New Regulations for applications with the Chinese Patent Office (CNIPA)

On October 17, 2020, the government of the People‘s Republic of China approved the fourth amendment to the Chinese Patent law (CPL), which has far reaching consequences for the quality of patent applications at the Chinese Patent Office (CNIPA). Chinese Patent law covers design applications as well as patents, utility models and aspects of trademark law.

Most relevant amendments to the Chinese patent law concern the term of protection for designs (see our separate article on the new Chinese patent law here) as well as higher maximum charges for remuneration in cases of infringement and cases of the attempt to file an application without adhering to common standards of patent filing practice which do not comply with the expectations of the Chinese government.

In brief, the most relevant changes in force from June 1, 2021 are the following:

  • Scope of protection and term of protection for designs The term of protection for designs (design patents) is prolonged from ten to a maximum of 15 years from the date of filing (Art. 42 CPL). The definition of designs  CPL in Art. 2will also cover partial designs as long as they describe parts of products.
  • Chinese priority for designs Design applications filed at the CNIPA can from now on, according to article 29 CPL and art. 30 CPL take priority from other applications filed with the CNIPA, designs as well as patents or utility models.
  • Quality control Art. 3 CPL asks for stricter quality control of applications filed with the CNIPA, as incentives by the Chinese government to file applications had recently effectuated a considerable amount of applications of little quality, which hindered the fair and free exchange of ideas for technical innovations.
  • Prolongation of protection in case of delayed examination
  • Higher compensation and disclosure requirement for defendants Maximum compensation for patent infringement is increased from 1 to 5 million RMB (630.000 Euro); in addition to that, significant punitive damages will be introduced. Defendants will have to face disclosure requirement for the estimation of damage calculation and the production of necessary proof if asked to by the court. Limitation period for claims for damages is increased to three years, in accordance with Chinese civil law.
  • Grace period The newly amended Chinese Patent Law introduces in art. 24 CPL a grace period of  six months. This amendment was introduced with respect to recent events in reaction to the global pandemic COVID-19.

In case of more than four years from the filing date or three years from the request for substantive examination compensation by way of prolongation of the term of protection will be possible. However, this will only be possible on request and for patents only.

Also visit the following link: