China and EU: First Steps in Harmonization of IP Protection

The new China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) set plans for their future cooperation in Munich on September 21, 2018. It was the first meeting of CNIPA and EPO since the Chinese trademark and patent administration merged into a single administration in August (link to the article).

CNIPA is, unlike the old Patent Office SIPO, not a subordinate under the State Council, but is working under the new State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration. It will handle patents, utility models and designs, trademarks (formerly administered by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, SAIC) as well as geographical indications (formerly handled by the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, AQSIQ). The consolidation is not completed yet, but can definitely be expected in the near future.

The joint work plan signed by EPO and CNIPA contains their aims for 2019. These include but are not limited to unified patent classification, improved data exchange as well as machine translation. Furthermore, a joint study on computer-implemented inventions is planned. The EPO’s patent registrations in this field, especially those filed by Chinese patentees, rose significantly in the last couple of years (link to the article).

It is expected, that a closer cooperation between CNIPA and EPO will lead to even more Chinese patent applications in Europe, but also to better protection of Intellectual Property and enforcement of rights in China.

Picture: EPO

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