1. The Madrid System witnesses a historic leap in China - the online application system for the Madrid International Trademark Registration is launched

2. Announcement of the Shanghai Higher People's Court on Adjusting the Centralized Jurisdiction of Primary-level courts on Intellectual Property Cases, Administrative Cases and Juvenile Criminal Cases (excerpted from the Part concerning IPR cases), enforced from July 1st. 

3. Announcement of the State Intellectual Property Office on the suspension and adjustment of some patent fees will be enforced from August 1st.

4. Significant achievements in market supervision in the first half of 2018

The Madrid System witnesses a historic leap in China - the online application system for the Madrid International Trademark Registration is launched

On June 21st, the online application system for Madrid International Trademark Registration was officially released to public. Complying with the relevant provisions of China's current trademark law and implementation regulations, the system successfully electronized the entire process of international registration application. Its full-range of operations covers online filing, e-delivery of relevant documents, online submission of corrections, online payment and e-communication with SIPO. 

Developed by CTO, the on-line system not only facilitates applicants in handling international registration application, but also lessens financial burden for companies, all contributing to the improvement of efficiency for China’s “go global strategy” for company TMs.

In the past two years, to meet the demands in TM overseas planning for domestic companies aiming to “go global”, CTO targeted their work on Madrid International Registration, so as to improve brand awareness of China’s companies. In 2017, the number of applications for Madrid Trademark International Registration filed by Chinese applicants reached 4,810, marking a year-on-year increase of 59.6%. With the number of filing ranking third in the Madrid Union, China has become the fastest growing and most promising country in the Madrid system.

Announcement of the Shanghai Higher People's Court on Adjusting the Centralized Jurisdiction of Primary-level courts on Intellectual Property Cases, Administrative Cases and Juvenile Criminal Cases (excerpted from the Part concerning IPR cases)

On June 29, the Shanghai Higher People's Court issued an announcement on the adjustment of the centralized jurisdiction of intellectual property, administrative and juvenile criminal cases. The reform mainly reduced the jurisdiction of intellectual property cases in the two primary-level courts, the Huangpu District Court and the Minhang District Court.

Intellectual property case

(1) The intellectual property cases in Shanghai courts are subject to a “three-in-one” trial mechanism including civil, administrative and criminal cases.

Among them, intellectual property civil cases include IP civil disputes concerning copyrights, trademark rights, patent rights, technology contracts, trade secrets, new plant varieties and layout designs of integrated circuits, as well as civil disputes involving unfair competition, monopoly, and franchise contracts;

IP administrative cases include administrative disputes brought by parties concerned against administrative agencies involving IPRs such as copyrights, trademark rights and patent rights, unfair competition, and the production and marketing of counterfeit goods;

IP criminal cases include the criminal offences provided in section 1 (Crimes of Producing and Marketing Fake or Substandard Commodities) and section 7 (Crimes of Infringing on Intellectual Property Rights) of Chapter 3 (Crimes of Disrupting the Order of the Socialist Market Economy) of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.

(2) The IPR cases accepted by the primary-level courts are subject to centralized jurisdiction and are handled by the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court, Xuhui District People’s Court, Yangpu District People’s Court, and Putuo District People’s Court.

The Pudong New Area People's Court has jurisdiction over the first-instance IPR cases in the Pudong New Area.  The Xuhui District People's Court has jurisdiction over the first-instance IPR cases in Xuhui District, Changning District, Minhang District, Fengxian District, Songjiang District and Jinshan District;

The Yangpu District People's Court has jurisdiction over the first-instance IPR cases in Yangpu District, Huangpu District, Hongkou District, Baoshan District and Chongming District;

The Putuo District People's Court has jurisdiction over the first-instance IPR cases in Putuo District, Jing'an District, Jiading District and Qingpu District.

(3) The jurisdiction scope and level of the IPR civil cases in Shanghai courts shall be implemented in accordance with Hu Gao Fa [2016] No.35 Provisions of the Shanghai High People's Court on Adjusting the Jurisdiction of Courts in Shanghai Municipality over Civil Intellectual Property Right Cases.

(4) Primary-level people's courts shall exercise jurisdiction over first-instance civil IPR cases, brought by involving parties against administrative organs, concerning IPR, unfair competition, production and marketing fake or substandard commodities, etc., excluding those fall under the jurisdiction of intellectual property court.

The Shanghai Intellectual Property Court exercises jurisdiction over the following IPR administrative cases: 1. first-instance administrative cases concerning patents, new plant varieties, integrated circuit layout design, technical secrets, computer software, monopoly, etc. 2. administrative cases of first-instance against administrative misconducts of People’s governments above district level concerning IPR and unfair competition; and 3. cases of appeals against the first-instance civil IPR judgments or rulings rendered by primary-level people's courts.

The Shanghai High People's Court shall exercise jurisdiction over cases of appeals against the first-instance civil judgments or rulings rendered by the intellectual property court.

The jurisdiction over retrial cases of IPR administrative applications shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Administrative Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China. 

