On January 27, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released a Notice titled “Blue Sky” special rectification campaign of the intellectual property agency industry has achieved positive results in 2021 (2021年知识产权代理行业“蓝天”专项整治行动取得积极成效). The Blue Sky campaign aims to crack down on illegal IP agency behavior in China such as abnormal (irregular) patent applications and malicious trademark applications.
Per the Notice, in 2021, CNIPA interviewed 2,350 agencies, ordered 2,105 agencies to make rectification, issued 220 fines and warnings, and closed 12 agencies. CNIPA further severely punished unqualified patent agency behavior (unauthorized practice of patent law), with a fines totaling more than 12 million RMB (~$1.9 million USD), the highest of which was 1.04 million RMB. On the trademark side, CNIPA “severely cracked down” on malicious trademark application agency acts such as squatting on popular terms about the Olympics, interviewed 6 agencies, filed 24 cases for investigation and punished agencies in 13 cases.
CNIPA has actively monitored “relevant data in key links such as patent examination, trademark examination, and social security information, [to] timely discover clues of abnormal patent applications, malicious trademark applications, and abnormal per capita agency volume.”
CNIPA has strengthened its focus on illegal acts such as acting as an agency for abnormal patent applications, filing patent applications without a license, agencies filing malicious trademark applications, forgery and alteration of official documents, and defraud patent applicants of relevant fees, etc.
CNIPA has also started to include serious illegal agency behaviors in the list of serious illegal and untrustworthy acts issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation. CNIPA also has drafted and formulated the “Administrative Measures for the Credit Evaluation of Patent Agents (Trial)“, and selected the relevant provinces for trial. In accordance with the law, 48 patent agencies were included in the list of abnormal business operations.
The full text of the Notice is available here (Chinese only).