Avoiding Waste: Patent Prosecution Highway pilots between China and Chile, and China and Czech Republic

According to Memoranda of Understanding between China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and the Industrial Property Institute of Chile (INAPI), and SIPO and the Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic (IPO-CZ), both combinations will start a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot on 1 January 2018. The Sino-Chilean pilot will end on 31 December 2020 and the Sino-Czech pilot on 31 December 2019.


A PPH can speed up the patent examination process, because the affiliated countries do not have to do the search, examination etc twice. The Japanese have a nice term for a sense of regret concerning waste if a resourc is not property utilized: MOTTAINAI. So MOTTAINAI can be avoided with a PPH.


See the announcement on the SIPO site here (Chinese), and on how applicants can make a PPH request, electronically at the Patent Office reception desk, here.



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Reduction of China’s Patent Fees Increases Challenges For Patent Quality



Since 2011, China is the world leader in the number of published invention patent applications (also the number of utility model and design patents is rising). China is in the process of doubling its number of patent applications (from more than 1 million patent applications in 2015). Subsidies and further fee reductions strengthen the incentive to apply for patents, thereby putting more pressure on the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) to assess patent quality.

According to China IP News, the Ministry of Finance and National Development and Reform Commission issued the Regulations on Reducing Patent Fees (Regulations) that became effective on 1 September 2016. The budget for the fee reduction is planned to be increased to RMb 4.1 billion per year as of 2016. Compare the budget for 2015 of RMB 3.5 billion.

The rationale behind this reduction is to decrease the threshold for inventors and companies to patent their inventions, and one measure to implement the Promotion Plan for the Implementation of the National Intellectual Property Strategy and acceleration of building an IP powerhouse in 2016, see SIPO’s July announcement here.


Article 4 Regulations states that the following groups are eligible for an 85 percent reduction of the patent application fee, excluding announcement printing fee and additional application fee; substantive examination fee for invention patent applications; annual fee for six years from the year the patent is granted; and re-examination fee:

  • Article 3(1) Regulations: Individuals whose average monthly income was less than RMB 3,500 (RMB 42,000 annually) in the previous year;
  • Article 3(2) Enterprises, business units, social organizations and non-profit making scientific research institutes whose corporate taxable income was less than RMB 300,000 in the previous year;

In case two or more individuals or units are co-applications or co-owners of a patent, the fees could be reduced to 70 percent (Article 4 Regulations).


Big discounts, big challenges for patent quality

These reductions of patent fees, together with provincial or city subsidies, will lead to an even stronger surge in patent applications and grants, and therefore an even stronger pressure for SIPO to guarantee a sufficient standard of quality.

There probably must be a soft spot between motivating innovators to apply for a patent that without subsidy or fee reductions would never do so, and those patent filers that have claims that are neither novel nor inventive, but try to get a patent anyway. When the SIPO is overwhelmed with patent applications, subpar patents will slip through.


“The generosity of China’s incentives for patent-filing may make it worthwhile… to patent even worthless ideas… Patents are easy to file,… but gems are hard to find in a mountain of junk.”Patents, yes; ideas, maybe The Economist, 14 October 2010.


See earlier IP Dragon articles about the same topic:


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Hong Kong will probably get independent patent, China’s SIPO will teach HK how to examine



After some welcome words of Professor Michael Hor (photo middle), the relatively new Dean of the Faculty of Law of HKU, Professor Paul Cheung (photo: right), Associate Vice President, Director of HKU Tech Transfer Office, talked briefly about the relationship of patents and innovation in China. He argued that the growth in the Chinese patents was indicative of the growth in innovation. (I would like to add to Professor Cheung’s words that the lion’s share of the patents or utility model patents and not invention patents, and that the quality of the patents might be very low since provincial and municipal governments provide subsidies for patents. A better yardstick might be the registration of patents by Chinese persons and companies abroad).

