The NC Times reports that China is to reform its patent laws in order to meet its WTO obligations. The proposals for amendment are due to be presented to the Chinese Parliament next year.
Although China's substantive IP laws are generally thought to meet its TRIPs obligations, enforcement is lax and there can be sizeable delays in obtaining patents because of a backlog in applications.
A Chinese patent
Thus, the following reforms may be on the cards:
- a simplification of patent application and examination procedures
- possible adoption of international standards in granting patents
- improvements to patent protection
- possible amendments to copyright and trade marks
- the introduction of specialist IP courts
- measures protecting China's biological and genetic resources, perhaps through requiring patent applicants to disclose the origin of the materials they use
The IPKat says that IP laws that are strong on paper are worth nothing if they're not backed by suitable enforcement measures. He hopes that China will be in a position to reform its laws in a way that benefits Chinese IPR holders and users, as well as foreign owners and users.