As first reported by 知识产权界, in 2020 the the Shanxi Provincial Market Supervision Bureau has fined seven intellectual property law firms in Shanxi province for unauthorized practice of law relating to patent applications. The Bureau confiscated illegal income and also fined the firms, collecting in all 534,290 RMB (about $82,120 USD). The sanctions are based on the China National Intellectual Property Administration’s (CNIPA) push under the Blue Sky program to clean up the patent agency business in China. This follows last year’s announcement by CNIPA that local Intellectual Property Offices have fined 56 Chinese patent firms a collective 2,455,067 RMB for unauthorized practice of law relating to patent applications.
The firms Shanxi Kexin Tongcheng Intellectual Property Management Consulting Co., Ltd., Shanxi Yundu Intellectual Property Service Co., Ltd., Taiyuan Wanbailin District Kechuang Intellectual Property Service Center, Taiyuan Kexinchang Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd., Shanxi Yuanda Spark Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd., Shanxi Jingrui Intellectual Property Service Co., Ltd., and Shanxi Zhongbang Gaochuang Technology Co., Ltd. have all provided patent agency services to clients without obtaining a patent agency license in accordance with the law.
The Blue Sky campaign has the following goals: cracking down on unlicensed patent agents and agencies (e.g., this announcement); continue to increase efforts to combat malicious trademark agency behavior (e.g., prior enforcement actions against trademark agencies for attempting to register coronavirus-related trademarks); actively guide network platforms to conduct intellectual property services in accordance with the law (e.g., intellectual property transfer pricing and information disclosure, etc.); continue to rectify illegal activities such as soliciting business by improper means; give full play to the role of information disclosure and credit supervision mechanisms (e.g., establish a patent agency information system that the public can search); and effectively strengthen industry self-discipline (e.g., via industry self-discipline standards).