system securely timestamps copyright claims in the distributed database based on the Bitcoin protocol. For each copyright claim, a proof file is made available through the footer of the certificate and can be verified by authors using this open source proof verification tool, and it is free of charge for everyone. Although the "Proof of Publication" does not constitute admissible evidence in a trial, it is still credible in its technical features. Conclusion In Taiwan, there is still no copyright registering system. Before a copyright infringement suit may be filed in court, the burden of proof is on the copyright owner. For it is difficult for the copyright owner to provide a credible evidence in trial. We may consider using the experiences of other countries for our reference, developing the intellectual property protection system based on blockchain technology in order to help authors preserve their rights, and provide legal services as a legal technology.Discussion on the Formation of Taiwan’s Network of Intellectual Property Collaboration System in light of Japan’s Experience
Background Taiwan industries have been facing an increasing pressure from the competitive global market. To assist the Taiwan industries, the Government has approved the “National Intellectual Property Strategy Guideline” (the “Guideline”) on 17 October 2012. The Guideline stipulates six major strategies and twenty-seven relevant enforcement criteria in relation to intellectual property (“IP”). The six major strategies are as follows: (a) creation and utilization of high-value patents; (b) enforcing cultural integrity; (c) creation of high agricultural value; (d) support free flow of IP for academics; (e) support system of IP trade flows and protection; and (f) develop highly qualified personnel in IP. Under the “innovation of high-value patents” strategy, the relevant enforcement criterion, being “establishing academia-industry collaborative system for IP management”, is to support the Taiwan’s current and future technology development program on R&D planning, IP management and technology commercialization. In other words, this enforcement criterion can greatly improve the ambiguity and inadequacy of Taiwan’s research infrastructure which have caused inefficient research operation. Furthermore, this enforcement criterion can also improve network collaboration between organizations on IP management, allowing more efficient process for managing IP and thus achieving the purpose of “creation and utilization of high-value patent”. In light of the above, this article studies Japan’s practice on integrating the IP network resources and improving their IP management under the University Network IP Advisors Program (“IP Advisors Program”). University Network IP Advisors Framework Outline A. Policy background, goals and methodology National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (“INPIT”) initiated the IP Advisors Program and commissioned Japan Institute for Promoting Invention and Innovation (“JIII”) to implement and carry out the new policy in year 2011. Prior to the implementation of the new policy by JIII, INPIT has assisted with establishing proper IP management systems for more than 60 Japanese universities by dispatching IP experts and advisors (“IP Advisors”) to each of the universities during 2002 to March 2011. After the implementation of the initial policy, review has suggested that by expanding the network collaboration, such as establishing intervarsity IP information sharing system within their university networks, the universities can fully aware of and identify technologies that were created by them and are beneficial to the industrial sector. In addition, expanding the network collaboration can also help the universities to quickly develop mechanisms that will enable them properly protect and utilize their acquired IP rights. Accordingly, after 2011, the initial policy has expanded its scope and became the current IP Advisors Program. Japan is expected to improve its nation’s ability to innovate and create new technologies. To attain this goal, Japan has identified that the basis for industry-academia-government R&D consortiums is through obtaining information on universities’ and other academic organizations’ research technologies and IP so that Japan can appropriately place these universities in the appropriate wide-area network. This will allow the universities within the wide-area network to establish IP management policy to properly protect and utilize their IP rights. The current IP Advisors Program is conducted through application from the universities in established wide-area network to JIII. Upon review of the application, JIII will then dispatch the IP Advisor to the applicant university of that wide-area network. IP Advisors not only can provide solutions to general IP related problems, they can also provide professional advice and service on how to establish and operate IP management system for all the universities within the wide-area network. B. IP advisors’ role In principle, IP Advisors are stationed to the Administrative School or Major Supporting School within the wide-area network. IP Advisors can be dispatched to other member schools (“Member Schools”) or provide telephone inquiry service by answering IP related questions. In other words, IP Advisors are not stationed in any Member Schools to manage their IP management affairs, rather, IP Advisors advise or instruct the IP managers of the Member Schools on how to establish and utilize IP management system based on the Member School’s infrastructure. The contents of IP Advisors roles listed are as follows: (a) Assist with activities within the wide-area network. 