The government will use big data technology to keep a close eye on online infringements and provide "stringent protection" of patents, according to a new policy released last week.
The State Intellectual Property Office announced the policy on Oct 30, echoing the central government's determination to create an innovation-friendly environment and improve intellectual property protection.
"The authorities will make full use of big data technology to locate infringement clues and inform concerned rights owners, so they can seek judicial or administrative protection," He Hua, deputy commissioner of SIPO, said at a news conference last Wednesday.
"If we find a clue leading to patent infringement in a product in a sales channel, we will uncover its producer," he said.
"The implementation of the policy reflects the government's regulatory role and helps to protect the legitimate interests of rights owners," he added.
Regulatory authorities need to adapt their monitoring to emerging business models and technological progress, according to the policy.
E-commerce, which has seen a growing number of IP infringements in recent years, will be a focus of the regulation, He said.
While IP regulatory authorities across the country investigated 7,600 patent disputes in the e-commerce sector in 2015, a sharp increase from a year earlier, online infringements are seeing maintained momentum, said Lei Xiaoxun, director-general of the patent administration department at SIPO.
Online trading platform operators will face clearer regulations concerning IP protection and are thus encouraged to improve their internal workings of dealing with complaints against counterfeiting, the policy stated.
"We will enhance cooperation with e-commerce portals around counterfeit and piracy risk control, and the discovery of clues about illegal businesses," Lei said.
"We will improve patent enforcement targeted at cross-border e-commerce and promote the integration of domestic and transnational regulation (of online trade)," she said.
Deputy Commissioner He said the authorities might consider streamlined procedures for handling repeated infringements on the same patent to improve efficiency.
More than 10 IP centers are operating around the country for swift authorization and enforcement, he said.
It takes such a center one week to 10 days to grant an industrial design patent, much faster than a couple of months under normal procedures.
In addition, the policy touches on the tricky issue of evidence collection, He noted, adding that it encourages rights owners to explore notary services for evidence preservation.
To ease the burden on rights owners, administrative agencies need to conduct the investigation and collect evidence upon accepting a patent infringement complaint, according to the policy.
Companies and people that reject the investigation will be included on the blacklist in a public credit reference system, He said.
"The new policy aims to address the specific issues that concern the public and is conducive to an innovative mechanism for patent protection," he said.
"We will increase crackdowns on patented technology counterfeits, especially in such sectors as food, pharmaceuticals, environmental protection and production safety," He explained.
Key sectors for patent protection also include the internet, exhibitions and foreign trade, according to SIPO.
Administrative enforcement officials handled more than 87,000 patent disputes during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15), a nearly tenfold increase from five years earlier.
In 2015 alone, the number of administrative investigations into patent disputes grew 46.4 percent year-on-year to 35,800.