New Year, New Guidance Documents: China Improves IP Protection

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released information on the implementation of the Opinions on Strengthening Intellectual Property Protection (关于强化知识产权保护的意见) in late October 2022. They explain how amendments to the 2021 Patent Law will be implemented in practice. In addition, CNIPA aims to complete the revision and concretization of the Patent Law Implementation Rules and Patent Examination Guidelines by the end of 2022. By the end of the year, there could also be more clarity on the patent term extension and adjustment procedure, as well as on the stricter examination of utility models. It was already indicated in the last draft of the patent examination guidelines that utility models will be subject to invention examination in the long term.

Pharmaceutical companies are likely to be pleased with these developments. The new guidelines are expected to explain in detail how patent term extension and adjustment will work in the future. Industry insiders expect China’s new patent licensing system to be fleshed out. The new system calls for a reduction and, in some cases, complete elimination of annuities for open patent licensing.

Other announcements relevant to foreign companies include the Guidelines for IPR Protection in Cross-Border E-commerce, the Guidelines for Examining Evidence in IP Enforcement, and a Manual for Administrative Enforcement of Trademark Rights. In total, CNIPA announced 26 revisions or drafts of IP laws, regulations and guidelines to be completed in the next few years.


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