Regulations on Patent Commissioning

(Promulgated on March 4, 1991)


Chapter 1  General Principles

Article 1   With a view to guaranteeing the legitimate rights of patent agencies and consignors and ensuring the normal working of patent commissioning services, these Regulations her eof are formulated.

Article 2   Patent commissioning stated here denotes patent application or the handling of other patent- related affairs by patent agencies on behalf of their consignors and within their authorized powers.

Chapter 2    Patent Agencies

Article 3   Patent agencies stated here denote service organs that apply for patents or handle  other  patent-related affairs on behalf of their consignors and within their authorized powers.
     Patent agencies include:
     (1) those that handle foreign patent-related affairs;
     (2) those that handle domestic patent-related affairs; and
     (3) law firms that handle domestic patent-related affairs.

Article 4   Establishment of a patent agency shall require the following conditions:
     (1) having a name, articles of association and fixed work place of its own;
     (2) having necessary capital and work installations;
     (3) being financially independent and able to meet civil  liabilities independently; and
     (4) employing three or more special staff members qualified as patent agents and a proportionate number of likewise qualified spare-time working staff as stipulated by the China Administration of Patents (CAP).
     Law firms engaged in patent commissioning must have special staff for the business stated in item (4) of the previous paragraph.

Article 5   To apply for the establishment of a patent agency at a patent administration, the following documents must be presented:
     (1) a letter of application with the name, office space and responsible person's name stated;
     (2) the articles of association of the patent agency;
     (3) the names of  patent  agents and their certificates of qualification; and
     (4) written proof of the amount of capital and installations of  the patent of the agency.

Article 6   Patent agencies applying for the handling of domestic patent-related affairs or law firms applying for the same must have the consent of their governing authorities and their applications must be examined by  patent administrations  of  provinces,  autonomous  regions  or  municipalities directly under the Central Government;  in  the  absence  of  governing authorities, they may be directly examined by the later. Upon agreement, the examining authorities shall report the  applications  to  CAP  for approval.
     Patent agencies applying to handle foreign-related patent affairs must go through procedures as stipulated  in  the  Patent  Law  of  the People's Republic of China. Such agencies, upon approval by CAP, can handle domestic patent affairs.

Article 7   Patent agencies, as of the  date  of  approval,  can  start  handling patent-commissioning business in accordance with law, enjoy civil  rights and meet civil liabilities.

Article 8   Patent agencies shall deal with the following businesses:
     (1) providing patent-related consulting agencies;
     (2) writing on commission patent application documents  and  handling re-examination and other related affairs;
     (3) raising disagreement, asking for the  announcement  of  a  patent right cancellation and other related affairs;
     (4)  handling the right of patent application, the transfer of patent right and patent permission and other related affairs;
     (5) appointing  patent  agents  to  serve  as  patent  advisors  upon invitation; and
     (6) other related matters.

Article 9   When patent agencies accept consignments and  handle  business,  they shall have a consignor's letter of commitment clearly stating commissioned items and powers.
     If needed, a patent agency  may  designate  a  certain  patent  agent appointed by the consignor to handle the business.
     Patent agencies may charge commissions in  accordance  with  relevant regulations of t he State.

Article 10   After accepting a commission, a patent agency shall  not  accept  the commission of rival consignors concerning patents with the  same  content.

Article 11   Patent agencies shall employ as patent agents  persons  with  Patent Agent Qualification Certificate". The latter shall  go  through  necessary procedures, be given  "Patent  Agent  Work  Permit"  by  the  former,  and register at CAP.
     Beginners shall not be issued "Patent Agent Work Permit" until  after a full year of apprenticeship.
     When patent  agencies  discharge  their  patent  agents,  they  shall recover in time the latter's "Patent Agent Working Permit" and report such discharge to CAP.

Article 12   When patent agencies change their names, addresses  and  responsible persons, they shall report to CAP of such changes, which become effective only after approval by the latter.
      When  a  patent  agency  goes  out  of  business,  it  shall,  after appropriately handling a unsettled affairs, report to  the  authorities that endorsed its opening and the latter shall be  responsible  for  going through all necessary procedures as CAP.

