VI. Legal Affairs

1. The Revision of the Patent Law

In 1999,the revision of the Patent Law was listed in the 1999 Legislation Program of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council The patent law revision was also put on the Legislation Agenda of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress, approved in December 1998. According to the above schedule, the patent law revision will be finalized within this term of the National People's Congress. Accordingly SIPO worked out the first and second drafts of the revision in January and April 1999 respectively. The drafts were reviewed and approved by SIPO in June 1999 and submitted to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for further approval. The purposes of revising the patent law were to help develop the socialist market economy, to fine-tune examination and grant procedures, to intensify the protection of patent rights, and to further harmonize conformity with international treaties acceded to by China.

In preparation for the law revision, SIPO received ninety written responses and organized over 10 workshops. Also contributing to the amendment process, the Education, Science, Culture and Health Committee of the National People's Congress organized a field study team. The team included one of SIPO's Legal Affairs Department heads and traveled to Guangdong and Hunan to inspect law enforcement there.

In November 1999,SIPO Deputy Commissioner Ma Lianyuan joined another study group focusing on the amendment, led by the Deputy Director General of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.The group visited Guangdong to study specific topics relating to the amendment of the Patent Law.

While amending the patent law, preparation work for the amendment of the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law was also undertaken.After several rounds of discussions in SIPO, the first draft was completed.

2. Regulations and Rules Made by SIPO

On January 6,1999,the Regulation on Investigation and Seizure of Passing off Acts by Patent Administrative Authorities"was promulgated under the SIPO Commissioner's Order No.9,and went to effect on February 2,1999. Moreover, the Regulation on the Priority of Applications Filed First with the Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative  Region was approved by SIPO and issues under the Commissioner's Order No.10. The later regulation was applied to applications for short-term patent and industrial designs filed with the Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as of December 1,1999.

In 1999,SIPO also promulgated the following regulations:the Notice on the Printing and Distribution of Regulations Regarding the Annual Review of Patent Agencies (No.36-1999,SIPO Regulation); the Notice Regarding the Commencement of the Annual Review of Patent Agencies (No.37-1999,SIPO Regulation); the Notice on the Issue of the Establishment of Subsidiaries of Patent Agencies (No.68-1999,SIPO Regulation); the Notice on Issuing Patent Agent Certificates (No.69-1999, SIPO Regulation); and the Notice on the Printing and Distribution of Regulation Relating to Qualification Traming for Patent
Agents (No.186-1999,SIPO Regulation)

3. Administration of Patent Agencies

In 1999,SIPO approved the establishment of 11 new patent agencies. Based on experiences accumulated during the
annual review of 281 patent agencies in eight provinces and cities including Beijing in 1998, SIPO organized an other annual review of 271 patent agencies in 22 provinces and cities in 1999. The 484 patent agencies passing the first annual review were announced by SIPO in two separate batches in 1999.However,the certificates of 15 agencies that failed to meet review requirements were revoked. At the same time, more than 3,300 patent agents passed the first annual review registration: Also in 1999 SIPO investigated and dealt with the improper behavior of two patent agencies.

4. Research on the Patent Law Over the past year, the Patent Law

Institute conducted extensive research on basic issues related to the revision of the patent law and on legal protection of new technologies. The Institute continued its research on: the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Geneva Act of Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs (June 1999, Geneva) ,the Basic Proposal for the Patent Law Treaty, the Basic Proposal for Regulations Under the Patent Law Treaty(September 1999),as well as research on the new round of amendments to Regulations Under the Patent Law Treaty. In 1999,tie Institute also compiled and published" Patent Law Research"(350,000 words).

5. Administrative Reconsideration

In 1999,SIPO received 458 requests for administrative reconsideration, among which 99 cases were placed on file, 46 cases were withdrawn by the parties concerned,306 cases were rejected for falling short of the law requirements, and 7 were not put on record because the original decision had been corrected by the original examination departments.

Among the 99 requests that SIPO accepted,25 related to patent applications deemed to have been withdrawn, 25 related to patent applications deemed to have been invalid,21 related to patents deemed to have been abandoned,9 related to the right of priority deemed not to have been claimed, 6 related to the decision on suspending the examination procedure,4 related to patents that could not be restored, 2 related to patent applications deemed not to have been submitted,1 related to the modification of the record catalogue, 1 related to patent application deemed not to have been submitted because it transgressed security requirements, I related to the patent application date,1 related to the Payment Notice,1 related to patent rights deemed to have been revoked,1 related to the patent rights registration deemed to have been ceased, and 1 related to the approval decision on the establishment of a patent agency.In 1999,SIPO closed 97 pieces of cases, among which 50 were upheld,36 were changed or modified, 11 were withdrawn by the parties concerned in the course of examination on the request for reconsideration, and 2 are still pending.

In 1999,three cases were brought against SIPO before the Court and three cases asked for administrative compensation. Among those cases, two requested administrative compensation for patent applications related to rights of priority in the home country deemed not to have been claimed, one related to the rejection of a reconsideration request for the annulment of the decision on patent rights revocation of SIPO, three requested administrative compensation for patent rights declared as invalid.

Of the aforementioned cases, one case was rejected by the Court in the second instance, three were rejected by the Court in the first instance, and two are still pending in the Court of final instance due to the dissatisfaction of the involved parties with the decision of first instance. Of all requests, one related to the revocation of SIPO's decision by the Court of first instance,  which is still pending in the court of final instance, due to the dissatisfaction of SIPO with the decision of the first instance. There was also one request withdrawn by the parties with the approval of the Court. Furthermore, in 1999 the Court made a final judgement decision on a request brought to the Court against SIPO in 1998 asking for revocation of the original decision made by SIPO.

In addition, one request was directly filed in 1999 with SIPO for administrative compensation, but no compensation was granted. In 1999, SIPO handled 311 letters from parties concerned.

2002-05-29