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29

DEC

2020

Newsletter: Chinese IP Information

(English and Chinese) - Volume 10

Focus on the Fourth Revision of the Chinese Patent Law

On October 17, the 22nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress passed the decision on amending the Patent Law. President Xi Jinping signed Presidential Decree No. 55 to be announced. The newly revised Patent Law will be formally implemented on June 1, 2021.

The interpretation of the revised law can have different perspectives. This article takes the difference between the two versions of the Patent Law before and after the amendment as the entry point, trying to interpret the changes and causes of the main content of the new Patent Law from the evolution of the revised content.

I. Incorporate a new punitive damages system, increase the statutory damages, and improve the burden of proof

In the newly revised Patent Law, there is a new incorporation of intentional infringement of patent rights. If the circumstances are serious, the amount of comprensation for damage may be determined from no less than one time and no more than five times of the amount determined according to the aforementioned methods. The amount of compensation is determined to show China’s attitude and determination to strictly protect intellectual property rights in accordance with the law, increase the cost of infringement, make infringers pay a heavy price, and give full play to the deterrence of the law.

At the same time, the upper limit of statutory compensation was raised to 5 million CNY, and the lower limit was raised to 30,000 CNY to implement strict intellectual property protection, significantly increase the cost of violations, and reflect the orientation of increasing patent protection and encouraging innovation.

The evidence rules have been further improved. When the right owner has tried his best to provide evidence, and the account books and materials related to the infringement are mainly in the hands of the infringer, the people's court can order the infringer to provide it, thereby reducing the burden of evidence on the right owner.

The statute of limitations for infringement of patent rights was changed from two years to three years. The revised law clarified the jurisdiction of administrative handling of patent disputes, including regulations on levels, regions, same region, and cross-regions. The national level handles patent infringement disputes that have a significant national impact; local departments handle cases within their own administrative regions; for cross-regional cases, it is handled by relevant departments of the higher-level government.

IIPromote the transformation of patents, strengthen public services for patent information, and incorporate a new patent open licensing system

For Chinese enterprise entities, the new entity in the Patent Law can dispose of the right to apply for patents and patent rights for service inventions and creations in accordance with the law, and promote the implementation and application of related inventions and creations. The State encourages the company having patent rights to implement property rights incentives, adopting methods such as stock rights, options, and dividends, so that inventors or designers can reasonably share the benefits of innovation.

The timely publication, dissemination and effective use of patent information are of great significance to improve the starting point of innovation, reduce repeated research and development, avoid infringement of the patent rights of others, and promote innovation. In order to further meet social needs, such as the lack of timely information disclosure such as the re-determination of the scope of rights in the current patent invalidation process, the patent information application and service system has been systematically arranged for the overall arrangement of patent information. The regulations clarify the responsibilities of the patent administration department under the State Council for the construction of the patent information public service system, stipulate that it provides basic patent data, and clarify the responsibilities of the local patent administration department to strengthen patent public services and promote patent implementation and utilization.

If any company or individual intends to implement an open-licensed patent, it shall notify the patentee in writing and pay the license fee in accordance with the published method and standard of the license fee, and then obtain the patent license. "During the implementation period of the open license, the patentee will be granted a corresponding reduction or exemption of the annual patent fee." "The patentee who implements the open license may negotiate with the licensee and grant an ordinary license, but shall not grant exclusive rights or exclusive permission to the patent."

The open licensing system is an important legal system that promotes the implementation of patent transformation. Its core is to encourage patentees to open their patent rights to the society, promote the connection between supply and demand and patent implementation, and truly realize the value of patents. This revision of the Patent Law is based on China’s national conditions, drawing on internationally mature experience, and stipulates the open license statement and its effective procedures, the licensee’s procedures and rights and obligations for obtaining an open license, and the corresponding dispute resolution path, with a view to resolving it through government public services about the problem of information asymmetry between the supply and demand sides of patented technology, so as to enable any company or individual to easily obtain patent licenses, reduce transaction costs, and improve patent conversion efficiency. After the patentee makes an open licensing statement, those who intend to exploit the patent only need to pay according to the standards declared by the patentee, without the prior permission of the patentee, and no need to file the "Patent Licensing Contract".

