Over the years, China has become world number one in terms of quantity of patent filings, the number of utility model (UM) in China occupies over 95% of that in the whole world. Naturally China focuses more now on the quality of applications. In the first half of 2019, the number of UM filing was 1.01 million (-1.9%), the number of granted UM patents was 747 thousand (+1.1%); and the grant rate was around 75%. The average grant rate was reduced from 90% in 2016 to 75% in 2019.
Especially, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) began to take measures to tackle abnormal patent application in 2018. Abnormal patent application refers to applications with simple substitution, minor changes or suspicious data, etc. In the first half of 2019, the revised "Regulation on Patent Agency" and "Measures for the Administration of Patent Agency" came into force, and operation "Blue Sky" was launched to strengthen the supervision of patent agencies.
According to the latest news, the examination on UM patent applications became stricter with emphasis on the following:
1. subject matter such as software and materials related application;
2. novelty: more searches are encouraged;
3. insufficient disclosure;
5. double patenting.
Proposed measures that may be taken on UM examination include the followings:
1. Examination on inventive step of UM will be improved.
2. New systems on-line will be developed to screen low quality applications.
3. After a UM patent is granted, the invention patent application on the same day may be substantively examined 4 years later.