China’s Intellectual Property Office Introduces Electronic Filing of International Patent Applications
May 1, 2007
The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) became on May 1, 2007, the most recent office to introduce software that enables electronic filing of international patent applications under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the cornerstone of the international patent system which offers a rapid, flexible and cost-effective way to obtain patent protection in up to 137 countries.
This software, known as PCT-SAFE (“Secure Applications Filed Electronically”), has been available to PCT users for some time in a number of other intellectual property offices, including Australia, Denmark, the European Patent Office (EPO), Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Companies and inventors seeking patent protection in multiple countries have been able to electronically file their international application under the PCT with WIPO as receiving office since February 2004. Further details of PCT-SAFE are available at www.wipo.int/pct-safe.
The integration of PCT-SAFE into the operations of SIPO will enable Chinese applicants to prepare and file PCT applications in electronic format. This will generate operational efficiencies by significantly reducing the need to handle paper and by eliminating the use of traditional mail for filing. Applicants will also enjoy significant benefits, including:
Fee reductions in certain cases (please see fee schedule at https://www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/);
Reduced printing, copying and mailing costs of applications;
Almost immediate notification that their application has been received and is being processed;
Secure transmission of international applications.
PCT filings originating from China grew by 56.8% from 2005 to 2006, making China the 8th largest country of origin for PCT filings. In addition, according to the WIPO World Patent Report 2006 (https://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/), China has become the 4th largest patent office in the world (by number of patent applications filed) and patent filings by Chinese residents grew more than five-fold between 1995 and 2004 to reach 65,786. The Report also pointed out that five patent offices account for 75% of all patents filed and 74% of patents granted worldwide. These are the United States of America (USA), Japan, Republic of Korea, China and the European Patent Office (EPO).
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