In recent years, China has emerged as a global powerhouse in innovation and design. With the increasing importance of intellectual property protection, understanding the requirements and process for design patent applications in China has become critical for businesses and designers alike. This article delves into the essential aspects of design patent applications in China, including the definition, required documents, and key details for products with three-dimensional and plane designs.
Design Application Definition in China
A design application in China refers to a new design that incorporates the shape, pattern, or a combination of both, as well as a combination of color, shape, and pattern of the entire product or a part thereof. The design should evoke an aesthetic feeling and be suitable for industrial application.
Required Documents for Design Patent Applications
To file a design patent application in China, the following documents are required:
- Request: A formal request to initiate the design patent application process.
- Description: A detailed account of the design, its intended use, and essential features.
- Drawings or Photographs: Visual representations of the design, including front, back, left, right, top, and bottom views, which must adhere to state standards of technical drawing and mechanical drawing.
The first step in a typical design application in China is to share the following:
1. Company business license
2. Company information: company name, address, zip code, inventor
3. Six views of the product (front view, rear view, left view, right view, top view, bottom view) + stereogram and a brief product description.
Design Patent Duration
The duration of a design patent in China has been extended from 10 years to 15 years from the filing date due to the amended Patent Law of China that took effect on June 1, 2021.
You can now protect partial designs in China, allowing design patents to cover a whole or a part of a product. Thus, the scope and flexibility of design patent applications and enforcement are expanded in China.
The updated law establishes a domestic priority system for design patent applications, enables applicants to claim priority based on their first-filed design patent applications in China within six months, and facilitates the protection of multiple designs related to the same product.
The improved design patent examination system in China requires examiners to conduct substantive examinations on design patent applications and enhances the quality and validity of design patents.
Clarifying the design patent infringement criteria and damages calculation, which adopts a three-step test to determine whether a design is identical to or similar to a patented design, increases the statutory damages and punitive damages for design patent infringement.
The amended Patent Law of China provides more comprehensive and effective protection for industrial designs. Foreign applicants should take advantage of the new opportunities and improved legislation regarding the protection of design patents in China.
Product Name and Design
The product’s name incorporating the design must be consistent with the design depicted in drawings or photographs. It should accurately and concisely indicate the design for which protection is sought.
When submitting drawings or photographs, ensure they are clear, plain, and have an appropriate distinction in brightness to represent the design accurately. Additionally, the images should adhere to the principles of precise projection and prevent perspective distortion. A brief explanation should include:
- The product’s title.
- Its use.
- The essential features of the design.
- The drawing or photograph that best showcases these features.
Suppose protection for color is claimed, and a design description is omitted. In that case, the applicant must provide a reason for the omission. The application must describe the unit pattern of the product, indicate the length and depth, and specify if the product is made of transparent or another material.
Understanding the requirements for design patent applications in China is crucial for businesses and designers looking to protect their intellectual property. By adhering to these guidelines and accurately representing the design in drawings or photographs, applicants can ensure that an application that is approved means that their design patents are granted and protected for a duration of 15 years in China.
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