In recent years, patent filing in China has increased significantly with companies and law firms recognizing the budding potential of the market.
Caroline Chenique and Justin Simpson of RWS presented a webinar hosted by WIPR and shared their top tips on patent filings in China. Simpson and Chenique considered different ways that those looking to obtain a patent in China should consider, including the utility model system, as well as a traditional invention patent. A unitary model patent covers the shape or structure of a device, has a ten-year term and does not require substantive examination. There were over 1 million Chinese applications for a utility patent in 2015, compared to just 8,000 foreign-based bids, showing that many prefer this method of obtaining a patent in China.
Simpson said “I think one of the important advantages is that the inventive requirements are lower and as a result of that [the patents] are difficult to invalidate. Chinese applicants have been filing many, and people should think if it is worth filing a utility model patent as well as a technological patent.”
Using enforcement options, including local administrative bodies that have the ability to impose fines and injunctions, is a process that Simpson suggested could be quicker than going through the courts.
Applicants have two opportunities to amend applications, firstly when requesting examination and secondly within three months of receiving notification that examination has started. Chenique emphasized the importance of patent translation issues, stating that a professional patent translator and robust quality control measures are important for successful applications.