Types of Patent

There are three kinds of intellectual property rights in China, including patents, trademarks and copyright. Patents are composed of "patents for invention", "patents for utility model" and "patents for design".

The statutory protection term for "a patent for invention" is 20 years from the filing date in China, while the term for "a patent for utility model" and "a patent for design" is 10 years from the filing date in China respectively.

Patents for invention are substantively examined (novelty, an inventive step and industrial applicability).

Patents for utility model do not undergo a substantive examination but only a preliminary examination (compliance with formal requirements). However, in invalidation procedures, the requirements of novelty, an inventive step and industrial applicability will be determined.

The average examination time in China in 2009 was 25.8 months for invention patents, 5.8 months for utility models and 5.5 months for designs (counted from the filing date).

Examination for an invention patent is only started upon explicit request by the applicant (deferred examination). In China, the applicant has to file this request for examination within three years from the application date.

Any document submitted under the Chinese Patent Law and its Implementing Regulations must be in Chinese. For PCT applications, the document can be filed in either Chinese or English. However, a Chinese translation of the application has to be submitted within 30 (or 32) months from the priority date.
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