China's Patent Development and Protection

Revised patent law boosts innovation and development

Updated: Jun 11, 2021 China IP News Print
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The revised patent law took effect on June 1, 2021.

Why was the law amended?

Since the Chinese Patent Law went into effect on April 1, 1985, it has been amended four times, playing an important role in inspiring innovation. Evolving changes in the society throw new challenges at the patent law, such as low commercialization rate and restricted access to discovery and high cost in enforcing rights.

The revised patent law taking effect on June 1, 2021 aims to solve these nagging problems once for all, being of great significance in protecting legitimate interests of right holders, boosting innovators' confidence in patent protection and fully inspiring innovation in society.

What are the relevant measures to further strengthen IP protection?

In a bid to enhance protection over the legitimate interests of patent holders, the amendment has adopted a punitive damage system, allowing courts to award damages up to five times over the right holders' losses, or infringers' profits or reasonable patent royalties for malicious infringement. The upper limit of statutory damages is driven up to 5 million yuan and the lower limit to 30,000 yuan. The significant increase of the infringement cost reflects China's attitude and determination to enhance IP protection.

What are the changes on promoting patent commercialization and use?

An open license system, a service invention system and public services of patent information are added to promote patent commercialization, realize the value of patents and support innovation and development of the real economy. The open license system is an important legal system to promote the commercialization and implementation of patents, the core of which is to encourage the patentee to open the patent right to the society, promote the connection between supply and demand and patent implementation. The amended law installs provisions of the elements of open license statement and its being effective in an attempt to solve information asymmetry problems sourced from patent supply and demand parties and improve patent commercialization efficiency.

What are the changes on improving the design system?

Partial designs have become an important type of product designs. With an increasing number of Chinese companies are venturing out and more adept at designing, they have an actual need for acquiring protection for partial designs at oversea markets. Protection of partial designs aligns with such need and international practice, enabling Chinese companies to maneuver under different legislations, further expand global markets and position themselves better for competition.

The protection term of design patents is extended to 15 years, meeting innovators' diversified needs on protection term and paving way for China's accession to The Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. In addition, domestic priority is available for design patents. If a design application of the same subject is filed within six months from the date on which the initial application was filed, the applicant may claim priority of the initial application, thus lowering filing costs.

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