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The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (SCNPC) are considering a Draft Amendment to the Patent Law of China, which could be approved in June or October this year.
Most of the major changes suggested by the Draft Amendment relate to patent infringement, increasing the penalties for infringement while also expanding the authority of the patent office when investigating patent infringement. These changes therefore theoretically make enforcing patents in China easier and more effective. The suggested changes are as follows:
A further change that we consider important relates to extending the term of protection, as follows:
This change will result in designs being protected for longer, which would be important of itself, but is more interesting as we understand it has been suggested so that China can join the international (Hague) system for filing registered designs.
The international (Hague) registered design system is somewhat underused compared to its counterparts for patents and trademarks, in part because many major countries have not been party to the agreement. The EU has been a member since 2008, and the UK since last year, but the system became much more popular with our clients since 2015, when both Japan and USA joined. Assuming that this change in design duration does take place and China then joins the Hague system, we would expect it to make the filing of international (Hague) designs substantially more attractive and more frequent.
For more information on pursing patent and design rights in China, please contact one of our patent attorneys.