Development Plan of the Patent Commissioning Industry (2009-2015)
This plan has been prepared to drive the implementation of the national intellectual property strategy, develop intellectual property intermediary services, strengthen the work related to patents and promote the sound and rapid development of the patent commissioning industry.
Patent commissioning is an important support to the effective operation of the patent system, an important aspect of the work related to patents, and a core component of the intellectual property intermediary service system. The level and quality of patent commissioning services is critical to our country’s independent innovation capabilities.
To realize the goal of developing intellectual property intermediary services as defined in the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, and support market players to create, use, protect and manage patents effectively, we must improve the level of patent commissioning services, extend the range of patent commissioning services, strengthen patent commissioning service capabilities, and promote the sound and rapid development of the patent commissioning industry in all aspects constantly.
II. Development trends
Since the beginning of reform and opening up, significant progress has been made in our country’s intellectual property programs, and the patent commissioning industry has grown rapidly.
1. A legal system related to patent commissioning management has taken form.
After the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China came into effect, the State Council has approved and promulgated the Interim Regulations on Patent Commissioning and the Regulations on Patent Commissioning. In the new century, the State Intellectual Property Office has promulgated departmental regulations successively, such as the Disciplinary Rules for Patent Commissioning (tentative), the Measures for the Administration of Patent Commissioning, the Measures for the Implementation of Patent Agent Qualification Examination and the Measures for the Handling of Disciplinary Violations in the National Patent Agent Qualification Examinations. As a result, a legal system that protects and regulates the patent commissioning industry has taken form.
2. Patent commissioning services have been market-oriented and socially based.
The patent commissioning industry has been largely market-oriented and socially based; an industry development mechanism featuring “voluntary combination, autonomous operation, independent development and self-discipline” has been established, and there has been a preliminary turn toward specialization and standardization.
3. A number of patent agencies with high service level have emerged.
There are already 715 patent agencies in China, some of which have established a streamlined, normative and orderly management pattern and working mechanism, and a number of patent agencies with prominent expertise, meticulous services, good credibility, solid strength, significant economic efficiency and a considerable scale have come into being.
4. A team of professional patent agents has been born.
Through the implementation of the national uniform examination system for patent agents, the approval of patent commissioning qualifications has been further regulated, and the qualification of patent agent has become a prerequisite to professional practice. In recent years, the team of patent agents has been improving its expertise structure and flourishing, and tended younger and more specialized. There are nearly 6,000 certified patent agents and about 17,000 practitioners today.
In general, with the establishment and improvement of our country’s patent system, great progress has been made in the patent commissioning industry, promoting the conversion of innovative achievements into patents. At the same time, the patent commissioning industry has also expanded its service range, assisted enterprises in making technical innovations, protecting intellectual property rights and developing corporate intellectual property strategies actively, supporting the implementation of our country’s intellectual property system effectively.
Currently, as compared to the requirements for the fully balanced and sustainable development of intellectual property programs, there are still some restraints on the development of the patent commissioning industry. There is an urgent need to improve the relevant legal system. The management structure of the patent commissioning industry is not sound enough. The industry self-discipline function has not been given full play to. The team of patent agents has not been built timely, the size of this team can hardly adapt to rapid situation changes, and there is a shortage of advanced, cross-disciplinary and globally competitive talents. Patent agencies still do not have sufficient capabilities to participate in and handle foreign patent-related affairs. In general, the service capabilities of the patent commissioning industry are yet to be improved, main business lines are to be further highlighted, and the industry is to be further expanded.
At this new historical point, our country is implementing the national intellectual property strategy with great efforts, and the patent commissioning industry is faced with critical development opportunities. As an essential requirement to strengthen the work related to patents, an objective need to promote the development of service industries greatly, and an important task of implementing the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, we must grasp opportunities firmly, respond to challenges actively, carry through a scientific outlook on development in all aspects, plan the development of the patent commissioning industry in the near future carefully, integrate resources effectively, and drive the all-around, balanced and sustainable development of the patent commissioning industry greatly.