IIIImprove design-related systems

"Appearance design refers to a new design that is aesthetically pleasing and suitable for industrial applications for the overall or partial shape, pattern or combination of the product, as well as the combination of color, shape and pattern."

The protection of partial shape is incorporated. In the practice of design innovation, designers sometimes make subversive overall product designs, but more often they make improved design innovations for certain parts of the product. Therefore, whether it is from the perspective of enterprise product design innovation or from the perspective of design development rules, partial design innovation of products has become an important way of product design. At the same time, major countries and regions such as the United States, Japan, Europe, and South Korea all protect partial designs. As companies continue to "go global", the demand, for Chinese companies to obtain design protection abroad has increased significantly. The protection of partial designs meets the needs of enterprises and conforms to international common practices. This will enable Chinese enterprises to make better use of the rules, further develop the international market, and improve their international competitiveness.

The protection period of design patents is extended. The protection period of design patents was extended to 15 years to meet the needs of enterprises to apply abroad, to meet the diversified needs of innovation entities for protection periods.

The domestic priority system for design patent applications is incorporated. It is clarified that the applicant who filed a domestic patent application on the same subject within six months from the date when the domestic design first filed a patent application can have priority, thereby reducing application costs and giving the design applicant further improvements opportunities to design and adjust the scope of protection.

All aspects of China's industrial design changes in this amendment are also China's efforts to further integrate with international standards and create conditions for China to join the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.

IVPharmaceutical industry innovation

A new provision on compensation for the term of pharmaceutical patents has been incorporated. At this stage, with the development of China's pharmaceutical industry, pharmaceutical companies have gradually increased their R&D investment and innovation capabilities for innovative drugs. Corresponding system design is required to ensure their enthusiasm for new drug research and development. At the same time, in order to promote the early listing of foreign new drugs in our country, improve the availability of drugs, and protect public health, it is necessary to establish a drug patent term compensation system based on China’s national conditions and learn from the experience of relevant countries and regions. Occupying time, for new drug-related invention patents that have been approved for marketing in China, compensation shall be granted for the duration of the patent at the request of the patentee. The compensation period shall not exceed five years, and the total effective patent right period after the new drug is approved for marketing shall not exceed 14 years.

In the process of drug marketing review and approval, if a dispute arises between the drug marketing authorization applicant and the relevant patentee or interested party due to the patent right related to the drug applied for registration, the relevant party can sue the people’s court and request the drug to be registered. A judgment shall be made on whether the relevant technical solutions fall within the scope of protection of the patent rights of others’ drugs. The drug regulatory department of the State Council may, within the prescribed time limit, make a decision on whether to suspend the approval of the listing of relevant drugs based on the effective judgment of the people's court.

The newly-incorporated early resolution procedures for drug patent disputes are designed to resolve potential patent disputes as soon as possible before the relevant drugs are marketed. Providing alternative dispute resolution channels for relevant parties can better balance the interests of patentees, generic drug companies and the public, improve the availability of drugs, and protect public health.

VImprove the patent grant system

In order to better respond to emergencies and extraordinary situations such as epidemic prevention and control, promote the timely application of related inventions and creations in disease treatment and other aspects, solve public health problems, and respond to the needs of innovative entities to relax exceptions without loss of novelty, in the case of non-loss of novelty exception, “in the event of a state of emergency or extraordinary circumstances, the first disclosure for the purpose of public interest” is incorporated in this amendment. This can not only meet the current practical needs of fighting the epidemic, but also leave room for future application in other emergencies or extraordinary circumstances.

Where a patent infringement dispute involves a utility model patent or a design patent, the people’s court or the administrative department of patents may require the patentee or interested parties to issue a document after the patent administration department of the State Council has searched, analyzed and evaluated the relevant utility model or design patent. The patent right evaluation report made is used as evidence for the trial and handling of patent infringement disputes; the patentee, the interested person or the accused infringer may also actively issue the patent right evaluation report. It is specifically incorporated in this amendment that the accused infringer can also actively issue a patentability evaluation report, which protects the accused infringer's right to obtain evidence in patent infringement litigation, increases the fairness, flexibility and initiative of the parties in patent infringement disputes, which is conducive to the litigation process.

