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Part 9: Signing in to the digital age

Electronic signatures are generally accepted around the globe. But different countries have different requirements for electronic signatures. Here are the rules for Taiwan. 

Taiwanese bubble tea has been making an impact internationally and is just one great example of one of the trendy and lucrative businesses that have gained traction globally from Taiwan. 

Foreign trade has been spearheading the growth of Taiwan’s economy for the past few decades. As a key country on the economic rise, Taiwan is a hot spot for foreign businesses to set up a branch of their office. 

With international business in the modern era, it’s important to know where different countries stand on e-signatures. 

Read on to learn more about the legal compliance for electronic signatures in Taiwan specifically, and watch out for more in this series on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Cayman Islands, and BVI.

The Rules

Taiwan has enacted the Electronic Signatures Act in 2001 meaning parties can use any form of electronic signature to create recognised contracts and documents. To prove a valid contract, parties may need to present evidence in court. Electronic records are admissible as evidence. 

Article 4: With the consent of the other party, an electronic record can be employed as a declaration of intent.

Where a law or regulation requires that information be provided in writing, if the content of the information can be presented in its integrity and remains accessible for subsequent reference, with the consent of the other party, the requirement is satisfied by providing an electronic record.

Article 9: Where a law or regulation requires a signature or seal, with the consent of the other party, the requirement is satisfied by using an electronic signature.

Applicability of Electronic Signatures

Article 9 – By stipulation of a law or regulation or prescription of a government agency, the application of the preceding paragraph may be exempted, or otherwise require that particular technology or procedure be followed. In the event that particular technology or procedure is required, the stipulation or prescription shall be fair and reasonable, and shall not provide preferential treatment without proper justifications.

Use Cases for E-sign

Instances where electronic signatures are generally considered appropriate:

  • HR documents, such as new employee onboarding processes including employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, employee invention agreements, privacy notices, and benefits paperwork 
  • transfers of intellectual property (e.g., copyright assignments and patents)
  • licenses for intellectual property, including patent, copyright, software and trademark
  • commercial agreements between corporate entities, including non-disclosure agreements, invoices, purchase orders, sales agreements and service agreements
  • consumer agreements, including purchase orders, order confirmations, sales terms, services terms,  invoices, shipment documentation, user manuals, and policies (but not consumer loan agreements). 
  • residential and commercial lease agreements
  • transfers of intangible property (e.g., patent and copyright assignments)

Use Cases Requiring Physical Signature

There are some cases where a handwritten signature will be necessary. These include:

  • Home care service agreements for foreign workers
  • Issuance and amendment of passport 
  • Notarization – real property transfer contracts and deeds
  • Application documents required under Land Expropriation Act, Construction Act, Sand and Gravel Excavation Act, Factory Management Act
  •  Notices of insurance contracts and evidential documents for insurance claims under the Insurance Law required by the Financial Supervisory Commission (Ruling dated March 31, 2016 No. 10502561091 by the Financial Supervisory Commission)
  • Securities transactions and listing documents required by the Financial Supervisory Commission under Securities Transaction Act, Merger and Acquisition Act, Regulations Governing the Administration of Shareholder Services of Public Companies (Ruling dated August 17, 2016 No. 10500309771 by the Financial Supervisory Commission)  

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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Read more from the E-Signature Series: Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, Macau, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan

READ MORE: Is e-signing legally binding? 

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