In September 2019, the "Administrative Measures for Centralized Examination of Patent Applications (Trial)" was formally implemented. The following issues related to centralized examination are collated for reference.

(1) What is "centralized examination"?

Centralized examination refers to the patent examination model of examining the patent application portfolio of the same key technology in a centralized way to strengthen the understanding of the overall technology of the portfolio, improve the effectiveness of the notification of office action and promote the examination quality and efficiency.

The centralized examination shall be initiated upon request by the patent applicant or the provincial intellectual property administration department. When there are multiple applicants, the unanimous consent of all applicants shall be obtained.

(2) What are the conditions for the application of centralized examination?

First, all invention patent applications in the same batch shall have entered the substantive examination stage and the span of the effective dates of the substantive examination shall not exceed one year, wherein invention patent applications that were also filed for utility models on the same day for the same invention will not be included in the scope of centralized examination.

Second, for the consideration of national needs, centralized examination is mainly aimed at applications involving national key and dominant industries or of great significance to national interests and public interests.

Third, the number of applications requesting centralized examination at the same batch shall not be less than 50.

Fourth, in order to avoid repeated allocation of examination resources, applications that have been granted other examination policies such as priority examination will no longer be included in centralized examination.

(3) What materials are required when requesting for centralized examination?

  The applicant for centralized examination is required to submit a Request for Centralized Examination of Patent Applications and a list of patent applications (one in paper and one in electronic) as well as other necessary materials. The Request shall be filled with the applicant, contact person and contact information, technical field, reasons for requesting centralized examination and the signatures or seals of all patent applicants. In particular, the reason for requesting centralized examinations should be specified in the request, and the relationship between each patent application and the claimed "key technology" should be stated in the electronic application list, which will help the National Intellectual Property Administration to determine the necessity and feasibility for centralized examination.

(4) How will the results of the centralized examination request be fed back?

  The results of the centralized examination request will be timely fed back to the contact person through the contact method indicated in the Request. After the examination, applications that are decided not to be granted centralized examination will be examined in accordance with the normal procedures.

(5) How should the applicant cooperate in the centralized examination process?

  In order to improve the quality of the examination, the centralized examination pays more attention to the full communication with the applicant in the examination process. During the implementation of the centralized examination, the applicant shall actively cooperate with the  examination department and provide relevant technical materials, cooperate to carry out technical briefings, conferences, investigations, itinerant examinations, and timely give feedback on the problems, experiences, effects, values, etc. during the implementation of centralized examination.

(6) What are the time limits for case closure and response in centralized examination?

  Different from priority examination, centralized examination involves a large number of applications which vary greatly from each other, therefore, there is no time limit for case closure.

  The time limit for the patent applicant to reply to the notice of office action is the same as that for ordinary applications, and the applicant's reply speed will impact the time of t the next notice of office action.

In addition, the applicant may, on his or her own initiative, request the termination of the centralized examination. Upon receipt of the request, CNIPA will terminate the centralized examination.