The trade deal signed this week between the US and China is interesting from an Intellectual Property perspective. The agreement is intended to strengthen IP protection in China, by bringing Chinese standards into line with those already present in the US.

Key points include;


China shall;

  • Permit pharmaceutical patent applicants to rely on supplemental data to satisfy relevant requirements for patentability (e.g. sufficiency and inventive step),
  • implement a system for notifying pharmaceutical innovators that generic companies are relying on data used in innovators’ marketing approvals,
  • introduce patent term extensions for pharmaceutical patents which are delayed by more than 4 years from filing, more than 3 years from the start of examination, or by slow marketing authorization.
Trade Secrets

China shall;

  • Ensure that all natural or legal persons can be liable for trade secret misappropriation,
  • shift the burden of proof to the accused party to show that it did not misappropriate a trade secret once a holder of a trade secret produces appropriate evidence,
  • eliminate any requirement that the holder of a trade secret establish actual losses as a prerequisite to a criminal investigation for misappropriation of a trade secret.

Other areas of interest relate to:

  • Piracy and Counterfeiting on E-Commerce Platforms
  • Safeguarding Geographical Indications
  • Preventing bad faith trade marks

It remains to be seen how these commitments will be implemented in China’s Action Plan. Presumably, certain features of the deal, such as patent term extensions, are also US priorities for any trade deal with the UK.


Nick Bennett

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