III. Guidelines, development objectives and basic principles
Take Deng Xiaoping’s theory and the important thought of the "Three Represents" as the guide, carry through a scientific outlook on development in all aspects, strengthen patent commissioning management in the light of the policy of effective management, normative services, creditworthiness, self-discipline and scientific development, improve industry self-discipline, promote the effective integration of patent commissioning services into the patent creation, utilization, protection and management aspects, pay great efforts to improve the service capabilities and level of the patent commissioning industry, drive the specialization, standardization and expansion of the patent commissioning industry, provide strong support to the effective implementation of the patent system and the substantial improvement in patent level, and promote the sound and rapid development of patent programs and the implementation of the national intellectual property strategy.
2. Development objectives
The following objectives will be fulfilled by 2015:
—The capabilities and level of patent commissioning services have improved greatly. Ensure that patent commissioning capabilities suit the growth of patent applications, that the level of patent commissioning services suits the constant improvement of our country’s independent innovation capabilities, and that the range of patent commissioning services meets the demand of our country’s market players for participating in market competition using patents.
—The team of patent agents has expanded greatly, and its competencies have further improved. Ensure that the number of patent agents attains about 10,000, that the number of advanced, cross-disciplinary and globally competitive talents proficient in expertise and foreign languages, and familiar with laws and trade attains about 1,000, and that a team of patent agents that suits development needs, has a sufficient size and a rational structure and crosses a full range of disciplines takes form.
—The level of development of patent agencies has improved greatly. The patent commissioning industry further expands. Patent agencies render normative services and act honesty and credibly in general. Patent agencies that provide strong support to independent innovation emerge in large numbers. There are over 100 exceptional patent agencies with prominent distinctions and high professional proficiency.
—The legal system for the patent commissioning industry is more sophisticated. The legal system for the patent commissioning industry is further improved, the applicable laws and regulations are amended timely, and a legal and policy supporting system conducive to the development of the patent commissioning industry takes form, and patent commissioning services are regulated effectively.
—A sounder management system that is conducive to the development of the patent commissioning industry and combines administrative regulation with industry self-discipline has been created. An honest, fair and organized market competition order takes form for the patent commissioning industry.
—The situation of balanced development of the patent commissioning industry across regions has taken form. The patent commissioning services capabilities of the developed eastern regions improve rapidly, and those of the central and western regions and the northeast industrial bases improve greatly.
3. Basic principles
The following principles should be abided by to promote the sound and rapid development of the patent commissioning industry:
—Combination of government guidance and market dominance: We should not only give play to the guiding role of the government in order to create a legal and policy environment and a market competition environment conducive to the healthy development of the patent commissioning industry, but also observe the market rules and highlight the basic role of the market mechanism in allocating resources for the development of the patent commissioning industry.
—Combination of government regulation and industry self-discipline: We should not only strengthen the government’s regulation of the patent commissioning industry, but also further define the self-discipline responsibilities of patent agents associations, and improve the credibility of the patent commissioning industry greatly to realize the self-discipline and self-management of the industry.
—Combination of highlighting main business lines and expanding service range: We should not only highlight main business lines, improve the quality of patent commissioning services and patent commissioning capabilities and level constantly, but also carry out studies on corporate patent strategies, patent utilization and protection, patent information analysis and the protection of corporate rights in an effort to expand patent commissioning services.
—Combination of talent training and institutional building: We should not only pay attention to the building of the team of patent commissioning talents, and train a number of moral and globally competitive patent commissioning talents, but also improve rules and regulations, impose stricter service standards and strengthen the building of patent agencies constantly.
—Combination of normative and characteristic services: We should not only make patent commissioning service standards stricter and more normative, and drive patent agencies to work in accordance with the directive service standards for the patent commissioning industry, but also encourage patent agencies to highlight their distinctions, give play to their advantages and strengths, and develop characteristic services as the case may be.
IV. Major tasks
1. Improving the legal system related to patent commissioning
Drive the improvement of the Regulations on Patent Commissioning and other applicable regulations. Improve and amend departmental regulations and normative documents timely. Apply stricter and more normative the conditions and procedures for the approval of professional qualifications of patent agencies and agents. Define the legal liabilities, disciplinary rules, punishment procedures and disposition methods for violations of law in patent commissioning, administer more severe punishments against organizations and individual without professional qualifications of patent commissioning engaged in patent commissioning illegally, create a development environment of fair competition for the patent commissioning industry. Define the legal status and working duties of patent agents associations. Explore ways to solve such problems as the restriction on the professional scope of patent agents in the prevailing laws and regulations, and promote the expansion of patent commissioning services to comprehensive intellectual property intermediary services.