Then Ms Ada Leung (photo), the new Director of Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (IPD) spoke about the 2011 public consultation on plans for the introduction of an Original Grant Patent (OGP) system in Hong Kong. At the moment the IPD can only re-register patents that were examined and granted by the Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM), United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) or China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Via the public consultation the IPD is listening to the arguments of scholars, practitioners, interested parties and the public to find out the following: – whether Hong Kong IPD should be able to register OGPs, next to re-registering patents that have been granted by OHIM, IPO or SIPO; – and in case the answer is yes, whether Hong Kong should be able to do the examination themselves, which means acquire the knowledge and experience, or outsource it to a place that has the knowledge and experience. Ms Leung announced that in the first half of 2015 a new bill will be announced, which takes into account the comments of the public consultation. It seems that Hong Kong will choose for an OGP system next to the possibility of re-registration and is willing to build up the expertise in examination from scratch. Ms Leung told that the plan is that SIPO will help IPD with building up the expertise. This is a surprising choice given SIPO’s backlog and the alternatives of places that can help Hong Kong up to speed to set high standards of examination so that quality patents will be granted. See more of the Worldwide Patent Law Reform and Hong Kong’s Response Workshop here: http://www.ipdragon.org/2015/01/17/worldwide-patent-law-reform-and-hong-kongs-response-hku-workshop/.

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Imbalance in China’s IP Development Points to Relevance of Location, Location and Location

Where in China are my intellectual property rights most safe, or where in China can I enforce my IPRs best in case of an infringement or commercial dispute? To answer these questions one should ask first where is intellectual property most developed in China? You mean where in China do they most apply for patents registration, trademark registration or software copyright registrations? Or where these were most granted? Or where they enforce intellectual property infringements the most? But if they enforce intellectual property the most, does that mean that that region has the most infringements? Each question poses new questions. To be able to answer the first question “where is IP most developed in China” will remain complex.  One can argue that it has to do for the most part with the experience, education and fairness of the People’s courts; are they prone to corruption or local protectionism (localism), can they make impartial independent non-political decisions?


To reduce the complexity and come up with a workable answer IP Dragon has consistently written that Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have the best People’s courts for IP litigation, based on research and experiments of people in the field. The National Intellectual Property Development and Research Center (国家知识产权发展研究中心) of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) seems to confirm this. It published a report about the intellectual property development in different regions in China in the five years between 2007 and 2012.


The report ranked provinces and cities based on:


  • 4 primary indicators (creation, utilization, protection, environment); 10 secondary indicators and 40 tertiary indicators.
The results are not surprising:
Top 10 ranking
1. Guangdong province
2. Shanghai
3. Beijing
4. Zhejiang
5. Jiangsu
6. Shandong
7. Fujian
8. Hubei
9. Anhui
10. Sichuan
Numbers 1 to 7 (except for the capital Beijing) are all located at the east coast of China, and which are most economically developed. There is a clear parallel between the inequality between economic development in the east and west of China (Candelaria, Daly and Hale wrote more about the persistent regional inequality in China here (2013)  and the imbalance between the IP development in the east and west of China which can be expressed in IP development indices.
Wages are of course lowest in the regions that are less economically developed. Therefore, the choice for certain activities such as manufacturing at a location with low wages should always be weighed against the concomitant IP risks.


Read the 2012 National Intellectual Property Development Report (2012 年全国知识产权发展状况报告) here in Chinese.


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Bear and Dragon Try the Water for Fast Patent Examination Stream

After the U.S.A (USPTO)., Germany (DPMA), Korean (KIPO) and Japan (JPO), Russia might become the fifth country to have a patent prosecution highway with China.


State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO)’s commissioner Tian Lipu signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boris Simonov, director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Russian Federation (RFIPO) on a pilot of a patent examination highway between SIPO and RFIPO.

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Hong Kong’s Original Grant Patent, Reciprocity And Hong Kong’s Future As Legal Hub

On the last day one can send his or her opinion on the patent registration system in Hong Kong to the government, you will find an overview of what we can expect and what we can hope for. The patent system of Hong Kong, largely influenced by the re-registration patent system it inherited as a dependent […]

Patent Law: What is the best mode for the best mode disclosure requirement?

Bingbin Lu has an interesting short paper (9 pages only) on the best mode disclosure for patent applications. The author is answering two questions: whether a developing country should implement the best mode disclosure requirement and if so, how to best implement it? Although the best mode disclosure requirement is optional for WTO member states […]

John Marshall Law School Launches Chinese IP Resource Center in Chicago

A new wind from China has arrived in the windy cityPhoto: Danny Friedmann John Marshall Law School located in Chicago, US, has launched a Chinese Intellectual Property Resource Center, see here. Since 2007 the law school also has a China IP summer programme. Both intellectual property rights and China and its combination can rejoice in an […]

