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Export-reliant Taiwan is recovering from depressed demand from Japan, its largest trading partner, and the rest of the developed world. Taiwan’s government, recognising that an international focus is the key to economic growth, introduced measures to encourage inward investment, including revising an unpopular capital gains tax that may have contributed to the stock market’s poor performance. Liberalisation of financial and trading arrangements with China increased cross-straits business. Taiwan signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand and is looking to reach a similar agreement with Singapore.
2012 saw an uptick in strategic M&A with more cross-straits and international deals, although private equity activity remains subdued. The largest full-service firms – Baker & McKenzie, Jones Day, Lee and Li and Tsar & Tsai Law Firm – have maintained their reputation for excellence, winning instructions on high-profile deals such as Mediatek’s $3.83bn acquisition of MStar Semiconductor, as well as Stanley Black & Decker’s $237m two-step purchase of Tong Lung Metal Industry.
Home to many hi-tech manufacturers, including Taiwan Semiconductor, United Microelectronics, Acer and HTC Corporation, Taiwan has an active and increasingly international IP market which is dominated on the contentious side by local full-service firms, and on the prosecution side by patent and trade mark offices led by Saint Island International Patent & Law Offices, TIPLO Attorneys-at-Law and Top Team International Patent & Trademark Office. International firms represent Taiwanese manufacturers in global patent protection and enforcement work.