Chinese Patent Documents to Add to PCT Minimum Documentation 

During the annual assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held recently in Geneva of Switzerland, the proposed amendment of Rule 34 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Regulations was unanimously approved at the assembly of the PCT Union, thereby endorsing the addition of patent documents of China to PCT minimum documentation, to be effective from 1 July 2012.

PCT minimum documentation refers to the minimum requirement for a patent collection used in carrying out international searches of prior art documents to determine the novelty and inventivity of patent applications submitted through the PCT system. It includes both patent documents and non-patent literature, which are defined in the regulations under the PCT, but open to revision as WIPO deems necessary. 

The incorporation of Chinese patent documents into PCT minimum documentation reflects that Chinese patent documentation has become an important component of the global prior art, with its significant expansion accompanying the consistent, rapid growth of patenting activities in the country during recent years.

As of the end of August 2011, patent documents relating to the three kinds of patents (invention, utility model and design) amounted to 6.65 million, and are expected to continue to rise by an annual increment of hundreds of thousands in number.