A Guide to China’s Revised Patent Regulations for SMEs


Written on: March 12, 2024

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Hello, North American entrepreneurs and small business mavens! Are you eyeing China’s bustling markets or considering the Middle Kingdom for manufacturing your innovative products? There’s an update you need to be aware of – China’s patent law, which was revised in 2020, is not entirely “new”, but the latest revision to the Implementation Regulations came into force as of December 11, 2023. It’s crucial to understand how these adjustments could influence your ventures, particularly if your business is centered around safeguarding intellectual property.

A Continuous Evolution of China's Patent Landscape 

First off, let’s clarify the updates. China’s patent law overhaul in 2020 was a comprehensive upgrade aimed at fostering an innovation-friendly environment and drastically strengthening patent protection. Following that, the new implementation rules effective from December 2023 refine these regulations further.

Enhanced Protection for Your Brainchild 

The core patent law from 2020 set the stage for stronger protections, and the latest implementation rules have reinforced this framework. They’ve heightened the consequences for patent infringement, thereby safeguarding your inventions more firmly. Specifically, these rules amplify punitive damages for intentional infringement and increase statutory damages significantly. This is a clear indication that China is doubling down on its commitment to intellectual property rights.

Paving the Way for Design Innovation 

For the design-savvy, the extension of protection for design patents from 10 to 15 years under the 2020 law, and the recent rules making partial designs patentable, are particularly noteworthy. This extension allows businesses to benefit from their design-driven innovations for a longer time.

Facilitating a Smoother Patenting Process 

Understanding patenting procedures in a foreign country can be daunting. However, the updated rules aim to simplify the process, making it more transparent and approachable for international applicants. This means you can spend less time on bureaucracy and more on innovation.

Boosting Confidence with Open Licensing 

The latest rules introduce an open licensing system for patents. This concept, similar to putting a “For Lease” sign on your patent, facilitates monetization and collaborative innovation. It aligns with the trend towards open-source development and shared technology platforms.

What Does This Mean for You? 

These updates are not merely legal jargon; they represent significant opportunities and safeguards for North American small business owners. Understanding and leveraging these laws can give you a competitive edge in the Chinese market.

  1. Stronger IP Protection: The updated regulations mean that your inventions have a safer playground in China.
  2. Longer Design Lifespan: Extended protection periods mean that your designs remain exclusively yours for a longer time.
  3. Streamlined Patenting Process: Simplified application procedures reduce the bureaucratic headache associated with patenting in China.
  4. Open Licensing Opportunities: Open licensing paves new paths for leveraging your intellectual property.
Embracing the Change 

The updated Chinese patent law, along with its recent implementation rules, signals that China values innovation and is welcoming businesses with creativity and ingenuity. As you develop your next big idea, keep in mind that these regulations are designed to protect and propel your ventures in the Chinese market.

Overcoming Resource Challenges 

For small companies and startups, adapting to China’s revised patent system can be resource-intensive, often involving multiple service providers and trips abroad. This is where the professional and trustworthy services offered by companies like Trustiics prove invaluable.

Trustiics provides small businesses, including OEM manufacturers and various merchants, with streamlined access to vetted and experienced legal professionals.

By partnering with Trustiics, you can effectively navigate the patent changes, making the most of the robust protections now available to secure your innovations in the Chinese market.

About the Contributors 

For those navigating the intricacies of China’s intellectual property laws, Trustiics offers the expert guidance of two distinguished lawyers: Mr. Hong Zheng and Mr. Daniel Jiang

Mr. Hong Zheng is a respected China-qualified lawyer specializing in intellectual property law, with a robust career that began at King & Wood Mallesons in 2003. Currently, he is a partner at Tee & Howe Intellectual Property Attorneys, guiding international businesses through all facets of IP protection in China, from administrative and judicial processes to prosecutions and enforcement.

Mr. Daniel Jiang specializes in intellectual property protection in China, including trademark and patent registration, litigation, and protection strategies. He also assists e-commerce businesses worldwide with remote and virtual operations in China, facilitating product sales and partnerships without the need for subsidiaries in the country.

Together, they bring a formidable knowledge base and strategic acumen to Trustiics, offering transparent pricing, secure international payments, and 24/7 online account accessibility for clients worldwide.


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