Taiwan residents will be allowed to practise as patent agents in the mainland China by this year, as revealed by Mr. Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO), to the Beijing media earlier this month in an interview. 

According to Mr. Tian, qualified Taiwan residents - the first batch of Taiwan candidates have taken the national qualification examination for patent agents in 2011 - will be allowed to practise as patent agents in the mainland, though initially within Fujian, which also housed the sites for the qualification examination, leveraging the province’s geographical proximity and established cultural, economic cooperation with Taiwan.  

Currently, details of the plan, such as client types, service scopes and operation modes for the Taiwan patent agency businesses, are still under deliberation by SIPO along with Fujian Intellectual Property Office.  

While the final shape of the plan has yet to be worked out, it is reasonable to expect that qualified Taiwan patent agents will be welcome to represent Taiwan residents and enterprises in the mainland on matters related to patent filing, prosecution and grant, whereas at this stage patent litigation will be out of their service scope, for the existence of some stipulated eligibility requirement relating to representing clients in court.