China has announced the merging of Patent and Trademark offices and combining trademark and patent functions which before were performed by a multitude of different authorities. This includes not only patent-related tasks but also trademark registration and management of geographical indications (GI). The ultimate goal is to optimize IP management, strengthen administrative enforcement as well as to improve communication efficiency.
The new office will be supervised by the State Administration of Market Supervision and Management (SAMSM). It will be led by Shen Changyu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), and Liu Junchen, a former SAIC vice minister.
This move by Chinese authorities is reasonable. As patents and trademarks are often closely connected and relate to the same product, administrating both types of intellectual property together is only logical. In the future right owners will not have to struggle between SIPO and Chinese Trademark Office (CTMO) for enforcing their IP rights.
This merger will lower the costs for right holders, shorten enforcement periods and reduce pressure on judicial authorities. If more infringement cases can be solved by the new unified office, the caseload of courts will be relieved. The courts will then have more time for complex cases.