The US Patent and Trademark Office Wants to Hear Your Patent Experience in China

On October 17, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice seeking comments from parties that have had their patents enforced in China, following a series of roundtable discussions.  The state of IP protection in China brings to mind the adage about a group of blind men feeling an elephant.  Through this proposal, the PTO is in a unique position to aggregate companies’ experiences in China and hopefully helps us better understand the shape of the whole animal.  The focus on patents is also worth noting.  Often we hear about copyright piracy and trademark counterfeits coming from China, and extrapolate the situation there to the entire field of IP including that of patent protections.  In a recent book, Shaping China’s Innovation Future, Prof. John L. Orcutt of the University Of New Hampshire School Of Law and Mr. Hong Shen of Longan Law Firm in China argue that this is too broad of a brush and China in fact offers respectable patent protection.  This comment request will help dissipate some of the haze. 

The PTO specifies five areas of inquiry:

(1) the enforcement of patents

(2) evidence issues in Chinese litigation

(3) remedies including damages and injunctions

(4) enforceability of court orders

(5) administrative patent enforcement.

The comments will inform the PTO’s report on the state of patent protection in China and make specific recommendations for improvement.  Comments can be sent by e-mail to IP.policy@uspto.gov, or by mail to Elizabeth Shaw's attention at: OPEA, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria Va., 22313. The deadline for comments is Nov. 4.  We at the Chinese IP Resource Center hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity and are happy to assist with your inquiries.

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