1. assist with establishing information sharing system between universities within the wide-area network; 2. assist with solving region-based or technology-based IP problems; 3. provide inquiry service for planning activities within wide-area network; and 4. provide inquiry service on other wide-area networks activities planning. (b) Provide services for Member Schools (Type 1) with undeveloped IP management system. 1. investigate or analyze the available IP management system in the Member Schools; 2. assist with drafting a plan to establish IP management system (through an assisting role) and provide instructions or advices accordingly; 3. direct personnel training (i.e. provide education on invention evaluation, assessment on applying for patent and contracts); 4. advocate different regimes of IP; and 5. collect relevant information on new developing technologies. (c) Provide services for Member Schools (Type 1) with developed IP management system 1. investigate or analyze the available IP management system in the Member Schools; 2. provide advices or instructions on the application of IP management department; 3. provide advices or instructions for solving IP management problems; 4. direct personnel training (i.e. provide education on invention evaluation, assessment on applying for patent and contracts); 5. advocate different regimes of IP; and 6. gather relevant information on new developing technologies. (d) Provide services for Member Schools (Type 2) 1.Share and exchange information through network conference. C. Recruitment process and criteria JIII adopts an open recruitment process without a set number of allocated IP Advisor positions. Working location is based in Member Schools of wide-area network in Japan. In principle, IP Advisors are stationed in Administrative Schools or Major Supporting Schools within the wide-area network and can only provide telephone inquiry service or temporary assignment for assistance to the Member Schools (Type 1). However, it is noted that IP Advisors do not belong to any specific university within the wide-area network, they are employed by JIII under an exclusive contract. Based on 2013 example, IP Advisors’ employment contract started from 1 April 2013 and expires on 31 March 2014. IP Advisors’ salary and travelling expenses are paid by JIII. However, expenses for Members School (Type 1) establishing a working environment and any other disbursements should be paid by the Member School (Type 1). Furthermore, under the implementation of the current policy with respect to IP Advisors who are unable to comply with the new criteria, previous contract is considered as a non-periodical contract for the IP Advisors to continue to station in the university. However, if IP Advisor is stationed in a specific university, it must be limited to a maximum of 3 years. Due to the IP Advisors’ work, they must comply with the privacy law and keep any obtained information confidential. D. IP advisors’ qualification 1. Require a high level of professional knowledge on IP management system IP Advisor candidates must have relevant experience working in the industry with IP management system department, operation planning department, R&D department (collectively refer as “IP Management Related Departments”). 2. Have relevant experience in directing trainings in IP Management Related Departments IP Advisor candidates must have the ability to train personnel in IP Management. 3. Can provide IP strategies based on the demands. IP Advisor candidates must have the ability to plan and utilize IP strategies to achieve optimal outcomes in R&D base on the circumstances and needs of different universities. 4. Have referral from the supervisors. IP Advisor candidates who are currently employed must be able to obtain a referral from their current positions’ supervisor, IP manager or personnel from higher up. IP Advisor candidates who are current unemployed must be able to obtain a referral from their previous employment. E. IP advisors’ selection process Based on JIII’s “University Network IP Advisors Adopted Standards” (“Adopted Standards”), IP Advisors are selected first through written application followed by interview. After a comprehensive assessment, all qualified candidates will be compared based on their compatibility of the essential criteria and other non-essential criteria, and finally selecting the most suitable candidate for the wide-area network. F. Application criteria for IP advisors services 1.Common requirements for Member Schools of wide-area network (a) must be an university or educational organization pursuant to the School Education Act (No. 26 of 1947) and must be able to conduct research and have set number of entry students and graduates per year;and (b) university must have developed IP related technology or design. 2. Criteria for wide-area network (a) Must have minimum of 3 and maximum of 8 Member Schools (Type 1) and 10 or less Member Schools (Type 2) combined, and have Member School (Type 1) entering wide-area network; (b) Must clearly state the nature of network as region-based or technology-based; (c) With Administrative School as base, the network must have collaborative system to plan network events; (d) Administrative School must be able to propose and carry out network events which can benefit Member Schools (Type 1) and the society through annual business plan. (e) Must be capable to provide indirect assistance to IP Advisors who are limited by time and region such that there is a proper environment to conduct wide-area network events. 3. Entry requirement for Member Schools (Type 1) (a) Must include in the university’s policy that they will become a Member School (Type 1) in the network and provide assistance to IP Advisors accordingly; (b) IP management and IP utilization system must be clearly implemented; (c) must clearly state the scope of responsibility in relation to the collaboration with the Administration School; (d) Propose and carry out an annual business plan which can improve IP management and utilization system to a certain level on their own; and (e) Has the facility to allow IP Advisors to provide assistance and service. 