The Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) recently issued Administrative Measures of Collective Patent Examination (pilot) (专利申请集中审查管理办法（试行). The new measures allow for the collective examination of patent applications related to the same technology by the same applicant, thereby potentially expediting examination of groups of patent application and improving consistency of examination of the group applications.
To be eligible to participate in this pilot program, the group of applications must meet the following criteria:
- Applicants should have requested substantive examination but CNIPA should not have started the examination yet.
- The Chinese patent applications should be directed to major national advantageous industries, or is of great significance to national interests and public interests. However, these terms are not defined in the measures but technologies referenced in the Made in China 2025 strategic plan will probably qualify (e.g., robotics).
- The minimum number of applications should be at least 50.
- Patent applications should not also be undergoing expedited examination (e.g., Patent Prosecution Highway or Prioritized Examination).
If approved for collective examination, the applicant should actively cooperate with CNIPA, including providing relevant technical materials, providing technical briefings to Examiners, and timely provide feedback on the procedure.
There is no fee for the procedure and the procedure should expedite examination for groups of applications related to a same technology. For example, standard essential patent applications related to information technology might benefit from the procedure.