On the 17 March 2018, the 13th National People’s Congress (“NPC”) of the People’s Republic of China ("PRC") passed the Programme of Reforming the Institutions of the State Council (“Programme”). According to the Programme, China is going to reorganise many administrative authorities, including the State Intellectual Property Office of the PRC (“SIPO”). The aim of the re-organisation is to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and to build a more efficient regulatory regime.

According to the Programme, in addition to the SIPO’s current functions, it will absorb the functions of administering trade marks from the State Administration for Industry & Commerce, and administrating Geographical Indications (“GI”)  from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. After the reorganisation, SIPO will be administered by the State Administration for Market Supervision (“SAMS”), which is also to be built up by the merger of several other authorities. SAMS will be in charge of the enforcement of patent and trade mark laws and regulations. SIPO will be in charge of the registration and administrative rulings of trade marks, patents and GI.

Details of such reorganisation have not been issued. However, it is expected that the new SIPO, with a broader administrative scope, will provide stronger and wider protection for patents, trade marks and GIs.