On May 7, 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issued the Provisions Concerning the Participation of Technical Investigators in the Handling of Cases of Administrative Adjudications Involving Infringement Disputes over Patent and Layout Design of Integrated Circuit (Interim). Issuance of these provisions follows the Supreme People’s Court’s regulation on technical investigators for IP-related litigations and reflects the CNIPA’s determination to encourage the use of administrative recourse even in complex patent disputes. Some noteworthy articles include the following:
- The CNIPA and the local administrative patent departments may assign technical investigators to participate in administrative review of patents and integrated circuit layout design infringement disputes (Article 2).
- The CNIPA is responsible for building a database of national technical investigators and selecting and managing the technical investigators. The local administrative patent departments may select and manage the technical investigators in their own jurisdictions (Article 4).
- Duties performed by the technical investigators in administrative adjudications include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) putting forward suggestions on key issues of the technical facts and the scope, order, and methods of investigation; (2) participating in investigation and evidence collection; (3) participating in questioning and oral hearings; (4) providing technical survey opinions; (5) assisting the handling examiners with arranging appraisers and professionals in the relevant technical fields to provide opinions; and (6) attending relevant meetings of the collegiate panel as nonvoting delegates. (Article 7).
- The opinions of technical investigators shall be used as a reference for the collegiate panel to determine technical facts. The collegiate panel shall be solely responsible for the determination of technical facts (Article 11).