Deep & Far Newsletter 2023 ©
Nov (2)

The Greater China IP Updates V November 2023

By Lyndon 


China Increases Low-Carbon Technology Innovation

Between 2016 and 2022, Invention patents of green and low-carbon technology granted in China accounted for 36.8% of the world’s total, and a total of 13 enterprises or institutions in China were ranked among the world’s top 50 in terms of the number of invention patents using green and low-carbon technology inventions granted, which was second only to Japan’s 15.  The Statistical Analysis Report on Global Green and Low Carbon Technology Patents (2023) was recently published by the Strategic Planning Department of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and contains a plethora of data to back up their view that China is a key force in global green and low-carbon technology innovation.  Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), a Chinese battery manufacturer and technology company was cited in the report for its safety short circuit device invention which won an award in the Non-EPO countries category of the European Inventor Award 2023 held by the European Patent Office.  Inventor Wu Kai and his team from CATL received his award for his contribution to reducing the risk of battery explosions and fires in electric vehicles, and he was the first Chinese inventor to receive the award since 2010.  Although with various categories under its umbrella of the European inventor Award, it is one of the most valuable of its kind, and as such is an indicator of China’s increased prominence in the field of Intellectual Property.  CATL is currently in possession of more than 16,000 domestic and foreign pending or granted patents, and has led or participated in the formulation and revision of more than 80 domestic and foreign standards.


China Warns About Irregular Patent Applications

China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released a summary of typical cases of abnormal patent applications on September 4, 2023.  Almost 1 million patent applications were rejected by CNIPA in 2022 due to irregularities of one kind or another.  To help inform applicants about the various pitfalls from dubious applications, it is hoped that the quality of patent applications can be improved.  Following is a list of various kinds of typical cases mentioned in the report:

  1. Intellectual property agencies submit plagiarized or fabricated patent applications.  Applications using existing technology or the same content as previous patents is commonly seen at CNIPA.  The agencies have also been negligent by resubmitting the same patent applications after a length of time, wasting the departments’ time and resources.  Stricter penalties and fines are being levied for such behavior.
  2. Agencies abuse their responsibilities by using a false address and contact information on their patent application.  Whatever the reasons are for doing such a thing, from CNIPA’s point of view it is considered a serious breach of ethics on the part of the agency and the administrative penalty has been increased to include stopping accepting new business from the guilty agency for 6 months or more.

Because the government had a program of financially subsidizing enterprises to increase their IP, various unscrupulous individuals working for firms decided to fabricate patent applications using various methods including shell companies to hide the fraud.  Such cases are complex to investigate, so the punishments have become more severe.


China Speeds Up Trademark Appraisal Rate

In 2022, China processed 420,000 trademark applications, most of which were finalized within 9 to 12 months.  To increase the efficiency rate, some new guidelines have been introduced to clarify when cases can be suspended so as to prevent unnecessary use of time and resources on problematic cases.  Following are some reasons for suspension of appraisal cases:

  1. When an applied-for mark or the cited mark undergoes a change of name or transfer, and after finalization the change of name or transfer recordal, the conflict between the two marks no longer exists.
  2. When an application for renewal of a cited mark has been filed and is pending or the cited mark is within the 6-month grace period of renewal.
  3. When a cited mark is undergoing withdrawal or removal proceedings.
  4. When an appeal has been filed against rejection of a trademark application and is waiting for one year from the time when the cited mark is revoked, invalidated or not renewed.
  5. When a case involving a cited mark has been rendered a decision and is awaiting the decision to take effect, or is waiting for the decision to be issued.
  6. The involved prior right or the exclusive right to the cited mark can be addressed only based upon the outcome of another case under trial by the court or examination by an administrative agency.