Each month, GOV.UK delivers an insightful newsletter that sheds light on the latest intellectual property (IP) developments in China. In this blog post, we'll explore the key takeaways from the GOV.UK monthly newsletter, as summarized by European Trademark and Design Attorney Elina Ljungberg.
China's National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has recently unveiled its annual objectives for fostering the high-quality growth of intellectual property (IP) in the country. With a focus on streamlining patent examination processes, enhancing IP protection mechanisms, and regulating generative AI services, these initiatives demonstrate China's commitment to innovation and IP development. In this blog post, we will explore five key points that highlight these measures and their potential impact.
1. Shortened Examination Period for Invention Patents
By the end of 2023 the examination period for invention patents has been reduced to 16 months, and the accuracy rate of case closure has reached over 93%. In general, the trademark registration cycle is stable at 7 months, and the pass rate of trademark substantive examination and random inspection is over 97%. This ambitious target will accelerate the patent approval process, allowing innovators to bring their ideas to market more quickly and efficient. By expediting patent examinations, China encourages a favourable environment for innovation, driving economic growth and fostering technological advancements.
2. Strengthened IP Protection and Registration
To enhance IP protection, the CNIPA is exploring the establishment of a data-based IP protection and registration system. By leveraging advanced technologies and data analysis, this system will provide robust support in identifying and resolving IP infringement cases efficiently. Collaborative efforts with ASEAN, Central Asia, and neighbouring regions will further strengthen IP protection frameworks, fostering regional cooperation and creating a secure IP landscape.
3. Credit Evaluation System for Patent Agencies and Attorneys
The CNIPA has introduced administrative measures to oversee patent agencies and attorneys through a credit evaluation system. By categorizing agencies and attorneys into Grades "A," "B," "C," and "D," this system ensures that the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct are maintained. Agencies and attorneys with Grade D ratings will face increased scrutiny and strict oversight, promoting accountability and safeguarding the integrity of the patent system.
4. Bad faith trademark registrations
To thoroughly implement the objectives and tasks to become a powerful intellectual property country, the CNIPA issued a work plan for systematically governing bad faith trademark registration and promoting high-quality development (2023-2025). This plan aims to consolidate the achievements in combating bad faith trademark registrations by minimizing the living space of malicious registration to the greatest extent; to effectively prevent and resolve the major risks in the trademark field; and to provide a strong guarantee for the construction of an intellectual property. Paying attention to the systematicness, integrity and synergy of the work, focusing on solving problems, strengthening the legal support, learning from international mature practices, actively demonstrating regulatory measures for malicious trademark registrations, significantly increasing the cost of violations of laws and regulations, and providing a strong institutional guarantee for combating malicious trademark registrations. Furthermore, applicants and trademark agencies who engage in malicious registration of trademarks in violation of laws and regulations shall be punished according to law.
5. Accelerated Examination for Post-Grant Services
The CNIPA has issued guidelines to expedite the examination process for post-grant services related to trademarks. Nine specific circumstances, such as urgent requirements for public listings or financing pledges, qualify applicants for accelerated examination. This streamlined process enables businesses to promptly address crucial activities like annulment, correction, renewal, assignment, and modification, facilitating efficient trademark management and protection.
6. "Blue Sky" Rectification Campaign
To combat IP agency misconduct, the CNIPA has launched the "Blue Sky" Rectification Campaign. This campaign targets bad-faith pre-emptive trademark registrations and patents with abnormal application patterns. By identifying such practices, the CNIPA aims to curb abuse and protect legitimate IP rights. Strengthening positive guidance for patent agencies and providing standardized practices will ensure a fair and transparent IP ecosystem. In 2022, the CNIPA gave oral warnings to 1 489 patent agencies, ordering the rectification of 923 agencies, looking into 332 cases of alleged misconduct, of which 238 administrative penalties were issued.
7. Five companies ranked in top 10
Five Chinese companies dominate the global rankings of 5G Standard Essential Patent (SEP) holders. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) recently published a Research Report on Global 5G SEP and Standard Proposals (2023), unveiling some notable findings. According to the report, among the top 10 enterprises with the highest number of valid global patent families, are Chinese companies. This represents an increase of one Chinese company compared to the previous year. The leading positions are occupied by Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung, ZTE, LG, Nokia, Ericsson, DT, OPPO, and Xiaomi, while Apple has dropped out of the top 10.
Some key statistics from 2022
- 645 new patent agency firms were established
- 1.8 million computer software copyright registrations were recorded
- 798 000 invention patents were granted
- The examination cycle for invention patents was reduced from 18.5 months to 16.5 months and the average examination cycle for trademark registration remains stable at 4 months
- 9 106 licenses for the design of integrated circuits were issued
- 6 177 000 trademark registrations were approved
- The customs offices across China took 64 600 actions to protect IP rights, with 60 900 batches (over 77million items) of suspected infringing goods for import and export detained.
For more information about the newsletters, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/china-ip-newsletter
Please check for practical information regarding IP in China: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ip-in-china
Head of UK Operations, Service Manager, European Trademark and Design Attorney
+358 45 271 3448