Design applications in China from June 1, 2021 onwards

From June 1, 2021 onwards, design applications in China will be subject to the new Chinese patent law. From this date onwards, design applications at the Chinese Patent Office will also be possible for parts of designs. This new possibility is one of the most important aspects of the newly reformed Chinese patent law, as it harmonizes Chinese design regulations with European and US design law as well as the international practice of design registrations.

Protection of parts of designs was up to now, unlike the usual international practice, not possible. In the past, Chinese patent law only allowed the registration of designs as whole entities in connection with usable and purchasable products. The current reform of the Chinese patent law with regard to design applications is hence a most welcome harmonization with European and international standards. It remains to be seen if drawings according to these standards will be equally accepted by the CNIPA.

Another important novelty in view of the international protection of designs is the fact that the term of protection is prolonged from previously 10 to now 15 years. Which is, of course, most welcome but still 10 years less than the maximum protection of designs at the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

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