Sunday Local Selection: 95.6 mln RMB question, Hebei good/bad/ugly, new BMW product?, Taiwan Straits IP Centre, Nanning achievements, Starve Cancer to Death Medicine

Some local news items of China Intellectual Property 中國知識產權, Xinhuanet.com, Hebei.gov.cn, CNR.cn, Stats.gov.cn and China Quality Daily were presented in one article by China Daily about the following locations: Beijing, Hebei, Fujian, Guangxi, Guangdong. The 95.6 million Renminbi questionThe first item is about subsidies given to 600 companies in Beijing’s technology hub Zhongguancun in the last […]

Reptilian reportage

IP Komodo may have a forked tongue, but he speaks the IP truth! He has trawled this weeks China IP news and the hottest topic appears to be sightings of IP Dragon, with fiery tongue, sighted in the vicinity and very unamused by IP Komodo’s blogjacking. IP Komodo may need to beat a hasty return […]

The Lizard’s weekly news roundup

Some of the more interesting news stories IP Komodo has spotted this week: CNN reports on the growth in counterfeit wine trade in China. Destruction of the bottles is now common practice at the auction houses, for original fine wine bottles are not reused. Label errors are a common giveaway, but recorked fine wines (putting […]

Tian Lipu: “No Plagiarism ’cause China’s High Speed Rail Systems Climb Mountains”

At the ‘Third Intellectual Property and Urban Development Mayor Forum’, November 22, 2010, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) commissioner Tian Lipu refuted allegations that China’s high speed rail systems are based on plagiarism. See IP Dragon’ article ‘Knowledge Transfer in China: How To Train The Dragon To Consume You‘. Sina reports that China News […]

China’s Efforts To Promote a Culture for IPR and IPR Exploitation

Zhong Yonghua, official of the Legal Affairs Department of the State Intellectual Property Organisation (SIPO) gave a presentation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in the Japanese city Sendai, last September, 2010, which included information about how China is promoting the exploitation of intellectual property in China, see here. China’s Patent Industrialization Project; 13 […]

Don’t Feed The Patent Trolls in China and Start Your Own IP Team

Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) visited Samsung, according to the China Daily. Mr Tian was told by the Keun-Hee Park, president of Samsung’s operations in China that patent trolls were on the rise. One can argue that a patent troll, or more neutrally called a non-practising entity (NPE) abuses its […]

National IP Strategy 2010 Is Coming

In 2008 China launched a comprehensive National IP Strategy, read ‘Feasible Commitments or Road To Nowhere Paved With Good Intentions‘. March 1, 2010, China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) announced that during the second liaison officer meeting a draft of new National IP Strategy is discussed. See here. Wondering what the changes will be. To […]

Beijing Subsidies for Foreign Patents: Allowed Or Not? Smart Or Not?

October 9, 2009 the Beijing Intellectual Property Office, subsidiary of SIPO for the Beijing Municipality promulgated a circular on Applying for Special Funds for Financing Patent Applications in Foreign Countries. It stated: “Each United Concerned, According to the requirements of the State Council concerning the implementation of national intellectual proeprty strategy, in order to support […]

Almost One Million Patent Applications in China in 2009

China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) reports the following statistics: 976,686 patent applications (up 17.9%) 877,611 domestic (89.9% and up 22.4%) 99,075 from abroad (10.1%, down 10.9%) 229,096 invention-patents (up 17.7%) 308,861 utility model-patents (up 37.9%) 339,654 design-patents (up 13.7%) 581,992 granted patents (up 41.2%) 501,786 patent granted to domestic filers (86.2%, up 42.4%) 80,206 […]

Five IP Offices: The site…

The five biggest patent offices of the world: USPTO (US), SIPO (China), EPO (EU), JPO (Japan) and KIPO (South Korea) cooperate. They have a website and you can see their common projects, here. Hat tip to the IPKat.

China Leads IP5 Meeting on Jeju Island in South Korea

October 27 and 28, 2008, the IP5 European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), China’s State Intellectual Property Organisation (SIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) came together for the second time, this year on the beautiful vulcanic island of Jejudo, South Korea. The delegation was […]

The Importance of ‘Practical Applicability’ in China’s Patent Law

Ms Ester H. Lim (Finnegan Shanghai) and Ms Angela Y. Dai (Finnegan Washington, D.C.) wrote a nice article about their take on IP in China for the WorldTrade Magazine called ‘Policy Perspectives: The Current Reality with IP in China’. It includes a discription of the case Merck & Co. versus Henan Topfond Pharmaceutical Co., about […]

New Draft Third Patent Law Amendment: Slight Improvements

In the beginning of this year there was not much reason for optimism regarding the third patent law amendment, read ‘Curb your enthousiasm. The earlier draft included the requirement that Chinese legal and natural persons must first apply for patents before making foreign applications. That’s why I wrote in July ‘Discover Your Invention in China […]

Did Schneider Electric Infringed Its Own French Patent In China?