(5) Where Primary-level People's Procuratorate files a public prosecution against an IPR criminal case that falls within Para. 1, Article 1 of this Announcement in its jurisdiction area, primary-level court that does not have jurisdiction over such case shall transfer the case to competent court that has said jurisdiction in accordance with Para. 2, Article 1 of this Announcement.

The Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People's Court has jurisdiction over the criminal cases of producing and marketing fake or substandard commodities that could be sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty as provided in the Section 1, Chapter III of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China.

The Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People's Court has jurisdiction over the following IPR criminal cases as stipulated in Section 7, Chapter III of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China: 1. criminal cases of first instance involving IPR infringements that have significant impact in this city; 2. criminal cases of first instance involving IPR infringement investigated or handled by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau filed a case for investigation or investigation of; and 3. criminal cases of first instance involving IPR infringements that have significant impact in this city and are investigated by Shanghai Water Public Security Bureau, Shanghai Port Public Security Bureau, Shanghai Maritime Public Security Bureau, Yangtze River Shipping Public Security Bureau Shanghai Branch, the International Airport Branch of Shanghai Public Security Bureau, and the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau Urban Rail and the Public Transportation Department; and criminal cases of first instance involving IPR infringements investigated by the public security organs under Shanghai Customs.

The Third Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai Municipality shall handle IPR criminal cases of appeals concluded by primary-level courts and IPR criminal cases whose court judgments are protested by the third branch of the Shanghai People's Procuratorate.

The Shanghai Higher People's Court shall hear IPR criminal appeal cases concluded by the Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People's Court in its jurisdiction and the IPR criminal cases whose court judgements are protested by the Shanghai People's Procuratorate.

Jurisdiction of IPR criminal cases are determined in accordance with Interpretations of the Supreme People's Court on the Application of the "Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China".

This announcement has been implemented since July 1, 2018. IPR cases, administrative cases, and criminal cases involving minors that have been accepted by courts before this date shall remain be handled by the accepting courts.

Announcement of the State Intellectual Property Office on the suspension and adjustment of some patent fees

The State Intellectual Property Office will suspend and adjust some patent fees from August 1, 2018, with the details as follows.

1. Suspend patent fees (domestic section) including patent registration fee, announcement printing fee, fee for change of record items (change of patent agency and agent entrustment relationship), and PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent application fee. The above fees with the expiration date on or before July 31, 2018 shall be charged in accordance with the current rules.

2. For patent applicants or patentees who meet the requirements of the “Measures for the Reduction of Patent Fees” (Cai Shui [2016] No. 78), the period for the reduction of patent annuities shall be prolonged to 10 years within the date of grant, instead of 6 years as of that date. For patents that have been allowed for annuity reduction on or before July 31, 2018, the following measures shall apply: for patents within 6 years from the date of grant, the annuity reduction period shall be extended to the 10th year; for patents that are in 7-9 years from the date of grant, annuity reduction will be continued to the 10th year; patents that are in 10 years or more from the date of grant, annuity reduction does not apply any more.

3. For invention patent applications entering the substantive examination stage, if the application for withdrawal is made before the deadline for responding to the first OA, applicants may apply for refunding 50% of the substantive examination fee. The new Official Fee Sheet will be officially launched on August 1, 2018, with the original version deactivated at the same time.

Significant achievements in market supervision in the first half of 2018

The first working conference since the establishment of the State Administration of Markets and Regulations - the National Market Supervision Work Symposium was held in Beijing on July 5. Mao Zhang, director of the General Administration of Market Supervision, pointed out at the meeting that the level of intellectual property registration facilitation has been continuously improved. Six trademark review and collaboration centers and 123 trademark service windows were set up nationwide, and the trademark registration review period was shortened to about 7 months.

In the first half of the year, the number of trademark registration applications stood at 3.586 million, marking a year-on-year increase of 57.5%. The effective registered trademarks totaled 16.807 million. The patent granting period was steadied at around 22 months, and the number of invention patents, utility models and designs reached 751,000, 1.029 million and 324,000, respectively; the number of PCT international patent applications was 23,000, marking a year-on-year increase of 6.3%. By the end of June, the number of domestic invention patents was 1.475 million. The identification and protection of well-known trademarks were standardized, and the abolition of local rules on well-known trademark is completed on the whole.

To contain the bad-faith trademark squatting, a special campaign against trademark infringement was launched. By the end of this May, 9,329 cases of trademark infringement were investigated, marking an increase of 13% year-on-year. We launched a special action on IPR enforcement and rights enforcement, and investigated and handled 11,900 patent infringement cases, marking a year-on-year increase of 20.5%.

For intellectual property registration facilitation and intellectual property protection work in the second half of 2018, he pointed out that it is necessary to propel the reform of intellectual property registration facilitation, to increase the application of modern information technology in the examination process, to accelerate the development and improvement of the intelligent examination system, and to improve the quality and efficiency of examination. By the end of the year, the trademark database will be assessable to public, and the trademark registration examination period will be shortened to six months.