China updates intellectual property laws to cover blockchain, more

China continues to mold the blockchain and cryptocurrency spaces to ensure all facets under the umbrellas is legally covered. This will not only help the industry mature in a responsible manner, but will give businesses and other entities the confidence to introduce innovation on levels never before seen. With the latest updates, China’s Intellectual Property (IP) Office has now provided clearer definitions on what is, and what isn’t, covered under the country’s intellectual property and patent framework.

According to an official release from the IP office from the end of 2019, the new guidelines will become effective as of February 1. A new section has been added to the Patent Examination Guidelines that is designed to cover everything from big data to blockchains and from algorithms to artificial intelligence.

Specifically, the guidelines read, “If the claim relates to abstract algorithms or purely commercial rules and methods, and does not contain any technical features, then the claim belongs to the rules of intellectual activity stipulated in Article 25 (1) (b) of the Patent Law and The method should not be granted a patent… If the claim includes technical features in addition to algorithmic features or business rules and method features, the claim as a whole is not a rule and method of intellectual activity, then it should not be based on Article 25 of the Patent Law.”

Put simply, the IP Office emphasizes that an application for a patent for an invention that includes algorithmic features or business rules and methods may not be subject to patent protection. The key is the inclusion of those features through “technical means” to solve “technical problems.” In this case, patent protection may be warranted.

The new guidelines further explain, “The description of an invention patent application containing algorithmic features or business rules and method features should clearly and completely describe the solution adopted by the invention to solve its technical problems. On the basis of including technical features, the solution may further include algorithm features or business rules and method features that are functionally supportive of each other and have an interaction relationship with each other.”

China continues to embrace blockchain technology and its surrounding components at a hastened pace. Its non-stop adoption of new rules and regulations, while it continues to maintain its anti-cryptocurrency stance, seems to be a true indication that a state-backed digital currency launch is coming sooner, not later.

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