A “Famine” of Patent Agent in China

Issue 31 Planned by Zhou Yi, Doris Li and Li Wei,[Patent]

On June 3 2009 – the first anniversary of the promulgation of the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy, SIPO announced its Development Plan for Patent Agency Service from 2009 to 2015, describing the current status and development plan for China’s patent representation business. This Plan is eye-catching because of the establishment of guidelines for patent representation service and the setup of the management platform of credible patent representation information. However, what stands out in particular is a group of figures “about 6,000 patent attorneys in practice, and about 17,000 attorneys in total”; and “10,000 patent attorneys in practice by 2015.”

According to the SIPO statistics, applications of three patent models both in China and abroad totaled nearly 830,000 in 2008. However, in the first half of 2009, the number had reached 420,000. By simple calculation, one attorney has to deal with 138 applications yearly on average which means 2.7 applications a week!

This estimate manifests a big shortage of patent attorneys in China. It is not only a theoretical figure, but more a practical problem.

What is the exact shortage of patent attorneys in China? Will the 10,000 target meet the demand of the ever-developing market?


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