2020.10.26

聚焦中国专利法第四次修改

1017日,十三届全国人大常委会第二十二次会议表决通过了关于修改专利法的决定。国家主席习近平签署第55号主席令予以公布。新修改的专利法将于202161日正式实施。

对修法解读可以有不同的切入角度,本文以修改前后的两版专利法的差异作为切入点,试图从修改内容的演变来解读新专利法中主要内容的变化、成因。

I.新增惩罚性赔偿制度,提高法定赔偿额,完善举证责任

在新修改的专利法中,新增对故意侵犯专利权,情节严重的,人民法院可以在按照权利人受到的损失、侵权人获得的利益或者专利许可使用费倍数计算的数额一到五倍内确定赔偿数额,以显示中国依法严格保护知识产权的态度和决心,提高侵权成本,让侵权者付出沉重代价,充分发挥法律的威慑力。

与此同时,将法定赔偿额上限提高至五百万元、下限提高至三万元,以实施严格的知识产权保护,显著提高违法成本,体现加大专利保护力度、鼓励创新的导向。

进一步完善了证据规则,在权利人已经尽力举证,而与侵权行为相关的账簿、资料主要由侵权人掌握的情况下,人民法院可以责令侵权人提供,从而减轻权利人的举证负担。

侵犯专利权的诉讼时效由二年改为三年。明确了专利纠纷行政处理的管辖,包括级别、地域、同区域、跨区域等规定,国家级别处理在全国有重大影响的专利侵权纠纷;地方部门处理本行政区域内的案件;对跨区域案件,由上一级政府的相关部门处理。

II.促进专利转化,加强专利信息公共服务,新增专利开放许可制度

对于中国企业单位,专利法新增该单位可以依法处置其职务发明创造申请专利的权利和专利权,促进相关发明创造的实施和运用。国家鼓励被授予专利权的单位实行产权激励,采取股权、期权、分红等方式,使发明人或者设计人合理分享创新收益。

及时发布、传播和有效利用专利信息,对提高创新起点、减少重复研发、避免侵犯他人专利权、促进创新具有重要意义。为进一步满足社会需求,例如目前专利在无效过程中的权利范围再确定等信息公开不及时的问题,对专利信息应用与服务体系从制度上予以总体安排,本次专利法修改增加专利信息方面的规定,明确国务院专利行政部门负责专利信息公共服务体系建设的职责,规定其提供专利基础数据,并明确地方专利行政部门加强专利公共服务、促进专利实施和运用的职责。

任何单位或者个人有意愿实施开放许可的专利的,以书面方式通知专利权人,并依照公告的许可使用费支付方式、标准支付许可使用费后,即获得专利实施许可。“开放许可实施期间,对专利权人缴纳专利年费相应给予减免。”“实行开放许可的专利权人可以与被许可人就许可使用费进行协商后给予普通许可,但不得就该专利给予独占或者排他许可。”

开放许可制度是促进专利转化实施的一项重要法律制度,其核心在于鼓励专利权人向社会开放专利权,促进供需对接和专利实施,真正实现专利价值。本次专利法修改基于中国国情,借鉴国际成熟经验,规定了开放许可声明及其生效的程序要件、被许可人获得开放许可的程序和权利义务以及相应的争议解决路径,以期通过政府公共服务解决专利技术供需双方信息不对称问题,使任何单位和个人都可以便利地获得专利许可,降低交易成本,提高专利转化效率。专利权人做出开放许可声明之后,有意实施专利的人只需按照专利权人声明的标准付费即可,无需得到专利权人事先许可,也不必专门做《专利实施许可合同》备案。

III.完善外观设计相关制度

“外观设计,是指对产品的整体或者局部的形状、图案或者其结合以及色彩与形状、图案的结合所作出的富有美感并适于工业应用的新设计。”

