Zhejiang will start to implement newly revised regulations on patent protection on the first day of 2016, bringing in the "most stringent" protection efforts in the province's history, local intellectual property authorities said.
The current patent regulations were approved in 1998 by the ninth Standing Committee of the Zhejiang People's Congress, and amended in both 2005 and 2011. It still "obviously lags behind" the national patent law, said Jiang Taiwei, a member of the standing committee.
Amendment of the latest version started in 2012 and is based on the actual needs of local patent protection. Provincial IP Office Director Zhou Guohui said at a news conference on Dec 14 that the new patent regulations added 27 entries for a total of 52 entries in six chapters, and also revised 25 entries.
Highlights of the new version include regulations on enhancing e-commerce IP protection, increasing profits of patent inventors and improving administrative enforcement capabilities.
Zhou said Zhejiang, as a coastal province with an advanced e-commerce industry, has witnessed an increasing number of patent infringements in the sector in recent years, which has become one of the biggest challenges in local IP protection.
The new regulations will enhance technological support for the supervision and law enforcement for e-businesses and specify several responsibilities and obligations for e-commerce platforms. In addition, online shopping portals that maliciously violate patent regulations will be included on a credit blacklist.
Zhou said the province is planning to set up a national e-business protection and negotiation center, aiming to integrate IP enforcement nationwide to deal with disputes.
Zhejiang has long been a pioneer in patent protection in the e-commerce sector. Last year it launched the country's first guidance on e-commerce patent protection.
From January to November, the province handled 56,000 online IP disputes and closed 28,000 links of websites and commercial goods. It also sent 610 law enforcement officers to work at the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which is headquartered in the provincial capital of Hangzhou to help fight against counterfeit goods and infringements.
The latest regulations will also decentralize the rights of patent transformation to local universities and research institutes rather than government agencies such as the education bureau and science and technology department.
They state that universities and research institutes should give at least 60 percent of the profits of any commercialized patent to the inventor to stimulate their enthusiasm for innovation.
In 2014, Zhejiang's intellectual property development comprehensive index and patent comprehensive strength both ranked fourth in China, according to the State Intellectual Property Office.
SIPO received 261,000 patent applications from the province and granted 188,000 patents last year.
Some 247,000 patent applications from Zhejiang were filed with SIPO during the first 10 months of this year, up nearly 17 percent from the same period last year.