4. Entry requirement for Member Schools (Type 2) (a) Must include in the university’s policy that they will become a Member School (Type 2); (b) Same as paragraph F(3)(b) in this article; and (c) Same as paragraph F(3)(c) in this article. G. Current status quo The original aim was to establish the initial IP Advisors Program to assist with university’s IP management system by dispatching IP Advisors to 60 and more universities from 2002 to March 2011. The current wide-area university network IP Advisors Program started on April 2011. Since then, JIII has dispatched IP Advisors to 8 wide-area networks. In addition, IP Advisors have also been dispatched to wide-area network with art and design colleges/universities. During year 2011, IP Advisors has achieved and completed several IP management policies as follows: 7 IP policies, 3 academia-industry collaboration policies, 2 conflicting interest policies and 2 collaborative research policies etc. Recommendation This article is based on a legal perspective view point, taking Japan’s IP Advisors Program as a reference to provide the following recommendations on the topic of network for academia-industry collaboration in Taiwan. A. Separate levels of collaboration base on needs Using Japan’s policy as an example, universities within the wide-area network require different content of services tailored to each university individually, and the universities can be categorized into two types of member schools based to the content of services. Accordingly, it is recommended that the Government should consider a similar approach to the Japan’s policy when establishing IP management alliance and forming network of IP management system. For instance, design different levels of content and collaboration, and thus expand collaboration targets to gradually include major legal research institute, technology transfer centre for universities, and IP services in northern, center and southern area of Taiwan. This will allow collaboration of these organizations to coordinate IP programs such as IP northern, application and utilization with ease. B. Emphasis on the idea of establishing and maintaining IP basic facilities Based on Japan’s past experience, it is recommended that before expanding IP Advisors related policy to solve regional IP problems, universities must first be assisted to improve their own IP management system, which has taken Japan almost 10 years to improve their universities’ IP management system. From the current IP management system policy, it can be observed that the establishment of IP management system has a certain relevant importance. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on IP Advisors’ experience in training IP managers. Accordingly, it is recommended that the Government in future planning of network IP collaborate system should set short term and long term goal flexibly, such that the basic IP facilities within the members of the network can develop continuously. For example, short term goal for a legal research institute can be growing to a certain size for it to adjust or implement IP related policies. As for longer term goal, it can be a requirement to set up a unit or department to operate and manage IP. C. Expanding the definition of ‘Networks” Taiwan and Japan are high populated country on an island with limited land. Thus, if Taiwan and Japan insist on maintaining the geographic position for networking concept and adopting such concept on the regional economics for cluster effects, then it is difficult for Taiwan and Japan to compete with American Silicon Valley or other overseas universities. In light of the above, on establishing network of IP collaborative system, the Government should take reference from Japan’s practice in 2012 and combine same industry such as medicine industry or art industry in the definition of network. This will accelerate the integration of IP experience, information, and operation management capability within the network of same industry. Conclusion In conclusion, in order to establish academia-industry IP collaboration system and efficiently improve Taiwan’s IP management system in research organizations, first must focus on various policies tailored for different levels of collaboration so that it can be integrated and expand the integration of IP resources such that there is a good foundation to develop IP basic facilities. Following the establishment of good IP foundation, it can then be further develop to more complex IP programs such as IP landscape, planning and strategizing etc.Yearly Update on the Progress of the TIPS Project – summary of a research report on corporate investors’ view on introducing a corporate IP disclosure framework
Chien-Shan Chiu Background In the era where inventions drive the economy, the ability to create, capture and protect these inventive ideas has become vital for a corporation to stay competitive and sustain profit growth. Various government policies have been implemented in order to stimulate inventions and to strengthen the ability to protect these inventions through effective use of intellectual property (“IP”) rights. For the past few years, the TIPS (Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System) project has been promoted extensively aiming to increase public awareness towards IP rights and to assist local companies to establish a systematic and comprehensive IP management system. Over the years, the TIPS project has received wide recognition and positive feedbacks, and many TIPS-implemented companies are ready for the next challenges. After an extensive research, the project proposes to follow the international trend of encouraging companies to make better and