The State Intellectual Property Office of PRC (SIPO) issued a administrative regulation on 27 Aug which will become effective on 1 Oct 2007. As of today, I cannot find the English version on the official web. This is the highlight, with the original numbering:
2. Applicant or Patent Agent should not involved in abnormal patent application;
3. Abnormal patent application includes:
3.1 Same person or legal entity has submitted multiple patent applications with similar contents; or caused to submit multiple patent applications with similar contents.
3.2 Same person or legal entity has submitted multiple patent applications that copy prior arts; or cause to submit multiple patent applications that copy prior arts.
3.2 Patent agent that submit patent applications as described in 3.1 and 3.2.
4. SIPO may take action against abnormal patent application according to patent law and regulations, and may take additional action....
The Chinese version of this can be found here.
So what happen to incremental improvement to existing technology? On the good side, it protect existing technology, but on the other hand, it discourage small but useful invention. This may be working in line with the recent patent changes in US. However, the new regulation may have a damaging effect on the raise of annual growth of patent application in China, currently running at a rate of 20%+ per year. But like other regulation in China, we cannot only read the words, we really need to wait and see how SIPO exercise the right of this regulation.