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Processing of Patents Speeds up

China now faster than US, Europe but slightly lags Japan, South Korea

China's intellectual property authority is making an effort to shorten the examination time for patent applications. "Last year, the average examination time for a patent application in China was reduced to about 22 months, faster than the United States and the European Patent Office, and slightly slower than Japan and South Korea," said Shen Changyu, head of the State Intellectual Property Office, during a State Council news briefing.


The office aims to provide efficient examination services to applicants, Shen said. Examination on average took at least 25 months between 2006 and 2010. That was reduced to at least 22 months between 2011 and 2015 and then to no more than 22 months in 2016.


In the US, examination time is more than 25 months on average, and at the European Patent Office it's 26 months.


To shorten review time, the Chinese patent office has taken steps including increasing the number of patent examiners. The office "has 11,000 patent examiners - the biggest IP office in the world", Shen said. "This is how we have kept an efficient review system as the number of patent applications have grown rapidly."


The office has also adopted new models, such as collective review, to keep review time under control, Shen said.


Expedited handling is available for patent applications related to State interests and core technology. Those applications can be reviewed in eight months.


China had nearly 3.5 million patent applications last year, up by 23.8 percent year-on-year. Among them, patent applications for inventions increased by 21.5 percent year-on-year to 1.34 million.


The number of Chinese international patent applications filed under the World Intellectual Property Organization's Patent Cooperation Treaty reached 40,000 last year.

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