more disclosure of intangible assets that are not often shown in the traditional financial statements1 . Local companies with effective IP management system and strategy are encouraged to compile an “Intellectual Property Management Report” summarizing its business, R&D and IP management strategies as well as their accumulated IP assets. In order to compile an Intellectual Property Management Report, a company is advised to re-identify its intellectual property, re-think about its strength and weakness in every aspect and where necessary, the company may also need to re-conduct a market, technology trend or competitor’s analysis, through which it is believed that a better and more effective IP strategy will be re-formulated. Formulating a well-planned corporate strategy that takes into account various IP issues is one of the main reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework. Promoting the disclosure of IP-related information so that the management efforts, visions and true capabilities of a corporation can be fully disclosed and recognized is the second major reasons for introducing the corporate IP disclosure framework. This essay begins with a brief update on the yearly progress of the TIPS project, follows by a summary of the research report on corporate investors’ view on initiating a framework for enhancing disclosure of corporate IP-related information. The research report contains the result of a survey conducted between April and June this year (year 2009), consisting questions to uncover local investors’ view and attitudes towards corporate IP, and to identify kinds of IP-related information required when making an investment decision as well as to find out to what extend local investors would support the government’s initiative on promoting a corporate IP disclosure framework. Update on the Yearly Progress of the TIPS Project In order to facilitate the promotion of TIPS, several supplementary services have been introduced (fees and expenses are fully or partially subsidized by the government this year) : (1) Free On-Line Self-Assessment Tool; (2) On-Site Diagnostic and Consulting Service (selected companies were fully subsidized); (3) “Demonstrative” Model Companies (selected companies were partially subsidized); (4) IP Management Courses (partially subsidized); (5) On-Site Auditing (for the Conformance of TIPS requirements) and issuing of the TIPS Compliance Certification (fully subsidized) . To the end of 2009, 401enterprises have completed the on-line self-assessment questions; 93 companies have received on-site diagnostic and consultation services; 847 persons have taken the IP management courses; 64 enterprises have successfully obtained the certificates for the compliance of TIPS and more than 299 enterprises have either completed or in the middle of implementing TIPS. Summary of the Research Report on Corporate Investor s’ View on Introducing a Corporate IP Disclosure Framework Even though it is clear that the idea of encouraging corporations to disclose non-financial information has started few decades ago in Europe and are currently being vigorously promoted by many major countries, we believe that in order to facilitate smooth promotion of the new IP disclosure framework, it is important to find out the local investors’ views and attitudes towards IP and to know how investors see the role of IP can play in a local corporation. Hence a survey was conducted at the initial stage of preparing the new corporate IP disclosure framework in Taiwan. The survey was sent via both mails and emails to 357 corporations, including venture capital firms; trust, investment consulting or management firms; security corporations, financial institutions and banks. More than one set of survey questionnaires could be distributed in one corporation to be filled by investors/analysts that are specialized in investing different industrial sectors. As a result, a total of 495 set of questionnaires were distributed.. Basic Data The survey was conducted between April to June 2009. At the end of June, a total of 150 investors/analysts responded which equals to a 33% response rate. Most of the survey respondents specialized in investing in various industrial sectors which include: semi-conductor; telecommunication; electronic components; 3C products; IT; optical; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; new energy resources; media; creative and culture and traditional manufacturing industries. Around 50% of the survey respondents have more than 5 years’ experience in investment; among them, 23% of the survey respondents have more than 10 years’ investment experience. Investors recognize the importance of IP A remarkable 94% of the survey respondents recognized that the ability to create, protect, manage and exploit IP has become an essential element for a company to stay competitive and sustain growth in today’s market environment. 88% of the survey respondents believe that companies with more or better IP assets are more likely to generate profits and 91% believe that such companies are more likely to survive in this ever-increasing competitive environment. Yet, 94% of the survey respondents agreed that not only a company should actively create IP assets, but the ability to exploit and thus extract value from the accumulated IP assets is what makes a company stand out among the others. Taking a step further, the survey result reveals that the respondent investors believe a company with effective and well-planned IP strategy is likely to: – Enhance its market competitiveness (84%); – Raise its overall corporate value (71%); – Maintain its market position (55%); – Increase its profitability (32%); – Affect its share price (30%); – Assist investors in evaluating such company’s managerial ability and performance (29%) as well as evaluating its future growth