Are Patterns made differently?
Can this coin be positively ruled out as pattern?
Tkcoin has point: if counterfeit, should have seen others of these. No make much sense to make only one or few.
1. Yes, for every one I have ever seen or heard of, although I am not an expert in patterns, and I do not collect them.
2. Yes and no. Yes (99.9% certainty) as a coin pattern. No, as a production technique experimental "process pattern". Since the method used to make the die for this coin is not normally high enough quality for major government mints, and even most competent private mints, I think it is unlikely to be a product of the China mint.
3. Yes. I hope we can find them and document them in the CC so we can figure out where they are, and where they came from. Most importantly, any dealer of minimal quality guarantees the authenticity of his coins for a lifetime. When a customer makes a credible claim that the coin he bought is actually a fake, the dealer will refund the client, and then pursue his supplier. Every dealer doing that all the way back to the origin will put a spotlight on the shady dealers injecting fakes into the market, and they will no longer be acceptable as business partners for the reputable dealers. The overall effect will be to drive out forgeries, and suspicious coins that have no known reputable origin. The CC may even be able to plot a location trail that circles around the facility that produced them. If so, then the data can be used to forcibly shut down the counterfeiters.