On January 28, 2022, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) released the Administrative Measures for the Credit Evaluation of Patent Agents (for Trial Implementation) (专利代理信用评价管理办法(试行)), which will grade Chinese patent agencies and agents. Grades will be based on per capita agency volume of patent filings and filing of abnormal patent applications with bonus points for reporting wrongdoing. The trial is being piloted in Hebei Province, Jiangsu Province, Hunan Province, and Sichuan Province.
CNIPA has divided the credit rating of patent agencies and patent agents into four grades in descending order, namely “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”. The full score is 100 points, with deductions based on negative information. Negative information includes irregular operation or practice, abnormal operation of the institution, administrative or criminal punishment, industry punishment, etc. The grading standards are as follows:
(1) Grade A- more than 90 points (inclusive) and less than 100 points (inclusive);
(2) Grade B – more than 80 credit points (inclusive) but less than 90 points;
(3) Grade C – more than 60 points (inclusive) but less than 80 points;
(4) Grade D – less than 60 points.
These scores for both patent agencies and agents will be public. Those with a Grade of D will be punished.
If the per capita agency volume of practicing agents in an agency continues to significantly exceed the average level and it cannot provide a legitimate reason, 10 points will be deducted at one time. If it is determined that an agent of the agency filed an abnormal patent application, but has not been otherwise punished, 1 point will be deducted for each case, with a maximum deduction of 20 points.
If the average annual volume of a licensed agent is significantly higher than the average level, and no valid reasons can be given, 10 points will be deducted at one time. If it is determined that the agent file an abnormal patent application, but has not been punished, 1 point will be deducted for each case, with a maximum deduction of 20 points.
Points can be added for reporting wrongdoing in the industry.
The full point system is reproduced below. The full text of the trial program is available here (Chinese only). The trial program does not apply to foreign patent firms that have opened representative offices in China.
Criteria for grading patent agencies
Criteria for grading patent agents.
© 2022 Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, P.A. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 30