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Frequent Asked Questions

We serve as a bridge connecting China's intellectual property services with the world, and we hope that you can find answers to your questions about Chinese intellectual property here.

If they are not listed on the website, please feel free to contact us directly to obtain answers or use the online chatbox to reach us for assistance.

  • What types of Patents in China can be protected?
    In China, there are three main types of patents: Invention Patents: These patents are granted for new and useful inventions or innovations in products or processes. Invention patents have a maximum term of 20 years from the date of filing and are subject to substantive examination to determine their novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. They provide the broadest protection and are often sought for significant technological advancements. Utility Model Patents: Utility model patents are granted for incremental and practical improvements to existing products or processes. They have a shorter term of protection, typically 10 years from the date of filing, and are generally easier to obtain than invention patents. Utility model patents do not undergo the same rigorous examination process as invention patents and are mainly assessed for novelty and industrial applicability. Design Patents: Design patents protect the ornamental or aesthetic design of a product, rather than its functionality. They are granted for the unique visual appearance or shape of a product and typically have a term of protection of 15 years from the date of filing. Design patents do not require an examination of novelty or inventiveness; instead, they focus on the originality and distinctive visual characteristics of the design. These three types of patents in China serve to protect different aspects of intellectual property and provide varying degrees of coverage and duration, depending on the nature of the innovation or design. It's important for inventors and businesses to understand the differences between these patent types and choose the one that best suits their needs to safeguard their intellectual property in China.
  • Do I need to be a Chinese citizen to apply for a patent in China?
    No, China allows both Chinese and non-Chinese individuals and entities to apply for patents.
  • Can I file a provisional patent application in China, similar to the United States?
    China does not have a provision for filing provisional patent applications like the United States. Applicants must submit a complete patent application from the outset.
  • What documentation do I need to prepare to apply a patent in China?
    When applying for a patent in China, you will need to prepare a set of documentation and materials to submit with your patent application. The specific requirements and forms may vary depending on the type of patent (invention, utility model, or design) and the nature of your invention or design. However, here is a general list of documentation and materials commonly required for a patent application in China: Application Form: You will need to complete and submit the appropriate application form provided by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). Description of the Invention or Design: This should include a detailed and clear description of your invention, utility model, or design. It should explain the technical aspects and how it works. Claims: Claims define the scope of protection for your invention. You should draft clear and concise claims that specify the unique and patentable aspects of your invention. Drawings or Diagrams: Provide detailed drawings, diagrams, or illustrations that help describe and visualize your invention or design. These should be of high quality and meet CNIPA's requirements. Abstract: Include a brief abstract summarizing the key features and advantages of your invention or design. Power of Attorney: If you are represented by a patent agent or attorney, you will need to provide a power of attorney authorizing them to act on your behalf. Priority Document: If you are claiming priority based on an earlier foreign application, you may need to provide a certified copy of the priority document. Foreign Language Documents: If your application is not in Chinese, you may need to provide a Chinese translation of the specification, claims, and abstract. Applicant Information: Include details about the applicant or applicants, such as their names, addresses, and nationality. If the applicant is a legal entity, provide its registration information. Inventor Information: Include the names and addresses of the inventors and their contributions to the invention or design. Declaration of Inventorship: Some types of patent applications may require a declaration of inventorship, stating that all inventors have been correctly identified. Assignment or Ownership Documents: If the applicant is not the inventor and has acquired the rights to the invention, you may need to provide documents to establish the applicant's ownership. Fees: Pay the required filing fees and any additional fees associated with the application.
  • How long does it take to obtain a Chinese patent?
    The time it takes to obtain a Chinese patent can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of patent (invention, utility model, or design), the complexity of the invention, and the backlog at the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). Generally, here's a rough timeline for each type of patent: Invention Patents: Invention patents typically take the longest to obtain in China. The process can take several years, often ranging from 3 to 5 years or more from the date of filing. This extended timeline is due to the thorough examination process, which includes assessing novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. Utility Model Patents: Utility model patents are usually granted more quickly than invention patents. On average, it may take 1 to 2 years or less to obtain a utility model patent. The examination process for utility model patents is generally faster and less stringent. Design Patents: Design patents tend to have a shorter processing time compared to invention patents. You can often expect to receive a decision on a design patent within 1 to 2 years from the filing date.
  • How many ways you could choose to register trademark in China?
    Two. Conventional and Madrid Protocol.
  • The trademark has been rejected. What should I do?
    We shall take over the work afterward. The rejection usually consists of two types of reason, Absolute and Relative (Similar marks) reasons. For the Absolute Reason of rejection, we can plea for the not violating the absolute reason. For the relative reason, we can manage different strategies toward the similar marks, including but not limited to filing the cancellation towards the cited marks, invalidate the cited marks and so on.
  • What is the process of a trademark registration in China?
    A foreign applicant shall entrust a trademark agency established in accordance with the law to handle trademark filing issues. Where a foreign company with no business domicile in China applies for registration of a trademark and deals with other trademark issues in China, it shall entrust a trademark agency established in accordance with the law to handle the affairs. The whole process of a trademark registration from filing to registration, can be found as following flowchart:
  • What are the next steps if someone file opposition towards my published trademark?
    During the 3 months of publication, anyone can file opposition towards published trademark upon absolute grounds or relative grounds. The chances of receiving an opposition in general are about 3% - 5%. So, here is the flowchart you could follow when your trademark has received opposition:
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