2. Strengthening the supervision and management of the patent commissioning industry
Strengthen the regulatory function of the government, improve the annual inspection and disciplinary systems on patent commissioning, deepen the reform of the qualification examination system of patent agents, and improve the approval system for the professional qualification of patent agents. Establish a sound, clearly defined, rational and coordinated and effective supervision and management mechanism in which administrative regulation is combined organically with industry self-discipline. Establish a creditability management system and a social supervision mechanism for the patent commissioning industry. Formulate directive service standards and establish a quality supervision mechanism for the patent commissioning industry. Establish a patent commissioning training mechanism that suits the development trends, strengthen the education on professional ethics, and improve patent commissioning service capabilities greatly.
3. Strengthening the building of patent agents associations
Establish an organizational system of patent agents associations with a sound and rational structure, normative behavior and sound regulations. Strengthen the self-discipline, operational guidance, right protection, practitioner training, membership service and information communication of patent agents associations, and strengthen all service functions of patent agents associations. Study and enact policy measures for corporate personnel with the qualification of patent agent to acquire a membership in the association.
4. Improving the IT level of the patent commissioning industry
Strengthen the building of the patent commissioning management system to improve management efficiency. Improve the information system of the patent agent qualification examinations. Establish a membership network system for the patent commissioning industry. Promote the building of information communication platforms among patent agencies and between patent agencies and industry associations. Develop management software for patent agencies, and promote the automation and IT application of the operating process management of patent agencies.
5. Promoting the expansion of the service range of the patent commissioning industry
Drive patent agencies to carry out studies on corporate patent strategies, patent utilization and protection, patent information analysis and the protection of corporate rights in order to convert independent innovation achievements into intellectual property rights effectively. Study and enact policy measures for the horizontal collaboration between patent commissioning and other industries related to intellectual property rights. Try to create a situation in which patent commissioning services share advantages and resources with intellectual property action agency services, intangible assets appraisal services and other intellectual property intermediary services. Explore effective ways to solve the professional restriction on patent agents’ participation in the settlement of intellectual property disputes properly, and give full play to the role of patent agents in intellectual property protection.
6. Promoting the balanced development of the patent commissioning industry across regions
Enact policies conducive to the scientific regional development of the patent commissioning industry based on regional characteristics. Support the development of patent commissioning services in the central, western and northeast regions, and promote the improvement of patent commissioning service capabilities in the eastern regions greatly. Support patent agencies to conduct training and communication actively based on needs for regional innovative activities and patent applications. Promote the balanced and sustainable development of the patent commissioning industry throughout the country in a planned and staged manner.
7. Strengthening the publicity of the patent commissioning industry
Carry out diversified and enriched publicity activities, strengthen the publicity of the patent commissioning system, demonstrate important functions of professional patent commissioning services, enhance the public understanding of the important role of patent agents in the creation, utilization, protection and management of intellectual property rights, improve the level of awareness of applicants about the value of patent commissioning services and patent agents, foster the social concept of seeking for professional intellectual property services, further improve the reputation of the patent commissioning industry, and build up the good public image of the patent commissioning industry.
8. Strengthening foreign cooperation in patent commissioning
Conduct foreign cooperation and communication in patent commissioning actively. Develop foreign cooperation and development plans for the patent commissioning industry, make full use of all resources to strengthen the training of high-end talents, improve the capabilities of patent agencies in handling foreign patent applications, settling foreign intellectual property disputes and applying international intellectual property rules, and the level of globalization of the patent commissioning industry, and provide higher-quality services for our country’s enterprises to participate in international competition. Try to establish friendly cooperation with patent commissioning organizations and relevant international organizations in more countries and regions, and expand the influence of our country’s patent commissioning industry in handling international intellectual property affairs.
