What does the recently released CNIPA document listing “100 Projects in 2020 to Deeply implement the National Intellectual Property Strategy to Accelerate the Construction of the Intellectual Property Powerful Country Promotion Plan” (2020年加快建设知识产权强国推进计划提出 100项具体措施) (the “100 Project List”) (May 28, 2020) add to the discussion around where China is headed on IP?
The projects reveal much more than its lengthy, bureaucratic-sounding title might indicate. There are several themes worth noting:
- It is ambitious. It includes doing many things over a short period of time, including reducing patent examination time for “high value” patents to 16 months and trademark examinations to 4 months (Projects 55-56).
- China is paying attention to its IP quality vs quantity dilemma. This document calls for ending local subsidies for utility model and design patents, as well as trademark (task 59). It also discusses problems with incentives that are intended to encourage high quality patenting in universities and research institutions, SOE’s, and major government projects (Projects 3, 4, 5, 12, 55, 60 -61, 66, 77-79, 93, 96-97).
- There is increased attention to defense patenting. The word “defense” appears 17 times. Defense patenting also occupies a greater role than in prior plans of type (Projects 6-10, 25, 80).
- Trade secrets as well as improving the criminal IP process play important roles (Projects 24, 44, 49, 51-54).
- We can expect some important developments in plant variety protection (Projects 26, 47, 57, 92).
- There is no attention to innovative pharma IP challenges. There are tasks related to generic medicines and traditional Chinese medicine (Projects 38, 73). Patent linkage does not appear in this list of tasks. These omissions could suggest a lack of CNIPA commitment to Phase 1 pharmaceutical IP reforms.
- There is a big focus on improving IP-related services (Projects 1, 2, 62, 72, 74, 77, 86).
- China reiterates its commitment to plurilateral IP policy (Projects 82, 87).
- The drafters are committed to the Phase 1 Agreement. China is also doing a lot more on IP than what the Phase 1 Agreement requires (Projects 24, 49, 51, 83, 87, and others).
Further background: I have been blogging about China’s national IP plans for years now, including in 2014, 2015 , 2016 as well as in my discussions on the National IP Strategy. Readers may wish to compare this document with some of the prior strategy documents.