Implementation of new IP standards

Two new standards concerning IP documentation and information, which were prepared by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and promulgated by the State Quality and Quarantine Supervision and the Standardisation Administration Committee, came into force on 1st June 2008.

The IP Documentation and Information – Essential Vocabulary Standard (GB/T 21374-2008) confirms, in non-legal language, the terms frequently used in regard to intellectual property. It is designed to resolve problems associated with inconsistencies in the use of IP terms.

The essential vocabulary sets out a unified expression for 105 terms in both English and Chinese, each followed with a standard Chinese explanation. This includes terms such as ‘domain name’, ‘priority’, ‘geographical indication’, ‘prior art’ and ‘embodiment’.

It is hoped that the standard will not only help users to have a better understanding of IP documentation information, but also promote and facilitate communication.

The second new standard is the Intellectual Property Documentation and Information – Classification and Codes Standard (GB/T 21373-2008). Each piece of IP documentation is assigned a six-digit code (eg, AB CD EF). AB is a number from 01 to 05 representing the five main IP categories: 

  • general; 
  • patent; 
  • trademark; 
  • copyright; and 
  • others.

Each main category is sub-divided into different groups (CD), which are further divided into divisions (EF). Thus, for example, documentation on patent administrative litigation is represented by 02 04 05 (ie, 02 for patents and 02 04 for patent examination and approval), whereas documentation on trademark application is represented by 03 04 01 (ie, 03 for trademarks and 03 04 for trademark registration).

This standard should help to build up an effective IP database, thus facilitating the processing, handling, exchange and use of IP documentation and information, which is vital for the rapid development of the Chinese IP industry..

It has taken the relevant authorities six years to compile these standards. However, the standards are only recommended, rather than compulsory, and no penalties apply for failure to comply with them.


This is an insight article whose content has not been commissioned or written by the IAM editorial team, but which has been proofed and edited to run in accordance with the IAM style guide.

Get unlimited access to all IAM content