Taiwan MOJ Issues Letter to Prosecutors Re: Powers of Attorney in IPR Criminal Cases

After some recent problems with Taiwan prosecutors demanding to see powers of attorney from foreign IP rights-holders that had been notarized (using the standard method) and “legalized” (using further authentication at a Taiwan overseas representative office) in cases where it was clear from the context and other documentation that the Taiwan lawyers representing them were duly authorized, the Taiwan Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has now issued a letter to its prosecutors to rein in these demands.

Such demands had for years been prominent in the position papers released by the relevant IP committees of the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), as such demands for such documentary formalities were delaying cases and raising questions of WTO and TRIPS Agreement compliance for Taiwan.

In relevant part, the letter reads: “Please inform all prosecutors at respective prosecutors offices when processing cases involving foreign nationals who authorize representatives to handle IPR-related criminal cases in Taiwan to refer to decision letter Fa-jian-jue-zi No. 0910806138 of December 19, 2002, which states if it can be concluded by the evidence available that the power of the attorney is genuine, it is then inadvisable to request further authentication of such power of attorney, so as to avoid delays in the legal process.”

After recent instances where a prosecutor demanded not only to see notarized/legalized powers of attorney for the legal counsel but also notarized/legalized authorization documents proving that the signer of the notarized/legalized powers of attorney was authorized, himself, to sign such approvals for outside counsel, the ECCT IPR Committee set up a meeting with the MOJ. Eiger Law partner John Eastwood, chair of the ECCT IPR Committee, along with Eiger Law colleague Eve Chen discussed the problem with MOJ officials.