Thursday, December 17, 2009

FICPI Shenzhen Symposium: Made by China

China aims to shift from producing 'Made in China' products to 'Made by China' products. It is indisputable that China is the worlds factory; many goods are produced in China. China produces 80% of worlds clocks and watches. However, China only enjoys 10% of the gross revenue of world clocks and watches. Hence, China is recognizing the importance of patent and intellectual property protection to increase the value of goods produced.

The symposium was held to update patent practitioners around the world on the recent 3rd amendment China's Patent Law. There are more than 240 delegates at the symposium, China itself having 130 delegates. Delegates from Taiwan and Hong Kong is classified in the attendees list along as participants from China. As expected, most of the Chinese delegates come from Beijing.

Patent provides protection for invention or design according to Chinese laws, similar as US laws. A typical patent is identified as 'Invention Patent' to distinguish it from 'Design Patent'.

Some of the amendments introduced:
- definition of prior art to include any technology that has been known to the public in the country or abroad before the filling date.
- definition of novelty means that the invention or utility model does not belong to prior art and before the date of filling, no one has filed with SIPO. There is no grace period, hence, absolute novelty policy.
- direct source and primary source of genetic resource need to be declared in patent applications.
- patent for design requires explanation of the product design.

A major concern of foreign delegates is the effectiveness of Chinese patent laws. How enforcement and courts prosecute patent infringement is also discussed. Enforcement and courts are active in major cities. Case can be viewed online in Chinese.

Monday, December 7, 2009

China Subsidizes Patent Applications

China provides subsidy at central government level and local government level for patent applications.

Beijing provides a sum of one million yuan in support of the patent applications in the city. It will solely be distributed by Beijing Intellectual Property Rights Bureau. All Beijing enterprises, units and institutions under the central government (including army units) in Beijing and residents who apply for patent rights are qualified to apply to Beijing Intellectual Property Rights Bureau for patent application funds. Patent funds are available for the application fees of invention, products of new type or design, as well as fees for invention examination and maintenance.

A special fund will focus on subsidizing foreign patent applications, the type of patent protection of which is the same as that of Chinese invention patents. Each patent application subsidy project will support applications in not more than five countries or regions with up to 100,000 yuan, except for major innovation projects.

Shanghai has put forward a regional intellectual property rights strategy, Shanghai Municipal Intellectual Property Rights Outline 2004-2010. It aims at making Shanghai an energetic center for innovation, patent transforming, and a metropolis of powerful and sound intellectual property rights protection. By 2010, Shanghai is expected to have a synchronous growth in patent application, with 150 invention patents for every one million people on average. All companies located in Shanghai, without exception, may apply for the patent subsidy under the following conditions:

- Their products have wholly-owned intellectual property rights and are in accordance with the state and the local industrial trend.

- The new technique takes a leading position internationally and can pass the new product appraisal within three years.

- The new product can bring in better economic and social results.

Chen Zhixing, head of the Shanghai Bureau of Intellectual Property Rights, said the new measures for patent subsidy were seasoned with the fierce competition in international intellectual property rights. The outline is crucial for Shanghai to upgrade its competitive ability. It is of great significance for the metropolis to seek quicker development in intellectual property rights.

Managing Patent Costs

Guriqbal Singh Jaiya and Christopher Kalanje of WIPO authored an informative article on patent costs. The article is published in the SME division of WIPO.

The following topics were discussed:

1) Information Search. It is prudent to perform some information search prior to contacting a patent professional.
2) Patent versus Trade secret versus Defensive Publication
3) Cost of drafting a patent application. The choice of professionals to work with are discussed as well.
4) Subsidies or grants
5) Patent office fees
6) Role of IP audit
7) International patenting costs
8) Translation costs
9) Managing patent portfolio
10) Partners to share cost, risks and profits