Abnormal patents in china
The Chinese government is stepping up efforts to promote intellectual property quality. According to Founders Legal retained foreign counsel, Foundin IP, China has continued its crack-down on abnormal patent filings with an aim “to ensure the realization of the legislative purpose of the Patent Law of encouraging genuine innovation activities, abiding by the principle of good faith, and comprehensively improving the quality of patents.”
The crackdown follows years of criticism that the Chinese patent system was being abused by “patent trolls” who filed frivolous lawsuits or submitted low-quality applications in order to extort money from companies.
The Chinese government has made it a priority to improve the quality of patents in recent years, and has taken a number of steps to achieve this goal. In 2021, China abolished patent subsidies, introduced strict new requirements and punitive measures to regulate abnormal patents, and released the “Draft Amendments to Several Provisions Regarding the Regulation of Patent Applications (Draft for Solicitation of Comments),” which defined nine types of abnormal patent behavior that would initiate a grounds for patent application rejection.
These efforts have begun to bear fruit, with the number of invalidated patents rising sharply in recent years.
Recent efforts come announced from Guangzhou, which is known to be the region with the most patent applications in China. The Guangzhou Municipal Administration for Market Regulation released a notice stating that it has identified 5,029 abnormal patent applications from applicants in Guangzhou and 3,363 abnormal patent applications from the agencies in Guangzhou.
The notice also describes the administration’s plan to rectify the abnormal patent applications by instructing the identified applicants and agencies to withdraw their abnormal applications and submit an appeal.
In addition, the administration has resolved to investigate unusual patent applications submitted repeatedly after voluntary withdrawal in 2022, stating its intention to conduct investigations in strict accordance with laws and regulations.
In December of 2021, The Chinese Patent Office stated that there were 815,000 abnormal patent applications out of a total of 5.2 million filings, or roughly 15% of submissions that year. The China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA“) responded by levying severe sanctions against a number of identified patent firms and conducted investigations into over 80 firms with comparably high industry caseloads.