Article 13   If an approved patent agency no longer meets the conditions stated in Article 4 of these Regulations hereof due to a change of circumstances and will not be able to meet such conditions within 1 year,  the  authorities that endorsed its opening should propose to CAP that it be canceled  as  a patent agency.

Chapter 3    Patent Agents

Article 14   Patent agents that these Regulations hereof stated denote bearers of "Patent Agent Qualification Certificate"  and  of  "Patent  Agent  Working Permit".

Article 15   Chinese citizens who support Constitution as the People's Republic of China and meet the following conditions may apply to be patent agents:
     (1) over the age of 18 with full capacity for civil behaviors;
     (2) graduates of college departments of sciences (or with  equivalent education) in command of one foreign language;
     (3) well-versed in the Patent Law and related legal knowledge; and
     (4) scientists or lawyers with upwards of 2 years of work experience.

Article 16   Persons who apply to be patent agents will obtain CAP  "Patent  Agent Qualification Certificate" after a panel of examination judges  deem  him or her qualified.
     The panel of judges is composed of persons from  CAP,  State  Council department and organizations of patent agents.

Article 17    Patent  agents  shall  handle  only  patent  commissioning  services assigned by their patent agencies and shall not accept such services  on their own.

Article 18   Patent agents shall handle patent commissioning services  in  two  or more patent agencies simultaneously.
     Before quitting their jobs at patent  agencies,  patent  agents  must appropriately conclude unsettled commissioned cases.

Article 19   In case bearers of "Patent Agent Qualification Certificate"  fail  to engage in patent commissioning business or patent-related management for 5 years, their "Patent Agent Qualification Certificates" are  automatically rendered ineffective.

Article 20   Patent agents in the course  of  doing  their  professional  work  or within 1 year of their  quitting  their  profession  must  not  apply  for patents.

Article 21   Patent agents lawfully handling patent commissions shall be protected by State laws and their work shall not be interfered with by any unit or individual.

Article 22   State organ staff are forbidden to work at patent agencies and engage in patent commissioning service in their spare-time.

Article 23   Patent agents have the responsibility to keep the inventions they get to know in the course of  their  rendering  commission  service  s  unless relevant patent application have been made public.

Chapter 4    Punishment

Article 24   For one of the following offenses,  the  governing  authorities  or patent  administrations  of   the   provinces,   autonomous   regions   or municipalities directly under the Central Government may serve  a  warning to the offending patent agency; in cases  of  serious  offense,  CAP  may punish it by ordering its close:
     (1) concealing facts in application;
     (2) changing major registration items by itself;
     (3) accepting and handling patent commission services  unauthorizedly or beyond the approved business scope; and
     (4) other illegal activities.

Article 25   For one of the following offenses  on  the  part  of  patent  agents, relevant patent agencies may criticize the offenders if the cases are  not serious; in cases of serious offenses, patent agencies may discharge  the offenders and revoke their "Patent Agent Work Permit";  relevant  patent administrations of the provinces,  autonomous  regions  or  municipalities directly under the Central Government may serve each offender  a  warning or CAP may revoke his or her "Patent Agent Qualification Certificate":
     (1) failing to fulfill his or her duties  to  the  detriment  of  the interests of the consignors;
     (2) disclosing or stealing inventions of the consignors;
     (3) going beyond the powers of commission and causing damages to  the interests of the consignors; and
     (4)  charging  through  accepting  and  handling  patent  commission services without permission.
     If the commissaries' economic losses hass been caused by the behavior as stated in the  previous  paragraph,  relevant  patent  agencies,  after making economic pensions, may charge the patent  agent  in  question according to a given proportion.

Article 26   If a patent agency ordered to close down as a punishment by CAP and a patent agent whose  "Patent  Agent  Qualification  Certificate"  has  been revoked do not agree with the decisions of punishment, they may appeal to CAP for re-examination; if they still fail to be satisfied  with  the  CAP decision, they may bring the case to a people's court within  15  days  of the receipt of the CAP decision.

Chapter 5    Supplementary Articles

Article 27   The right to interpret  these  Regulations  hereof  rests  with  CAP.

Article 28   These Regulations hereof become effective as of April  1,  1991.  The Temporary Regulations  on  Patent  Commissioning  endorsed  by  the  State Council on September 4, 1985 and promulgated by CAP on September 12 of the same year is simultaneously canceled.

2007-07-12