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CHINA


HIGHER AND HIGHER: THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN


Jiancheng Jiang Peksung Intellectual Property Ltd China’s patent applications soaring


The latest patent application statistics from China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) reveal that the number of patent applications that were filed in the first 10 months of 2011 surpassed those of the whole of 2010. Up to the end of October 2011, the office had received 1,238,588 patent applications in comparison with 2010’s total of 1,222,286. As for invention patent (regular patent) applications, in the first 10 months of 2011 SIPO received 394,740 applications in comparison with 2010’s total of 391,177.


A report released by T omson Reuters predicts that China will overtake the US and Japan to become the world’s largest fi ler of patents in 2011. However, it also notes that Chinese applicants are not as active when fi ling patent applications overseas. Only 5.6 percent of Chinese patent applications are fi led overseas, whereas 48.8 percent of US applications and 38.7 percent of Japanese applications are fi led overseas.


The fi ve-year countdown


An assembly of the country’s National People’s Congress held in March 2011 approved an outline of the Twelfth Five-Year (2011-2015) Plan for National Economic and Social Development, which is China’s top development plan. The plan, for the first time in government papers of this kind, includes an index that requires 3.3 invention patents to be owned by Chinese nationals per 10,000 people. This is a part of the country’s efforts to implement the national intellectual property rights (IPR) strategy and build an innovation-oriented country.


In China, there are three types of patents available under the patent law: invention, utility model and design patents. The invention patent is the equivalent of a regular patent available from other countries, such as the utility patent in the US. The plan sets no targets for the other two types of patent as they are not considered to be as important for making the country more innovative.


92 World Intellectual Property Review e-Digest 2012


As of the end of June 2010, the index—the number of invention patents owned per 10,000 people—was 2.0. T is was a 0.3 increase on the fi gure at the end of 2010 (1.7), according to offi cial SIPO statistics.


As part of measures to fulfil the patent index by 2015, SIPO released its own five-year plan for patent examination (2011-2015). According to the plan, the ultimate goal during this period is to make China’s patent examination system equal to those of the world’s leading IP offices. During the five-year term, China will conclude prosecuting 1.85 million invention patent applications, 3.2 million utility model applications and 3 million design applications. Invention patent application pendency times will be shortened to 22 months, and utility model applications and design applications will be maintained at three months. For patent application re-examinations and patent invalidation actions, pendency times will be reduced to 12 and six months, respectively.


In terms of the number of patent fi lings, the expected annual fi gures for 2015 are 750,000 (invention), 900,000 (utility model) and 850,000 (design). SIPO also expects to receive 50,000 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international applications in 2015. In 2010, the number of Chinese-origin PCT applications was 12,337.


Patent examination moves home (partly)


As China’s capital city and where SIPO is situated, Beijing is the home of Chinese patent examination. However, as examination workloads have increased dramatically, SIPO has looked to expand outside Beijing. On September 22, 2011, a SIPO branch office was unveiled in Guangzhou, the capital city of Southern China’s Guangdong Province. The branch is called Guangdong Patent Examination Cooperation Center and is under SIPO’s jurisdiction. It is expected to become the first institution of its kind for substantive patent examination outside Beijing.


www.worldipreview.com


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