After submission of the request for substantive examination to the CNIPA, an applicant will mostly be concerned about whether an office action has been issued and at which stage the patent application is. Usually, the entrusted agency periodically feeds the progress of the case back to the applicant. However, the applicant often feels that the feedbacks are not adequate. This is mainly because the agency itself has corresponding internal processing flows, which may cause a delay. So, what can the applicant do if they want to know in real time about the progress of their application and about whether an office action has been issued?
The answer is: the applicant may check the progress of the application by themselves on the CNIPA’s official website, specifically in the following steps:
Step 1: go to the “China and Global Patent Examination Information Inquiry” page at the following address: http://cpquery.cnipa.gov.cn/ (the website is available in Chinese, English, German, Spanish, French and Russian);
Step 2: click “Public inquiry” to enter the account register page and register with a mobile phone number (a mobile phone number outside China also works) or an e-mail;
Step 3: after logging in, enter your application number in the “Application number” field (note: “.” within the application number shall be omitted here), fill the “Verification Code” field with the correct answer, and click “Search”;
Step 4: after the application is found, click “about examination” and then “office action” to check whether an office action has been issued, and if so, when;
Step 5: to download the office action, select the page you want to download, right-click on this page, and select “Save picture as”.
Through the steps above, the applicant is able to obtain an office action in real time.
However, for a foreign applicant, even if the office action is obtained, it would still be difficult to understand the examiner’s opinion.
Fortunately, Global Dossier provides an English translation in JPG format after an office action is issued. However, it should be noted that from our experience, we found that the translation provided by Global dossier is not always published in real time: the translation of the office action is usually provided at a later date after it is issued, in some cases two or three months after, so it is not recommended for instant use. In addition to Global dossier, nowadays many translation platforms also support translation of office actions, some are free, and some are paid. We have translated some sentences randomly selected from an office action using Google Translate, WIPO Translate, and PremiWord Machine Translation, and obtained the following comparison results:
Source text: 1、权利要求1请求保护一种水池过滤器。
Human translation: 1. Claim 1 sets forth a pond filter.
Source text: 对比文件1(DE1234567A)公开了一种具有防水密封装置的水紫外消毒器，具体公开了如下技术特征（参见说明书第1页第26行-第2页第34行，附图1-2):
Human translation: D1 (DE 2879589 A) discloses a water ultraviolet sterilizer with a water-proof sealing device, and specifically discloses the following technical features (see description, page 1, line 26 to page 2, line 34, and figures 1 and 2):
Source text: 因此该权利要求所要求保护的技术方案不具备突出的实质性特点和显著的进步；因而不具备专利法第22条第3款规定的创造性。
Human translation: Therefore, the claimed technical solution of this claim neither has any prominent substantive features nor represents any notable progress. Accordingly, this claim does not involve an inventive step in the sense of Article 22.3 of the Patent Law.
(The office action downloaded from “China and Global Patent Examination Information Inquiry” is in JPG format, and the text therein cannot be copied directly. If the applicant wants to translate the text of the office action on a machine translation platform, an OCR tool may be necessary for obtaining an editable text.)
The comparison above shows that many translation platforms that are free of charge like Google Translate and WIPO Translate may provide an incorrect translation or use non-patent terminology. In this regard, PremiWord Machine Translation, although a paid service, provides machine translation closer to human translation in terms of sentence structure and patent terminology, thus better assisting the applicant in understanding an office action more accurately.
In addition, if a Chinese applicant applies for a patent in a foreign country, e.g. in the United States, based on its Chinese application, office actions issued from the CNIPA may need to be submitted as IDS (Information Disclosure Statement) materials to the USPTO. In this case, PremiWord Machine Translation may also provide economical, efficient and high-quality machine translation.