IP Agreement Between US and China in Phase One Trade Deal

“China and the United States have reached consensus on strengthening intellectual property protection in several aspects, including protection of trade secrets, intellectual property issues related to drugs, extension of patent validity, geographical indications, crackdown on piracy and counterfeiting on e-commerce platforms, and crackdown on piracy and counterfeiting production and export of products, combating malicious registration of trademarks, and strengthening judicial enforcement and procedures of intellectual property.” Wang Shouwen, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Deputy Representative of International Trade Negotiations

Twelve Chinese Provinces and Cities Strengthen Cooperation in Administrative Protection of Intellectual Property

The Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Jiangsu, Shandong, Guangdong, Chongqing, Sichuan, Hubei, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shanghai Intellectual Property Offices of the 12 Chinese provinces and municipalities jointly signed the “Provincial and Municipal Intellectual Property Administrative Cooperation Agreement” in Shanghai. According to the agreement, relevant provinces and cities will further cooperation in terms of clue transfer of intellectual property administrative protection cases, assistance in investigation and enforcement, joint law enforcement protection, mutual recognition and sharing of results, etc., and enhance work synergy.

According to the agreement, the Twelve Provinces and Municipal Intellectual Property Offices will further open channels for the transfer of relevant case leads, strengthen cooperation in case investigation and evidence collection, processing of document delivery, and implementation of processing decisions, and promote the establishment of a mutual recognition mechanism for intellectual property infringement determination, the city’s key trademark protection mutual recognition list, etc., and strengthen the sharing of service resources such as intellectual property infringement dispute inspection and appraisal, arbitration and mediation, and overseas rights protection assistance.

In addition, the relevant provinces and cities will also carry out joint enforcement and handling of major events such as the Expo, the Canton Fair, the Winter Olympics, exhibitions, the Internet, and professional markets, as well as major and difficult cases, and crack down on intellectual property infringements.

China Allows Patenting of Inventions Using Certain Human Embryos

The National Intellectual Property Administration of China recently amended its Patent Examination Guidelines to remove certain restrictions on stem cells inventions using certain human embryos.

According to Section II, Chapter 1, 3.1.2, … … If the invention is to use human embryos within 14 days after fertilization and have not undergone in vivo development to separate or acquire stem cells, the patent may not be denied on the grounds of “violating social morality”.

The amendment takes effect November 1, 2019.

China Unifies IP Appeals at New IP Tribunal of Chinese Supreme People’s Court

Effective January 1, 2019, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court will form a new IP Tribunal to hear IP appeals, including patent appeals, from across the country. IP Appeals against the first-instance judge of the IP courts and Intermediate Court are no longer heard by the Provincial High Court.

The Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress voted to pass the “Decision on Several Issues Concerning the Proceedings of Patent Cases” on October 26, 2018.

According to the Decision, the Supreme People’s Court shall hear the appeals from the parties who are dissatisfied with the first-instance judgments and rulings of intellectual property civil or administrative cases involving invention patents, utility model patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout designs, trade secrets, computer software, monopoly, etc. The Supreme People’s Court may also order the people’s court at a lower level for retrial.

A national level IP appeal forum may unify and standardize the judicial IP enforcement, facilitate and protect scientific and technological innovation.

China Renamed Its IP Office to China National Intellectual Property Administration

China recently renamed State Intellectual Property Office to China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). This represents one step closer to combine both patent and trademark administration into one regulatory body. The CNIPA will have four important functions:

1. Organizing the implementation of the national intellectual property strategy, especially to strengthen the creation, protection and application of intellectual property rights;

2. Promoting the construction of intellectual property protection system, guiding the administrative enforcement of trademarks and patents;

3. Being responsible for the registration and administrative ruling of patents, trademarks, geographical indications of origin; and

4. Coordinating foreign-related intellectual property matters, and conducting foreign intellectual property negotiations.

China Will Reorganize State Intellectual Property Office

According to the Thirteenth National People’s Congress, the State Council will reorganize the State Intellectual Property Office. The responsibility of the current State Intellectual Property Office, the responsibility of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on trademark management, and the responsibilities of the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on the administration of geographical indications of origin shall be integrated, and the new State Intellectual Property Office shall be reorganized and managed by the State Market Supervision Administration.

China Revises Law to Protect Fair Competition

On November 4, 2017, the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress amended the Chinese Anti-Unfair Competition Law to regulate online market.

The changes target online retailers and will come into effect as of January 1, 2018. The new law forbids business operators from building fake image of themselves to attract new customers. For example, the revised law stipulates that business operators should not deceive consumers by faking sales or employing “click farms” to rack up positive product reviews. The penalties for violation include fines ranging from $30,000 to $150,000 as well as revocation of business licenses in extreme cases.

Chinese intellectual property infringement cases increased by 40% in 2016

On July 5, 2017, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court Information Center issued a special report on the judicial data on infringement of intellectual property rights. The number of IPR infringement cases increased by 41.34% in 2016 compared with 2015 to reach more than 70000.
The report shows that, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, the average period for trial and decision is 105 days for IPR infringement cases. Among them, the counterfeiting of others patents, infringement of the invention patent and infringement of computer software copyright and other nine cases of trial cycles more than the average trial cycle.

Chinese patent applications surge 45% in 2016

World Intellectual Property Organization recently published 2016 Report on Global Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international patent application. The report shows that PCT international patent applications from China reached 43,100, surging 45% over the previous year, ranking third behind the United States (56,000) and Japan (45,000).

From the number of applications point of view, the distance between China and Japan is already very close, while China maintained a higher growth rate. The World Intellectual Property Organization predicts that China will surpass Japan this year, surpassing the United States in two years, ranking first in the world.