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China’s National Intellectual Property Administration Announces Record 2.49 Million RMB Fine Against Patent Firm for Unauthorized Practice of Law and Filing Abnormal Patent Applications

On June 8, 2022, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced a record 2.49 million RMB (~$372 thousand USD) fine against a Zhejiang-based patent firm for practicing patent law without a license and filing abnormal (irregular) patent applications.  The fine is part of the “Blue Sky” program to crack down on problems in the patent industry.  The previously reported highest fine was 1.04 million RMB.

The Zhejiang Provincial Market Supervision Bureau (Intellectual Property Office) received evidence from the CNIPA and found that the unnamed agency was suspected of unauthorized practice of patent law, and immediately began an investigation. It was determined that the agency started in 2016 to carry out the patent agency business without obtaining a license to practice as a patent agency. Since March 1, 2019 (the date of the implementation of the new “Patent Agency Regulations”), the agency has represented 137 patent applicants in 566 patent applications, generating revenue  of more than 840,000 RMB – deducting the taxes and fees paid of  10,000 RMB yielded illegal income of more than 830,000 RMB. The agency also engaged in abnormal patent applications. The Zhejiang Provincial Market Supervision Bureau (Intellectual Property Office) decided to confiscate the illegal income and impose an administrative penalty totaling more than 2.49 million RMB.

CNIPA stated, 

Unqualified patent agency acts have seriously disrupted the order of the agency industry, and cracking down on unqualified patent agency is one of the key tasks of the “Blue Sky” special rectification action.

This case has played a great deterrent effect on the behavior of unqualified patent agents, and demonstrated the determination to strictly eliminate unqualified patent agents. In the next step, the CNIPA will increase the crackdown on unqualified patent agency behaviors, purify the industry environment, and promote the healthy and orderly development of the intellectual property agency industry.

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

Principal, and Director of the China Intellectual Property Practice

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