In a recent decision of the Chinese Patent Re-Examination Board, a Chinese patent for an invention made in China was invalidated due to the Chinese patent holder filing a corresponding patent application outside of China, without first having obtained a foreign filing license (hereon "FFL"). The decision was based clearly on current Chinese Law, and is apparently the first decision of its kind in China.

An instant, almost knee jerk reaction to this decision could be that it is yet one more example of the Big Brother State inserting itself into places where it's not wanted. However, you would then have to say the same things about the US, or India (the largest democracy in the world), or various European countries, among others.

Without going into the specifics of the Chinese decision, it did remind me of a question that we were asked a number of years ago.

The question involved a hypothetical situation in which an invention was made jointly by Israeli and American engineers. Specifically, we were asked, "what would be required to obtain an Israeli FFL so that a patent application for the invention could be filed in the United States?"


Originally published May 2022

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