增加局部外观设计保护。在设计创新的实践中,设计师有时候会做出具有颠覆性的产品整体设计,但更多时候是对产品的某些局部进行改良性的设计创新。因此,不论是从企业产品设计创新的角度,还是从设计发展规律来看,对产品局部的设计创新都已经成为产品设计的重要方式。同时,美国、日本、欧洲、韩国等主要国家和地区均对局部外观设计予以保护,随着企业不断“走出去”,我国企业在境外获得外观设计保护的需求明显增加。保护局部外观设计,符合企业需求,符合国际通行做法,可以使我国企业更好的利用规则,进一步开拓国际市场,提高国际竞争力。

延长外观设计专利保护期限。将外观设计专利保护期限延长为15年,以满足企业向外申请的需求,满足创新主体对保护期限的多元化需求,也为我国加入《工业品外观设计国际注册海牙协定》创造条件。

增加外观设计专利申请国内优先权制度。明确申请人自外观设计在国内第一次提出专利申请之日起六个月内,又就相同主题在国内提出专利申请的,可以享有优先权,从而降低申请成本,给予外观设计申请人进一步完善设计、调整保护范围的机会。

此次修改中对我国外观设计的各方面修改也是中国在为了进一步与国际接轨做出努力,为中国加入《工业品外观设计国际注册海牙协定》创造条件。

IV.医药产业创新

新增了关于药品专利期限补偿的规定。现阶段,随着我国医药产业的发展,药企对创新药品的研发投入和创新能力逐步提高,需要相应的制度设计来保障其从事新药研发的积极性。同时,为促进国外新药能够尽早在我国上市,提高药品可及性,保障公共健康,有必要立足我国国情,借鉴相关国家和地区经验,建立药品专利期限补偿制度,即为补偿新药上市审评审批占用时间,对在中国获得上市许可的新药相关发明专利,应专利权人的请求给予专利权期限补偿。补偿期限不超过五年,新药批准上市后总有效专利权期限不超过十四年。

药品上市审评审批过程中,药品上市许可申请人与有关专利权人或者利害关系人,因申请注册的药品相关的专利权产生纠纷的,相关当事人可以向人民法院起诉,请求就申请注册的药品相关技术方案是否落入他人药品专利权保护范围作出判决。国务院药品监督管理部门在规定的期限内,可以根据人民法院生效裁判作出是否暂停批准相关药品上市的决定。

新增的药品专利纠纷早期解决程序,以在相关药品上市前,尽早解决潜在的专利纠纷。为相关当事人提供可供选择的纠纷解决途径,可以更好地平衡专利权人、仿制药企业和社会公众利益,提高药品可及性,保障公共健康。

V.完善专利授权制度

为更好地应对疫情防控等紧急状态和非常情况,促进相关发明创造在疾病治疗等方面的及时应用,解决公众健康问题,回应创新主体放宽不丧失新颖性例外规定的需求,本次专利法在不丧失新颖性例外的适用情形中增加“在国家出现紧急状态或者非常情况时,为公共利益目的首次公开”。这样既能满足当前抗击疫情的实践需要,还能为今后在其他紧急状态或者非常情况下的适用留有空间。

专利侵权纠纷涉及实用新型专利或者外观设计专利的,人民法院或者管理专利工作的部门可以要求专利权人或者利害关系人出具由国务院专利行政部门对相关实用新型或者外观设计进行检索、分析和评价后作出的专利权评价报告,作为审理、处理专利侵权纠纷的证据;专利权人、利害关系人或者被控侵权人也可以主动出具专利权评价报告。这次修改中特别增加了被控侵权人也可以主动出具专利性评价报告,保障了被控侵权人在专利侵权诉讼中取证的权利,增加了各方当事人在专利侵权纠纷中的公平性、灵活性与主动性,有利于诉讼进程。

2020.10.26

About the Firm

Ge Cheng & Co Ltd.
Address Level 19, Tower E3, The Towers, Oriental Plaza, No 1 East Chang An Avenue, Beijing 100073, China.
Tel 86-10-8518 8598
Fax 86-10-8518 3600
Email davidcheng@gechengip.com , info@gechengip.com
Link www.gechengip.com

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