On May 8, 2023, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced that it revoked the licenses of 5 patent firms that collectively filed 30,780 abnormal (irregular) patent applications. This follow’s CNIPA’s announcement in March 2023 of sanctions against 7 firms that collectively filed over 20,000 abnormal applications, although there was only license revocation in that earlier round. The continuing crackdown on abnormal applications as well as the crackdown on firms that file abnormal applications may have been the cause of the 21.7% drop in utility model patent grants in Q1 2023 year-on-year.
On March 12, 2021, the CNIPA released the “Measures Regarding the Regulation of Patent Applications” (关于规范申请专利行为的办法), which defined irregular patent application behavior as follows:
(1) Simultaneously or successively submitting multiple patent applications that are obviously the same in invention-creation content, or are essentially formed by simple combinations of different invention-creation features or elements;
(2) The submitted patent application contains fabricated, forged or altered inventions and creations, experimental data or technical effects, or plagiarism, simple replacement, patchwork of existing technology or existing designs, etc.;
(3) The invention-creation of the submitted patent application is obviously inconsistent with the actual research and development capabilities and resource conditions of the applicant and inventor;
(4) The invention-creation content of multiple patent applications submitted is mainly generated randomly by computer programs or other technologies;
(5) The invention-creation of the submitted patent application is an invention deliberately formed for the purpose of circumventing patentability examination, which is obviously inconsistent with technical improvement or design common sense, or has no actual protection value, is inferior, piles up, or unnecessarily limits the scope of protection Creation, or content without any search and review significance;
(6) In order to evade the supervision measures against irregular patent applications, multiple patent applications that are substantially related to a specific entity, individual or address are scattered, submitted sequentially or in different places;
(7) Not buying or reselling patent application rights or patent rights for the implementation of patented technologies, designs or other legitimate purposes, or falsely altering inventors or designers;
(8) Patent agencies, patent agents, or other institutions or individuals, acting as agents, inducing, instigating, helping others, or conspiring with them to implement various types of irregular patent applications;
(9) Other irregular patent applications and related behaviors that violate the principle of good faith and disrupt the normal order of patent work.
The firms with revoked licenses in this batch include:
- 深圳市创富知识产权代理有限公司 (CreateFortune)
- 6,875 abnormal Applications including the repeated submission of 68 identical abnormal patent applications.
- 北京盛凡佳华专利代理事务所（普通合伙）(Beijing Shengfanjiahua Patent Agency (General Partnership))
- 9,648 abnormal patent applications including the repeated submission of 21 identical applications.
- the per capita number of utility model patents represented was 972.9, which is more than 18 times the national average.
- 北京化育知识产权代理有限公司 (Beijing Huayu Intellectual Property Agency Co., Ltd.)
- 4,632 abnormal patent applications including the repeated submission of 12 identical applications
- 深圳紫晴专利代理事务所（普通合伙）(Shenzhen Ziqing Patent Agency (General Partnership))
- 3,309 abnormal patent applications including the repeated submission of 24 identical applications
- 深圳至诚化育知识产权代理事务所（普通合伙）(Shenzhen Zhicheng Huayu Intellectual Property Agency (General Partnership))
- 6,316 abnormal patent applications including the repeated submission of 11 identical applications
The original notices from CNIPA are available here, here, here, here and here (Chinese only).