On January 25, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the Notice on Continuing and Strictly Regulating Patent Application Behavior (国家知识产权局关于持续严格规范专利申请行为的通知) to further crack down on irregular (abnormal) Chinese patent applications. In December 2021, CNIPA announced it had determined that about 815,000 patent applications were irregular so far in 2021.
Some of the main points to reduce irregular patent applications include:
- defining irregular patents as those that lapse after the first year of grant. (Article 1)
- generating a screening list of approved applicants based on R&D capabilities, etc. and CNIPA will perform less irregular patent application screening of their applications. An applicant will be removed from the list if it is found to have filed an irregular application and be “dealt with severely.” (Article 2)
- if an application is identified as irregular and the applicant does not respond or withdraw the application, the applicant will no longer be able to qualify for relevant local preferential policies and apply for national awards. It will also be removed from the screening list. (Article 4)
- focusing by local IP offices on “unusually large” numbers of applications, repeated irregular application, fraudulent use of others information to apply for patents, and shell companies that have no R&D investment, personnel or production/operation. This latter category may affect IP holding companies. (Article 5)
- reducing patent subsidies for patent grants by 25% per year until they are fully cancelled in 2025. (Article 6)
The full text of the Notice is available here (Chinese only).