27th January 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the “Circular on Further Strictly Regulating Patent Applications” (关于进一步严格规范专利申请行为的通知, 国知发保字1号), which entered into force on the same day (“The Circular”). The Circular is the updated version of “Several Provisions of the State Intellectual Property Office on the Standardization of Patent Application Activities” (关于规范专利申请行为的若干规定), originally adopted in 2007 and revised in 2017 (“2017 Provisions”).
China Intellectual Property Office has taken the initiative and closer measure to curb low-quality patent filings or junk patents by Chinese firms by introducing The Circular and directly changing the scope of the statutory rules on the examination of utility models and patents. The objective of The Circular is to transform or reduce or eliminate fraudulent and low-quality patent applications and at the same time to upgrade the quality of the patent filings. It aims at moving China from a country that depends on patents filed by foreign entities to a country with great autochthone creativity.
In addition to that, The Circular adds six new types of irregular patent applications that can be seen in the table below.
In conclusion, the Circular is set to require the central and local government of China to fully eliminate junk patents and to enhance and strengthen the monitoring and administration of the patent applications. This indirectly will benefit the foreign right holders who will save their time and costs to first remove any junk patents through previous processes i.e invalidations and blackmailing actions by patent thieves.