China Becomes Second BRIC to Embrace Green Patents as SIPO Launches Fast Track

The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China recently enacted a prioritized examination program for invention patent applications directed to a number of technology areas, including several categories of green technologies (see the translated program administrative measures here).

The new fast track, which launched August 1st, is open to applications directed to energy saving and environmental protection inventions, new energy technologies, new energy vehicles, as well as low-carbon and resource-saving technologies helpful for green development.

Eligible non-green technology categories include new generation IT, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, and other inventions signficant to the national or public interest. 

Unfortunately, the submission requirements seem a bit opaque.  To be accepted into the program, an applicant must submit a Request for Prioritized Examination, which has to be approved by a provinicial or regional Chinese IP office.  This Inovia article indicates that the requirements for such a Request may vary by region.

The applicant must also submit a satisfactory search report, or, if relying on another country’s national IP office search and examination result, a Chinese translation of the search report and examination result.

SIPO will issue a first office action within 30 working days from the date the Request for Prioritized Examination is approved.

As I predicted in a previous post, it looks like China has now joined Brazil in reaching an inflection point in its attitude toward green patents. 

China was one of the large group of emerging markets and developing countries that proposed policies to weaken or eliminate rights in green technology patents but now seems to be embracing them, perhaps due to the rise of Chinese clean tech champions such as Suntech and Trina in solar and Goldwind and Sinovel in wind.


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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.