On January 27, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued a notice titled “Blue Sky”, the special IP agency industry rectification campaign achieved positive results in 2021 ( 2021年知识产权代理行业“蓝天”专项整治行动取得积极成效). The Blue Sky campaign aims to crack down on illegal behavior by IP agencies in China, such as abnormal (irregular) patent applications and malicious trademark applications.
According to the notice, in 2021, the CNIPA questioned 2,350 agencies, ordered 2,105 agencies to make rectifications, issued 220 fines and warnings, and closed 12 agencies. CNIPA further severely punished the unqualified behavior of patent agencies (unauthorized practice of patent law), with fines totaling more than 12 million RMB (~US$1.9 million), the highest of which was 1.04 million RMB. On the trademark side, CNIPA “severely cracked down” on malicious acts by trademark filing agencies, such as squatting on popular terms about the Olympics, interviewed 6 agencies, filed 24 investigation files and punished the agencies in 13 cases.
CNIPA actively monitored “relevant data in key links such as patent review, trademark review and social security information, [to] timely discover clues of abnormal patent applications, malicious trademark applications and abnormal agency volume per capita.
CNIPA has increased its focus on illegal acts such as acting as an agency for abnormal patent applications, filing patent applications without a license, agencies filing malicious trademark applications, forgery and tampering with official documents, and defrauding patent applicants of relevant fees, etc.
The CNIPA has also begun to include serious illegal behavior by agencies in the list of serious and untrustworthy illegal acts published by the State Administration for Market Regulation. CNIPA also drafted and formulated the “Administrative Measures for the Credit Assessment of Patent Agents (Trial)”, and selected the relevant provinces for the trial. In accordance with the law, 48 patent offices have been included in the list of abnormal business operations.
The full text of the notice is available here (in Chinese only).
© 2022 Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, PA All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 33