On March 12, 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the Notice of the CNIPA on the in-depth development of the “Blue Sky” special rectification action (国家知识产权局关于深入开展“蓝天”专项整治行动的通知). In early 2019, CNIPA launched the Blue Sky special rectification action to clean up the intellectual property industry including cracking down on irregular patent applications and soliciting business by improper means. The current Notice states that CNIPA will continue to carry out Blue Sky rectification actions this year addressing specific IP agency issues including irregular patent applications and malicious trademark filings.
Per the Notice, CNIPA will
1. increase the deterrence of patent application agency activities that are not aimed at protecting innovation, that is, crack down on patent agencies that file irregular patent application as defined in the “Measures Regarding the Regulation of Patent Applications” (关于规范申请专利行为的办法);
2. severely crack down on the filing of malicious trademark applications that are not for the purpose of use by trademark agencies;
3. continue to severely crack down on unqualified patent agents, that is, the unauthorized practice of law with respect to patents;
4. strengthening the guidance norms for platform-based Intellectual Property marketplaces for the sale and transfer or IP;
5. severely crack down on forgery and alteration of legal documents and seals, including false advertising;
6. strengthening coordination between daily supervision and long-term projects including disclosing administrative punishments of patent and trademark agencies and their employees;
7. give full play to the role of industrial organizations and self-supervision including establishing patent and trademark agency industry organization and issuing self-disciplinary rules; and
8. strengthen the supervision and guidance of the Blue Sky operation.
Previous rectification operations include Shanxi fining 7 IP Firms for operating unlicensed (unauthorized practice of law); Shanghai fining a patent firm for filing 26 irregular applications; fining Alibaba for malicious trademark filings; prison for the filing of 200 fraudulent patent applications; and others. We can expect more the of these types of actions as the year progresses.