On June 19 2012 the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) issued the Administrative Measures for the Priority Examination of Invention Patent Applications, which came into force on August 1 2012. Through these measures, a fast-track system for the examination of patent applications has been formalised and made workable in China.

The administrative measures provide that upon an applicant's request, the SIPO will give priority to the examination of invention patent applications that satisfy certain conditions, in which case the examination will be concluded within one year of approval of the applicant's priority examination request.

These measures do not provide for priority examination to be conducted in accordance with relevant provisions of bilateral or multilateral agreements concluded between the SIPO and patent examination organisations of other jurisdictions.

Invention patent applications that are eligible for priority examination include:

  • applications for important patents involving technologies related to:
    • energy conservation;
    • environmental protection;
    • new generation information technology;
    • biology;
    • high-end equipment manufacturing;
    • new energy;
    • new materials; and
    • new energy vehicles;
  • applications for important patents conducive to environment-friendly development, such as those related to low-carbon technologies and resource conservation;
  • initial applications filed in China related to the above-mentioned fields that have also been filed in other jurisdictions; and
  • other patent applications that are of significant national or public interest, in which case priority examinations are required.

The implementation of the measures not only serves to encourage high and new technology innovation, but also accelerates the transformation and industrialisation of new scientific and technological findings.

For applications that claim priority in other jurisdictions, if the jurisdiction of first filing has an agreement with the SIPO under the pilot Patent Prosecution Highway scheme (eg, Japan, Korea, United States, Germany and Russia), the applicant may request accelerated examination under the agreements.

For further information on this topic please contact Duan Xiaoling or Wang Rui at Wan Hui Da Law Firm & Intellectual Property Agency by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000), fax (+86 10 6894 8030) or email (duan.xiaoling@wanhuida.com or wangrui@wanhuida.com).

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