China Customs has had its new online intellectual property
protection system (New Recordal System) up and running since 1
March 2014. The New Recordal System, which can be accessed at http://220.127.116.11/, has been developed
– based on the existing online recordal system (Old Recordal
System) – with a view to achieving better reliability and
information accuracy of the trademark, patent and copyright
recordal records of the Customs of the People's Republic of
Under the New Recordal System, all Customs recordal
applications, renewals, cancellations, changes to particulars,
changes of agent, etc. can be completed online, making it a true
paperless system. In the past, the system was primarily
paper-based; for example, for a fresh recordal application, an IPR
owner had to complete the recordal application online, print and
sign the application form and submit it together with a signed
Power of Attorney, the contact person's ID copy (with his or
her signature thereon) and documentary proof of payment of the
application fee to the General Administration of Customs (GAC) in
Beijing for processing. Paper filings were also required to make
changes to the online account details, IPR owner's particulars
or contact information.
Hardcopy applications were often piled up on officials'
desks, making it extremely difficult for applicants to check on the
status of their applications. Furthermore, it was hardly possible
for GAC officials to respond in a timely manner to any telephone or
email enquiries due to their heavy workload.
With the new system in place, it is expected that the filing
logistics will be much simplified and expedited. IPR owners can now
easily maintain, modify or update their recordals themselves
through the click of a mouse. An automated paperless system should
also help reduce risks of human error and delay.
The transition from the old to the new system took place between
17 and 28 February 2014, during which time China Customs suspended
operation of the Old Recordal System and refused to accept new
Existing account holders under the Old Recordal System can
continue to use their original login IDs and passwords to access
the New Recordal System. If an IPR owner has registered an account
through the old system without having completed the paper filing
and payment, they will need to register a new account and re-file
under the New Recordal System.
It is particularly noteworthy that the New Recordal System
requires patent owners to submit documentary proof of patent
annuities payment to ensure that the relevant patents recorded with
Customs remain valid and are duly entitled to Customs protection.
For patents recorded prior to 31 January 2013, patent owners are
required to submit documentary proof in support of the patents'
validity on or before 31 May 2014; and for patents recorded between
1 February 2013 and 17 February 2014, patent owners must file the
necessary proof no later than 31 December 2014. If a patent owner
fails to comply with this requirement prior to the prescribed
deadline, their existing Customs recordal will be terminated but
they will still have a right to restore the said recordal upon
provision of the required document(s) within the original recordal
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