V. Specific work
1. Formulating directive service standards for the patent commissioning industry
Formulate and popularize service standards for the patent commissioning industry, direct patent agencies and agents to operate, regulate the service behavior of patent agencies, strengthen the management of the patent commissioning industry, and ensure the quality of patent commissioning services. Develop and implement training programs that suit the directive service standards.
2. Establishing an information management platform for credibility in patent commissioning
Improve information on patent agencies in patent agent databases and patent examination systems. Establish an information management platform for credibility in patent commissioning that contains basic information of patent agencies and agents, information on patent commissioning credit ratings, information on punishment against breach of patent commissioning credit and information on patent commissioning rewards and commendations, and has a public supervision function.
3. Preparing training guides for practitioners of the patent commissioning industry
Prepare training guides for practitioners in the patent commissioning industry based on needs of different levels, fields and stages, and set training contents and hours for different posts and business needs of patent agencies to guide the training of practitioners in the patent commissioning industry, and make training more proactive, systematic, scientific and normative.
4. Building an information management system for patent agencies
Design, develop and actively popularize management software that is highly generalized, and suitable mainly for small and medium sized patent agencies. Urge patent agencies to improve management level and service capabilities. Support patent agencies to handle patent applications electronically, and realize easy and normative patent application, patent fee payment, and patent examination status and legal status inquiry, etc.
5. Building a basic database and an information platform of patent commissioning services
Establish an information database of patent commissioning services that meets needs for patent commissioning services, including information and data on Chinese and foreign patents and CI wiring diagrams. Build an information platform of Chinese patent intermediary services with professional retrieval and data analysis functions, and support patent agencies to provide specialized and high-end patent information products to the public.
6. Exploring and building a professional title system and a merit system suited to industry development
Carry out studies on professional title rating of the patent commissioning industry, explore and build a professional title system and a merit system for the patent commissioning industry, create an incentive mechanism, optimize the structure of the team, and promote the healthy development of the patent commissioning industry pursuant to the requirements of the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy on strengthening the building of the team of intellectual property talents, the overall national planning for professional title system reform, and the need for building the team of patent commissioning talents.
7. Carrying out basic development studies of the patent commissioning industry
Establish a long-term mechanism, strengthen basic studies on the development of the patent commissioning industry, conduct a taxation survey of the patent commissioning industry, and put forward a proposal for taxation reform of the patent commissioning industry. Study the professional insurance systems and relevant provisions of industries related to our country’s intellectual property intermediary service system, and explore and build professional insurance systems for the patent commissioning industry.
VI. Policies and safeguard measures
Strengthen organizational leadership, unified planning and coordination, take effective measures to ensure that all tasks and specific work are done, and carry through the requirements on strategic measures to develop intellectual property intermediary services in the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy.
1. Developing working plans and supporting policies for implementing this Plan
Develop specific working plans, implementation opinions and supporting policies according to the development objectives, main tasks and specific work defined in this Plan, and define the department responsible to ensure all tasks and specific work are carried out.
2. Building a coordination mechanism for implementing this Plan
Establish an organizational coordination mechanism that directs the implementation of this Plan, and give full play to the initiative of local intellectual property bureaus, patent agents associations, patent agencies and agents to drive the implementation of this plan jointly.
3. Strengthening the necessary conditions for implementing this Plan
Intellectual property authorities at all levels shall increase the investment in the work related to patent commissioning. Patent commissioning organizations shall raise counterpart funds through many channels according to the tasks and specific work assigned by this Plan. Patent agencies shall be encouraged actively to secure funds required for the implementation of this Plan, and ensure the fulfillment of such tasks and specific work jointly.
Intellectual property authorities at all levels shall understand the significance of strengthening the work related to patent commissioning, and promoting the scientific development of the patent commissioning industry sufficiently, give priority to the implementation of the Development Plan of the Patent Commissioning Industry (2009-2015) and include it in the routine agenda, strengthen leadership, take effective measures and use human, material and financial resources to support the implementation of this Plan, and struggle for the development of intellectual property intermediary services, the realization of the goals defined in the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, the improvement of our country’s creation, utilization, protection and management capabilities of intellectual property rights, the building of an innovative country, and the realization of the grand goal of building a well-being society in all aspects!