potential (28%). IP-related information influences investors’ investment decisions Given that most investors see the ability to create, manage and exploit IP assets as well as having a well-planned IP strategy are crucial for the survival of a company, 82% of the survey respondents indicate that IP-related information has been considered when making an investment decision. Furthermore, 85% of the survey respondents think that they will place greater emphasis on IP in assessing companies in the future. Indicators that used to assess/evaluate a company Most often used IP-related indicators identified by the survey respondents when making investment decisions are: – Core technology and its market competitiveness (77%) – Research ability (experience and achievement) (73%) – IP protection and management measures (41%) – IP strategy (align with overall corporate strategy and market/technology characteristics) (40%) – Ability to fully utilize self-owned IP assets (38%) – R&D expenditure and investment (35%) – No. of IP assets (35%) – Time taken for competing products to enter into the market (33%) – Cost of maintaining IP assets (19%) Ratio of intangible assets as to the overall corporate value (19%) : 20% of the survey respondents indicated that they have turned down investment in the past for inadequate IP awareness of the target companies. List of local companies with good and effective IP strategy The survey respondents were asked to name local Taiwanese companies which in their mind have most effective and sound IP strategy. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Foxconn, United Microelectrc (UMC), HTC, Acer are the top 5 most named companies given by the survey respondents. Having good quality of patents (such as essential or new technology patents); detailed and complete patent map; sound IP strategy; brand and professional IP/legal department are cited as the reasons that impress these investors. Inadequacy of public available IP-related information While most investors acknowledge the importance of IP and take into account various IP-related indicators when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that currently, the amount of IP-related information disclosed by companies are not sufficient for them to make an informed investment decision. When a question asking the survey respondents to identify the channels by which they obtained their desired IP-related information, the results were quite spread out. 45% of the survey respondents relied on asking the top managers directly; 43% relied on annual report; media and news (35%); website (34%); industrial journals (25%); competitors (15%) and other private channels (15%). It appears that various sources were used but no particular source provides sufficient information. Indeed, a remarkable 91% of the survey respondents believe that if there are more channels provided for corporations to disclose their internal IP information, more accurate assessment of the corporate value can be made. Support government’s initiative of promoting IP reporting framework Further, 73% of the survey respondents expressed their willingness to support the government’ s initiative of encouraging local companies to disclose their IP-related information. In relation to the initiation and promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, 64% of the survey respondents responded that it would be better to adopt a voluntarily disclosure policy and decide whether to switch to mandatory disclosure later; 22% think that only a voluntarily disclosure policy should be adopted followed by 14% of the survey respondents who believe that the government should adopt a mandatory disclosure policy from the start. When the survey respondents were asked to provide suggestions to facilitate the promotion of the corporate IP disclosure framework, the following suggestions were picked by the survey respondents: – Provide valuation tools to assist investors in assessing and analyzing IP related information (40%); – a central platform to collect and display all the complied IP management reports (21%); – lists of compulsory items to be disclosed in the report (21%); and – regulate the frequency of updating the contents of the report (15%). Conclusion Based on the results of the survey, we can conclude that the local investors’ view and attitude towards IP are similar to those in overseas. Majority of the investors (> 90%) see IP as valuable tools that could assist companies to create profits and sustain growth in today’s competitive market. While most of the investors (82%) have taken into account relevant IP information when making investment decisions, 76% of the survey respondents expressed that the amount of corporate IP-related information disclosed by companies are insufficient for them to make informed investment decisions. This is an important message that local companies should pay particular attention. It is hoped that through the introduction of the corporate IP disclosure framework, more adequate corporate IP information will be disclosed to assist investors in making better and accurate investment decisions. Consequently, a company’s true capabilities, managerial efforts and the intangible assets created upon can thus be fully appreciated and reflected on its market value. 1 Various national and institutional initiatives addressing the disclosure of corporate intellectual assets are currently being promoted vigorously at the international level such as Japan’s “IA based Management Report, (METI)”; Denmark’s “Intellectual Capital Statement (MSTI)”; European Union’s “Guidelines on Intangibles, MERITUM project”; U.S.’s “EBR 2.0 (Enhance Business Reporting Consortium)”; and The World Intellectual Capital/Assets Initiative (WICI) is currently working on developing a voluntary global framework for measuring and reporting corporate performance.