Many dogs will catch the rabbit


Fabio Giacopello

While proving patent infringement in China can be difficult, there are many avenues for patentees to explore, as Fabio Giacopello explains.

In 2011, more than 1.5 million patents were filed with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the Chinese patent office. Notably, 526,412 invention patent applications were filed compared to 503,582 utility patent applications in the US.

This large quantity of patents is the result of policies which have granted tax discounts and incentives to companies that file them. While true innovation is still developing slowly, the policies which have positively influenced the production of patents can often have an effect on creative content.

Concerns are spreading among industrial companies operating within the territory that patents can be taken down from the shelf and aggressively enforced to defend against litigations initiated abroad (Chint v Schneider) or to extort easy money, in a similar way to trademark squatting cases. In September 2012, SIPO published draft amendments to patent law aimed at strengthening the enforcement of patents. This article explains the basic steps to take if someone attacks based on a Chinese patent.

patent infringement, SIPO, Chint v Schneider, patent lawsuits