These days a high voltage commercial dispute is raging in the transnational low voltage products industry about a utility model, (which falls under the Patent Law, see article 2). What happened? Saturday, September 29, the Wenzhou Intermediate People’s Court ruled in the case of the Chint Group Co. versus Leqing Branch of Star Electric Equipment […]

Of IP’s Most Important Figures of 2007 Who is Most Relevant to IP in China?

The magazine Managing Intellectual Property announced IP’s Most Important Figures of 2007. Of this group, who deserved this title because of its role regarding IP in China? Obviously this includes Ms Wu Yi (China’s vice-premier and IP-negotiator) and Mr Tian Lipu (commissioner of China’s State Intellectual Property Organisation), but also Mr Jack Chang (senior IP […]

Sino-American WTO Consultations Disaster, Blame Game Ensues

April 10, the US filed two formal complaints against China at the WTO, one for unsufficient IP and one for lack of market access for copyrighted goods. After a formal complaint at the WTO the two parties had 60 days for consultations. The US and China only took two days (5-6 June about market access […]

China About to Publicise ‘Important’ IPR Cases

Xinhua reports via People’s Daily Online that envoys of foreign governments and representatives of international organizations will be allowed to attend IPR trials if they wish, said Jiang Zengwei of the State Office of Intellectual Property Protection (SIPO), quoting an action plan. More important could be the following:“The country will publicize important trial information through […]

SIPO Deputy Director Does Not Want to Discuss How To Enforce Patent Infringement

SIPO deputy director Zhang Qin was interviewed by Emma Barraclough of Managing Intellectual Property in Geneva. Zhang said: “[T]he counterfeiting and piracy of copyright and trade marks is illegal and should be punished. We have to be trustable. We want a good market order system – that’s the way to develop the economy.“ But patents […]

SIPO: “Digital Radio Standard Will Shake Few Foreign Companies’ Dominance”

SIPO reports that the Ministry of Information Technology released a national standard on multi-channel digital radio coding and decoding technology for the digital radio industry. And it wrote reassuringly: “The standard which be widely used in digital television and digital radio will shake few foreign companies’ dominance in the field.” China is pushing home-bred innovations […]

Patent Law Draft About to be Adopted: How Will Patent Law Change?

China Daily’s reports via People’s Daily that China’s third revision of its patent law is drafted. On July 31, 2006 SIPO promulgated the Draft of Amendments to the Patent Law for public comments. Draft amendments to the law were handed to the State Council for deliberation on December 27, according to the State Intellectual Property […]

SIPO’s Patent ABC

SIPO is giving 19 answers to 19 questions about patents.On a whole it gives an fast overview of China’s patent law. It is peculiar that SIPO is giving information (Q&A number 19) about the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which has its own basic law and IPR system, separate from the PRC. Read here.

Pyrrhic Victory For Anti Patent Pool Professors Against Philips

Remember Zhang Ping, the IPR professor of Peking University who in December 2005 attacked a patent of Philips that was part of the 4C DVD pool because it was alleged to be not essential, read here. Emma Barraclough followed the story for Managing IP: In January 2006, Zhang got support of four other law professors […]

Pfizer Accuses Guangzhou Welman Of Copyright Infringement

Pfizer sued Guangzhou Welman for alleged copyright infringement of Viagra reports Forbes. I wonder why Pfizer’s allegations focused on copyright infringement instead of patent infringement, or both. Or is copyright used mistakingly as the prototype of an intellectual property? Read more here In 2001 Pfizer obtained a Chinese patent license for ViagraJuly 2004 SIPO’s Patent […]

New patent reform China ready next year and special IPR court proposed by SIPO

Liu Weiling of the China Daily wrote that Chinese patent law, promulgated in 1985, was amended in 1992 and 2000, and will be reformed again. “The sections that are likely to be revised will include how to simplify patent application and examination procedures, whether to adopt international standards in granting patents, and how to improve […]