Patent examination period further shrunk to 16.5 months: CNIPA 2022 IP high-quality development guidelines

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) on March 21 released the Annual Guidelines for Facilitating High-Quality Development of Intellectual Property 2022 (《推动知识产权高质量发展年度工作指引(2022)》). The CNIPA has published four editions of annual guidelines of its kind since 2019. The first edition of the guidelines has been hailed as a harbinger of a national drive to prioritize quality over quantity in terms of IP development.


Some targets indicative of the quality of the services to be provided by the CNIPA in 2022 have been announced. The target value set for the examination period of an invention patent application is 16.5 months, two months less than that for 2021. The target value set for a high-quality invention patent application is 13.8 months, 0.2 months less than that for 2021. The target value for the average examination period of a trademark application remains stable at 4 months. A 10% increase in the quantity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from IP financing schemes is set as the target. The contribution of patent-intensive industries to China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to go further up.


A more user-friendly IP public service system is expected to be established with more services to be developed and featured at the Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) and the National Intellectual Property Centers of Institutes of Higher Learning. In April 2009, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was mandated by its member states to carry out a pilot project to establish TISCs within the framework of its Development Agenda. In particular, the project aims to address Recommendation 8 of the Development Agenda, which calls on WIPO to “[facilitate] the national offices of developing countries, especially LDCs, as well as their regional and subregional intellectual property organizations to access specialized databases.”


Some pieces of IP legislation will be amended or crafted. The amendments to the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law (《专利法实施细则》) and the Patent Examination Guidelines (《专利审查指南》) and the amendments to the Patent Law will be made. The assessment of the amendments to the Trademark Law and the Implementing Regulations the Trademark Law will be conducted. The framework and bulk of a uniform piece of legislation on the enforcement and protection of geographical indications will be proposed and drafted. The Administrative Measures for Trademark Agencies (《商标代理管理办法》) and the Administrative Measures for Foreign Patent Agencies’ Chinese Representative Offices (《外国专利代理机构常驻代表机构管理办法》) will be promulgated. The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) will be further researched. This agreement represents a new type of trade agreement to facilitate digital trade and create a framework for the digital economy, born out of the common interest of Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The agreement was virtually signed on June 12, 2020. South Korea and China requested to participate on September 13 and October 31 of 2021 respectively.


The enforcement of international treaties and agreements in China shall be ensured. The promotion and education about the Hague Agreement, which will come into force in China on May 5, shall be conducted. The IP-related provisions of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which became effective in China and other member states on January 1, shall be enforced. More research work on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) shall be conducted.


The full text is available here.