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Chinese patent

Introduction to Chinese Patent

Like trademark practice, China adopts the first-to-file system for patent applications. In China, there are three types of patents: invention patent, utility model patent and design patents. The duration of patent right for invention is twenty years while the duration of patent right for utility models or for designs is only ten years, all calculated from the date of filing. The examination procedures are different for these three types of Chinese patents. Generally speaking, the invention patent application will go through these complex procedures, such as preliminary examination, publication, substantive examination during which some office actions will incur and finally granting patent rights for the invention patent. When substantive examination is involved, generally speaking, in practice, it takes at least two or three years from filing the invention patent application till obtaining the patent certificate. While, no publication or substantive examination is required for Chinese utility model or design patent applications which will only subject to those simple procedures such as filing acceptance, preliminary examination and then finally granting the patent rights to them. So generally speaking, in practice, the whole procedures from filing application till obtaining Chinese utility model or design patent certificates can be even shortened to about one year and sometimes even shorter to about 4-6 months.


When filing patent applications in China, the applicant may claim the right of priority in accordance with the Paris Convention or on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition of the priority. The priority term for invention or utility model patent is twelve months, and is only six months for design from the date when the invention, utility model or design patents are filed in the member states of the Paris Convention. So the deadline for filing an invention or utility model patent applications in China claiming foreign priority under the Paris Convention is 12 months and six months for design applications from the first foreign filing in the Paris Convention member states. If it is a Chinese national phase entry based on the PCT application, then the deadline for filing in China is 30 months from the earliest priority date. If this 30-month deadline is missed, there is a two-month grace period which can be requested by paying additional official fees.


If the applicant is a foreign individual or entity, then they must engage a Chinese patent agency as their agent for filing patent applications in China. In addition, all application documents in foreign language must be first translated into Chinese when filing in China, so the application document in any foreign languages is not acceptable or the first filing the application documents in foreign languagte and then late submission of their respective Chinese translation after filing is not acceptable either.


Documents/Information Required for Filing Patent Application in China

A foreign patent application can be filed in China either through the Paris Convention route or PCT route and there is some slight difference under these routes in terms of required documents.


(I). Under Paris Convention Route


When filing an invention, utility model or design patent application under the Paris Convention Route, the following information and documents are required:


  1. Instruction letter of the Client which shall attach following information:
       (a) Type of the patent for application, an invention, utility model or design application;
       (b) Title of the invention, utility model or design;
       (c) Name, address and nationality of the applicant and the inventor; 
       (d) The application date, number and country when foreign priority is claimed;
       (e) Indication whether the substantive examination shall be simultaneously requested or not if it is an invention application; and
       (f) A brief description on the use of the products if it is a design patent application

  2. Application Documents which shall contain

    1. the Abstract, Abstract Drawing, Claims, Descriptions and Drawings of the Descriptions for invention or utility model patent application; and
    2.  the Drawings/photos of the product incorporated with the design (commonly, the seven views such as front view, back view, top view, bottom view, left view, right view and stereogram) for design patent application. In case of drawing, it shall not contain any shade lines and/or dotted lines.
  3. Power of Attorney duly signed by the Applicant. A scanned photocopy of the duly signed Power of Attorney is sufficient for filing the application and it is not subject to any notarization or consularization;
  4. Certified Priority Document when the foreign priority is claimed. The certified priority document may be submitted  within three months after filing; and
  5. Assignment duly signed if the applicant of the priority application is different from the applicant of the Chinese application.


(II).  Under PCT Route


If it is a PCT application, the certified priority document and assignment will not be required. Moreover, as all the necessary information and international publication document of the PCT application will be published on the PCT database of WIPO’s website, we do not need client sending us the bulky filing documents via courier or email since we can download all the necessary information and filing documents such as the Abstract, Abstract Drawing, Claims, Descriptions and Drawings of the Descriptions, etc. from PCT database, so for PCT application to enter into Chinese national phase, we will only need client providing us


(1)PCT application number; and

(2)Power of Attorney duly signed by all applicants.



Estimated Cost for Filing Chinese Patent

Regarding the respective official fee and attorney fee for filing patent applications in China, please kindly click here for the Schedule of Minimum Charges for Chinese Patent stipulated by the All-China Patent Agents Association. Generally speaking, we offer 30% discount of the said Schedule of Charges for our service fees. The client is also encouraged to consult with us on the exact cost for the specific application by email: