On 26 May 2023, the China National Intellectual Property Administration issued the “Guidelines for Determination of Abnormal Patent Application Behavior and After Determination” covering a range of issues including the generation of patent specifications using AI.
The Guidelines expressly state the following can constitute abnormal patent filing behaviour attracting remedies:
(i) Simultaneously or successively submitting multiple patent applications covering the invention-creation content, or essentially formed by a simple combination and change of different invention-creation features or elements.(ii) Filing an application that contains fabricated, forged or altered content inventions, experimental data or technical effects, or is simply a patchwork of existing technologies or existing designs, etc.(iii) Filing multiple patent applications generated by computer programs or other techniques.
As far as remedies are concerned, the Guidelines state that the Patent Office can initiate an investigation of abnormal patent filing behaviour, and issue a formal notice requiring the withdrawl of applications. Certain rights of appeal and review are set up under the Guidelines. Further, the Guidelines state that violations can lead to loss of funding or rewards, disciplinary action by professional bodies, and in serious cases, criminal sanctions can be imposed.
The actions of IP agencies in China continue to draw attention from regulators. This is potentially a good thing, as bad faith patent and trademark filing has led to market distortions, and dramatically increased the cost of doing business for rightful IP owners. The Guidelines have largely been welcomed by the patent profession.