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China to Further Crack Down on Malicious Trademark Applications and Irregular Patent Applications; Potentially Raise Filing Fees

On March 11, 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the on Notice on Deepening the Reform of “Delegation, Administration, and Service” in the Field of Intellectual Property, Optimizing the Innovation Environment and Business Environment (国家知识产权局关于深化知识产权领域“放管服”改革优化创新环境和营商环境的通知).  The Notice has a total of 16 Articles including reducing trademark and patent examination time; improving the quality of trademark and patent applications; improving the efficiency of intellectual property (IP) public services; enhancing IP protection capabilities; strengthening the supervision of the IP industry; and promoting the application and transformation of IP rights.

Highlights include:

By the end of 2021, the average examination period for trademark registration will be stable within 4 months, and the trademark registration period will be reduced from 8 months to 7 months; 1.35 million invention patent examination cases will be completed in 2021, and the examination period for invention patents will be reduced from 20 months to 18.5 months; the high-value patent examination period will be compressed to 13.8 months. 

By the end of 2021, the average review period for trademark transfer review, opposition review, refusal review, and invalidation will be reduced to 1.5 months, 12 months, 5.5 months, and 9 months, respectively.

By the end of June 2021, all local funding and rewards for trademarks and patent applications will be cancelled, and the intellectual property work will shift from pursuing quantity to improving quality…By the end of 2022, the number of high-value invention patents per 10,000 people will reach 8.3.

[Note that a goal high-value invention patents per 10,000 people was explicitly added into the new 14th 5-year plan.  Ge Shu, Director of the Strategic Planning Department of the CNIPA defined high-value invention patents in a briefing as: 

First are invention patents of strategic emerging industries; the second are invention patents that have the same family of patent rights overseas; the third are invention patents maintained for 10 years (annuities paid for 10 years); the fourth are invention patents with a higher amount of pledge financing; and fifth, invention patents that have won the National Science and Technology Award or the China Patent Award.]


Severely crack down on malicious registration of trademarks and irregular patent applications, refuse to accept or quickly reject trademark registration applications that have significant adverse effects in accordance with the law, and implement batch review of irregular patent applications.

Publish typical cases of malicious trademark registration in a timely manner, and regularly report or publish data on the proportion of high-quality patent applications and abnormal patent applications in various regions.

Increasing patent application fees is conducive to improving the quality of patents and suppressing some low-quality invention applications.

Severely crack down on the forgery and alteration of legal documents and seals, and the use of fraud and false propaganda to disrupt the order of the agency market.

The full text of the Notice is available here (Chinese only).

Principal, and Director of China Intellectual Property Practice

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