China focuses on speeding up patent and trademark examination during 14th Five-Year Plan

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Following the promulgation of the 14th Five-Year Plan for Intellectual Property Protection by China’s State Council in October 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) recently released specific work plans to implement the aforementioned 14th Five-Year Plan for Patent and Trademark Examinations. . The CNIPA plan indicates in particular the emphasis on moving from quantity to quality in intellectual properties, and therefore the need both to speed up examinations of patents and trademarks, and to improve the quality of applications. .

On the patent sidethe CNIPA provided predictive indicators in 2025 on the duration of the tests as follows:

Items Factual values ​​in 2020 Expected values ​​in 2025
Time required for the examination of invention patent applications since the start of the examination 20 months 15 months
Time required for decisions in invalidation proceedings since the initiation of the case 6 months 6 months
Index of user satisfaction with the quality of patent examination 85.4 85 or more
Accuracy of Invention Patent Examination 92.2% 95%

Compared to the expected patent examination time above, the average examination time for standard cases at the EPO was 23.2 months at the end of Q1 2021 (source: EPO Quality Report 2020). On the USPTO side, the agency now makes final decisions – either allowing a patent or issuing a final rejection – on average within 23.3 months (source: USPTO Year Review USPTO). As such, it is expected that during China’s new five-year plan, CNIPA’s search and examination results could provide applicants filing patent applications worldwide with an early indication of their chances of success, and could serve as the basis for various patent prosecution highway programs. .

Other important goals mentioned in the plan include:

  1. Improve examination standards on new technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and genetic technology
  2. Establish different exam guidelines based on technology areas
  3. Complete removal of patent subsidies at various government levels
  4. Perform dynamic patent quality inspection and clean up abnormal patent applications.

On the brand sidethe predictive indicators of the CNIPA in terms of exams for 2025 compared to those of 2020 are as follows:

Items Factual values ​​in 2020 Expected values ​​in 2025
Time Required for Consideration of General TM Registration Applications 8 months 7 months
Time Required for TM Assignment Review 2 months 1 month
Time required for review of TM amendment or renewal 1 month 15 days
Time Required for TM Opposition Examination 14 months 10 months
Time required for TM review Refusal review 6 months 5.5 months
Time Required for Consideration of TM Invalidation Request 10 months 10 months
TM registration background examination quality pass rate 95% 97%

In fact, the review time for most types of trademark cases in China is already not long compared to many other jurisdictions. In practice, on the contrary, many applicants would like to see the CNIPA slow down the processing of certain cases, in particular requests for re-examination of trademark refusals, and wait for the outcome of the ancillary actions brought by the applicants against the aforementioned. trademarks (such as actions for cancellation for non-use, oppositions and requests for invalidation). CNIPA’s current practice is generally not to await the outcome of any ancillary actions, which has resulted, in part, in the extremely low success rate of trademark examination in refusal cases in China (only about 30%) and a large number of repeated complaints filed trademark registration applications.

Other important objectives mentioned in the plan with respect to trademark review include, but are not limited to:

  1. Expand channels to raise questions about the quality of trademark review and expedite the handling of reports or complaints
  2. Strengthen the coordination and alignment of the examination of trademark applications with other procedures, such as oppositions, judgment cases (e.g. examination of refusals, invalidation requests, etc.)
  3. Establish a rapid approval mechanism for collective marks and certification marks
  4. Curb malicious trademark filings and publish statistical reports in this regard on a quarterly basis.

Conclusion

Most of these goals have already been proposed and are in line with China’s plans to make the country the global technology leader of the 21st century. The Chinese government should develop more concrete implementation measures to achieve these goals. An initiative already in place is the publication by CNIPA on January 27, 2022 of the “Regulations on the management of intellectual property credit”, which classifies six types of acts, such as irregular patent applications not intended to protect the innovation and malicious trademark claims, such as acts of credibility damage, and the parties involved will be listed and punished for serious violations.

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