The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has appeared to cancel more than half of their invention patent applications in 2020, presumably for being fraudulent (also referred to as ‘irregular’ or ‘abnormal’). While the CNIPA has ceased publishing patent application filing data on its statistics page and in its press releases, CNIPA has been releasing, perhaps inadvertently, filing data on an English version of its website. The English-language data shows that there were only 530,127 invention patent applications filed in all of 2020 while earlier data shows there were 1,231,706 invention patent applications filed from January 2020 through November 2020. That is, at least 701,579 invention patent applications were removed from the Chinese statistics. The number of cancelled applications is actually higher as presumably at least 100,000 invention patent applications were filed in December 2020 (170,992 invention patent applications were filed in November 2020).
No announcement or reasoning was provided by CNIPA for the ceasing of the data publication, nor why it would continue on the English version of its website. Accordingly, no reason was provided for the 57% drop in the cumulative number of invention patent applications between November and December 2020.
However, based on continuous announcements by CNIPA and others on the crackdown of fraudulent patent applications filings (also referred to as ‘irregular’ or ‘abnormal’ patent applications); new measures issued to combat these filings; prison in one particularly egregious case; and a notice circulating indicating CNIPA would cancel 400,000 patent applications, presumably the missing 701,579 invention patent applications are those that CNIPA determined to be fraudulent and so removed from the statistics.
In Article 2 of the above-mentioned Measures, CNIPA defined fraudulent applications as follows:
(1) Simultaneously or successively submitting multiple patent applications that are obviously the same in invention-creation content, or are essentially formed by simple combinations of different invention-creation features or elements;
(2) The submitted patent application contains fabricated, forged or altered inventions and creations, experimental data or technical effects, or plagiarism, simple replacement, patchwork of existing technology or existing designs, etc.;
(3) The invention-creation of the submitted patent application is obviously inconsistent with the actual research and development capabilities and resource conditions of the applicant and inventor;
(4) The invention-creation content of multiple patent applications submitted is mainly generated randomly by computer programs or other technologies;
(5) The invention-creation of the submitted patent application is an invention deliberately formed for the purpose of circumventing patentability examination, which is obviously inconsistent with technical improvement or design common sense, or has no actual protection value, is inferior, piles up, or unnecessarily limits the scope of protection Creation, or content without any search and review significance;
(6) In order to evade the supervision measures against irregular patent applications, multiple patent applications that are substantially related to a specific entity, individual or address are scattered, submitted sequentially or in different places;
(9) Other irregular patent applications and related behaviors that violate the principle of good faith and disrupt the normal order of patent work.
Snapshots of the English-language data are reproduced below.
Annual Data from CNIPA Indicating 530,127 Invention Patent Applications were Filed in 2020
Cumulative Data from CNIPA Indicating 1,231,706 Invention Patent Applications were Filed from January 2020 to November 2020.
Source: China IP Law Update