Can foreigners apply for patents in China?
For foreigners, foreign enterprises and other foreign organizations with permanent residence or registered office in China, they can enjoy the same treatment as Chinese citizens in regards to applying for patents and patent protection.
For foreigners, foreign enterprises and other foreign organizations without habitual residence or registered office in China, they may also apply for patents but they will have to meet one of the following 3 conditions:
1. Agreement concluded between the country to which the applicant belongs and China.
2. International treaty to which both countries are part of.
3. China and the country to which the applicant belongs are on the basis of the principle of reciprocity.
1. The applicant submits the application and required documents by hand delivery or online and and pay fees.
2. The CNIPA receives the application and conducts preliminary examination (applications for inventions need substantive examination).
To learn more about examination, please read this.
3. The CNIPA grants a patent if it meets the requirements of the Patent Law.
For foreigners, foreign enterprises and other foreign organizations with permanent residence or registered office in China, they can file applications directly with the China National Intellectual Property Office (CNIPA) by hand delivery or by post, or indirectly via the local Receiving Office. Applications can also be filed electronically via the government website of the Office.
For foreigners, foreign enterprises and other foreign organizations having no habitual residence or registered office in China, they should appoint a legally incorporated patent agency to act as its or his agent.
1. For invention, the request, the claims, the description, with accompanied drawings if appropriate, the abstract, and the drawing accompanying the abstract.
2. For utility model, the request, the claims, the description, with accompanied drawings, the abstract, and the drawing accompanying the abstract.
3. For design, the request, the pictures or photographs of the design, and brief explanation of the design.
Apart from certificates or evidence materials provided by foreign government departments or created in foreign countries, the patent application documents and other documents shall be in Chinese. Application documents written in foreign language shall be translated into Chinese.
The Chinese text of the patent application submitted by the applicant shall be taken as the basis of examination. The foreign language text of the application submitted by the applicant at the time of filling the application shall have no legal effect.
Filing fees and payment
The applicant shall pay the filing fee, the printing fee for the publication of the application and the necessary additional fee for filing an application within two months from the filing date or fifteen days from the date of receipt of the notification of acceptance of the application from the patent administration department under the State Council. Where the applicant claims priority, he or it shall pay the fee for claiming priority at the same time with the payment of the filing fee.
The fees may be paid directly to the patent administration department under the State Council or paid by way of bank or postal remittance or paid online as electronic application user.
The duration of the invention patent right is 20 years.
The duration of the utility model patent right and the design patent right is 10 years.
The time of examination
CNIPA will grant or reject the application according to the examination. The time of this process is:
3-6 months for design.
6-10 months for utility models.
2-4 years for invention.
Requests for reexamination and invalidation
Any applicant who is not satisfied with the Office's decision of rejecting his application may, within three months from the date of receipt of the notification, shall request the Patent Reexamination Board to make a reexamination. Any entity or individual who considers that the grant of a patent right is not in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Patent Law may request the Patent Reexamination Board to declare the patent right invalid.
The flow chart of examination on requests for reexamination and invalidation is as follows:
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