The Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is undertaking a comment period for the current, newly-released revisions to the Chinese Patent Examination Regulations.
Some major proposed changes include the amendment of patentable subject matter rules to specifically allow business methods that include a technical feature, some loosening of the language used to describe the combinations of computer hardware and software that are deemed patentable, and an express allowance of post-filing (supplementary) data when the data is for a technical effect that the person skilled in the art can see in the patent application.
The full text of the proposed changes is available online in Chinese only.
Generally, Foreign and Domestic Applicants should view these proposed changes as positive steps towards enhancing innovation and protecting IP rights in China. While the changes related to business methods and computer software/hardware inventions are clearly intended to help the local hi-tech industry, foreign applicants should also take advantage of these changes once they become effective. In fact, it may soon be the case that computer-related inventions and business methods may be more easily granted in China than in either the USA or Europe.
The amendment to the post-filing data rules will also be welcomed by foreign applicants, as it foreshadows a more lenient standard than that currently existing in the Chinese practice. This should be a boon for foreign applicants, especially those in the chemical and life science fields. Accordingly, we hope that applicants that have not been able to put supplemental data in front of the SIPO Examiners before will likely find it a little less frustrating in the future.