5 Must-Know Tips for Successfully Applying for a Design Patent in China


In today’s competitive market, protecting your intellectual property is crucial. When it comes to design patents in China, you should remember a few key things to ensure a smooth application process and the protection of your design. In this article, we’ll discuss five critical factors to consider when applying for a design patent in China, from understanding the basics of design patents to tips for a successful application.


1. Understanding Design Patents

What is a design patent?

A design patent is a form of intellectual property protection covering a product’s unique appearance, shape, or configuration. Unlike utility patents that protect the functional aspects of an invention, design patents safeguard the aesthetic elements of a product or its packaging.

Design patent vs. utility patent

While design patents protect the appearance of a product, utility patents protect an invention’s functional aspects and technical innovations. Utility patents usually have a more extended protection period, but design patents can be obtained more quickly and are typically easier to enforce.



2. Eligibility Criteria for Design Patents

Novelty and originality

To be eligible for a design patent in China, your design must be both novel and original. This means it should not have been publicly disclosed or used before and must significantly differ from existing designs.

Visual appeal

A key factor in obtaining a design patent is the visual appeal of your design. The product’s appearance should be aesthetically pleasing and capable of attracting consumers. Designs that are purely functional without any aesthetic considerations may not be eligible for a design patent.



3. The Application Process


When applying for a design patent in China, you must provide a detailed design description accompanied by clear and concise illustrations. These illustrations should accurately depict the product’s appearance and any unique features that distinguish it from existing designs.

Patent Agent

Hiring a patent agent can help you navigate the complex application process. We will assist you in preparing your application and ensuring all requirements are met. This can save you time, effort, and potential legal complications down the road.



4. Protecting Your Design Patent


Once your design patent is granted, monitoring and enforcing your rights is crucial. This means monitoring the market for potential infringers and taking legal action when necessary. In China, design patent owners can pursue both administrative and judicial remedies to enforce their rights.


A design patent in China is valid for 15 years from the filing date. Keeping track of the patent’s expiration date is essential to ensure your design remains protected. 

It is possible to renew a Chinese patent after the renewal deadline. If you do not pay the renewal fee by the due date, you have a 6-month grace period in which to make up the payments. When you enter the grace period, you will be charged an additional fee, which must be paid along with the renewal fee.



5. Tips for a Successful Application

Thorough research

Before applying for a design patent, conduct thorough research to ensure your design is truly unique and original. This may include searching existing design patent databases, reviewing competitor products, and analyzing market trends. Ensuring your design is novel will increase the likelihood of a successful application.

Clear and concise illustrations

The quality of the illustrations submitted with your application can significantly impact the outcome. Ensure your illustrations are clear, concise, and accurately depict your design. It’s advisable to use a professional illustrator or drafting service to create high-quality drawings that effectively communicate the unique aspects of your design.




Applying for a design patent in China can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it’s essential for protecting your intellectual property. Understanding the key differences between design and utility patents, ensuring your design meets the eligibility criteria, and following the application process closely will improve your chances of obtaining a design patent. Remember to monitor and enforce your rights once your patent is granted to fully benefit from your intellectual property protection investment.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long does obtaining a design patent in China take?

The time frame for obtaining a design patent in China can vary, but it typically takes 6 to 12 months from the filing date.

2. Can I protect my design in other countries with a Chinese design patent?

A Chinese design patent only provides protection within the territory of China. If you want to protect your design in other countries, you must file separate applications in those jurisdictions or consider an international design registration through the Hague System.

3. What should I do if someone infringes on my design patent in China?

If you discover someone infringing on your design patent in China, you should seek legal advice immediately. Your options may include sending a cease and desist letter, pursuing administrative remedies, or taking legal action in a Chinese court.

4. Can I sell or license my design patent to others?

Yes, you can sell or license your design patent rights to others. This can be a valuable source of revenue and can help you capitalize on your intellectual property investment. Working with a legal professional to draft and negotiate licensing agreements to protect your interests is essential.


Contact us if you need help with background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, verification of contracts to the law in China, or help with other legal challenges that you have in China.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Manager, Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.


Contact us if you need help with drafting of contracts that follows Chinese laws and are enforceable in China, background investigation of Chinese companiesprotecting patents, trademarks, verification of contracts to the law in China, or help with other legal challenges that you have in China.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Managers Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com  or Milla Chen, at huimin.chen@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.