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29 June 2015
On December 10 2014 the State Council launched the Action Plan for the Further Implementation of the National Intellectual Property Strategy for the period from 2014 to 2020. The action plan was drafted jointly by no fewer than 26 ministries, commissions and administrations. It follows the National Strategy for the Intellectual Property of China, which was launched on June 5 2008.
In the national strategy, two important dates were set – 2013 and 2020. By 2013 the government was meant to have:
By 2020 the government intends to reach a "relative high standard for innovation, utilisation, protection and management of intellectual property rights".
Six years later, the action plan enumerates the achievements made during the first six-year period following the launch of the national strategy and defines what needs to be done in the next six years in order to reach the 2020 targets.
The 2020 targets are set in quantitative terms. They include the following patent targets:
The following 2020 targets have also been set:
While all of these quantitative figures are planned to increase, the target examination time for patents and trademarks is set to decrease. In 2013 the average examination time for a patent was 22.3 months, while the 2020 goal is fixed at 20.2 months. For trademarks, the average examination time was 10 months in 2013, but is intended to be reduced to nine months by as early as 2015 (this is specified in the revised trademark law) and to remain at this level through 2020.
In order to achieve these goals, the action plan sets out a list of actions that need to be undertaken in the next six years, including:
Some ideas seem new, such as the intentions to:
The action plan also encourages industry associations to strengthen their self-regulation.
The improved enforcement of IP rights is one of the main objectives contemplated in the action plan. In this respect, the disclosure of information concerning administrative penalty cases "so as to deter the offenders" has been emphasised (the action plan refers to the Opinions of the Leading Group for Tackling Intellectual Property Infringement and Counterfeiting Nationwide on Publishing Information Relating to Administrative Penalty Cases Involving the Production and Sale of Counterfeits and Intellectual Property Infringement Pursuant to the Law (for Trial Implementation) (Guo Fa  6)). The action plan recommends exploring the establishment of credit standards relating to the protection of intellectual property and recording malicious infringements, which should be disclosed to credit reporting agencies.
Concerning administrative enforcement, the action plan focuses on key fields such as special campaigns, large cross-regional cases, large commercial sites and fairs. The action plan expects e-commerce platforms to fulfil their responsibilities and urges postal and courier services companies to improve performance of their mail inspection systems.
The action plan makes special mention of the issue of case transfers between administrative authorities and the criminal enforcement authorities, and the need to "gradually incorporate special campaigns into the track of normalised law enforcement". The action plan also emphasises the role of the IP courts, which need to have adequate human resources.
The action plan also mentions the need to strengthen notarisation with regard to evidence preservation for acts such as prior use and IP-related infringement.
The action plan clearly favours dispute resolution though mediation, calling for the improvement of industry mediation mechanisms, the promotion of community mediation organisations and the training of a group of professional mediators.
Regarding the management of intellectual property, the action plan makes special mention of the need for universities and research institutes to transfer and convert their technical achievements into IP rights.
The action plan addresses various international cooperation platforms for the examination of patents and the cooperation mechanisms used in the enforcement of IP rights through Customs.
The action plan supports global enterprises and encourages companies to file for IP rights protection abroad. It notes that assistance mechanisms for safeguarding intellectual property overseas should be established.
In order to fulfil these actions, specific methods have been envisaged, including:
In order to implement the action plan, a leading role has been assigned to the State Intellectual Property Office.
The action plan is similar to other administrative documents, in which every aspect of the subject is addressed in very general terms; this does not go without a certain amount of redundancy.
That said, "every aspect" is not exactly covered in this case. For example, the issue of trademarks is almost absent from the text. Only one paragraph briefly refers to the review of trademarks and the need to establish a "green channel for trademark review".
For further information on this topic please contact Paul Ranjard at Wan Hui Da Law Firm & Intellectual Property Agency by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000) or email (email@example.com). The Wan Hui Da Law Firm & Intellectual Property Agency website can be accessed at www.wanhuida.com.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
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