Following two and a half years since the fourth Amendments to the Patent Law came into effect in June 2021, the following regulations including:
have been updated and released at the end of 2023 and will come into effect on January 20, 2024. We’ve summarized the key points of the amendments (Amendments 2024) and their impact on the practice and business.
Requirements for partial design patent
A partial design has been patentable since June 2021, and the Amendments 2024 further specify the requirement for partial design filings:
International design application
China joined Hague System since May of 2022, and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) is the receiving Office of international design applications. The Amendments 2024 specify the details of the provisions about international design applications.
Examiners will be empowered to initiate an obviousness examination at their discretion for design patents filed on or after the same day, which is a further requirement for granting design patents after the introduction of obvious novelty examination in a few years ago. Previously a design patent would be granted primarily based on formality examinations and obvious novelty examinations. This indicates a trend towards stricter criteria for granting design patents. The purpose of this change is to address the issue of bad faith patent filings, which include a significant number of design patents.
A deferred examination has been an option for Chinese designers, and the deferral period can be chosen for a duration from 1 to 36 months. Before the Amendments 2024, the deferral period can only be selected from three choices of 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months. This option provides more flexibility for designers to extend the pendency of their design patents on a monthly base to align with their specific business requirement.
A design patent can claim priority to three types of patents, invention, utility model, and design. A domestic priority design will be considered as withdrawn upon being claimed, while the priority invention and utility model patents will not be affected. The priority period for any type of patents being claimed as priority for a design patent is 6 months