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From 1 August 2012 onwards, "Administrative Measures on Prioritized Examination of Patent Applications" will allow for a speedier examination of Chinese invention patent applications upon request by the applicant. Prioritised examination will be possible for applications in technological areas like energy conservation, environmental protection, new materials or new energy vehicles.
Once the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) grants a request for prioritised application, a first office action will be issued within 30 days. The applicant should reply within two months. According to the Measures, SIPO will complete prioritised examinations within one year.
The "Administrative Measures on Prioritized Examination of Patent Applications" (issued on 19 June 2012) can be accessed on SIPO's website. Further information is available in a press release (both currently in Chinese only).