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CNIPA: All 85 RCEP IP Obligations Fulfilled

This January marks the first anniversary of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after its effectiveness. As trade and investment have been continuously liberalized and expedited among RCEP member countries over the past year, IP, as an important force for promoting regional economic and trade cooperation, is playing an increasingly significant role.

In the RCEP agreement, the chapter on intellectual property has the greatest content and length, and it is also an IP-related chapter that has incorporated most comprehensive contents among all the FTAs ever signed by China. No wonder it has sparked wide attention since the get-go. Our reporter learned from the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) that in the past year, all the 85 obligations specified in RCEP's IPR chapter involving the highest IP authority in China have been fulfilled.

Since the signing of RCEP, China has made comprehensive plans on the implementation of RCEP and affirmed a list of obligations. Among them, there are 60 binding obligations and 25 encouraging obligations involving the missions of CNIPA, totaling 85 items. CNIPA has made a plan on its internal division of tasks for the RCEP obligation list, and all relevant departments have been following the plan to implement it in an orderly manner.

RCEP's IPR chapter emphasizes that "Each party recognizes the importance of improving the quality and efficiency of their respective patent systems, and the importance of simplifying and streamlining the procedures of their respective competent authorities, so as to benefit all users of their respective patent systems and the public as a whole". CNIPA has been working to improve the quality and efficiency of patent review, and in 2022, it shortened the review period for high-value invention patents to 13 months. Thus, it has met the target of 13.8 months ahead of schedule as required by the reform for delegating power, improving regulation, and upgrading services. The average review period for invention patents has been shaved to 16.5 months.

RCEP's IPR chapter has provisions on "expedited review", specifying that "Each party shall endeavor to set provisions on domestic procedures that require patent applicants to complete expedited review of their patent applications in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations of that party". In 2022, CNIPA adopted various review modes to meet diversified needs, expanded the scale of prioritized review in an orderly manner, and continuously enriched and expanded the circumstances applicable for prioritized review of patent applications, so as to effectively enhance the sense of fulfillment of the massive entities and individuals engaged in innovation.

RCEP has proposed a provision to regulate "bad faith trademarks", stating that "Each party shall provide that its competent authority has the right to refuse an application or cancel a registration where the application to register the trademark was made in bad faith in accordance with its laws and regulations." In 2022, CNIPA kept cracking down upon bad faith trademark registrations, and taken seriously of relevant clues. In a centralized manner, it rejected bad faith trademark applications that ran counter to the public interest, and took the initiative to invalidate registered ones ex officio.

In addition to the implementation of RCEP obligations, CNIPA has worked to fulfill tasks for "strengthening IP protection" in accordance with the Guidance on the High-Quality Implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and five other agencies. The work includes improvement of the domestic IP protection system and strengthening the supply of public IP services.

Source:China IP News