How do I apply for a patent on the Chinese mainland?
Image by GA Long
Whether you’re a full-time inventor or just someone with a really good idea, don’t wait around to patent your inventions and designs – because if you do, you risk having it stolen away from you, with no way to get it back.
You can register your patent within China through the State Intellectual Property Office. And because China is one of the 176 member countries of the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property, patents registered in China enjoy a “priority right” when being registered in other countries. This means that within 12 months (for invention patents) or six months (for patents based on exterior design appearance) of applying in China, the owner can apply for patents in other member countries within Paris Convention at the same time, with each country’s registration date for the foreign patents being backdated to when it was first given within China.
Alternatively, if you want to get an internationally effective patent from the beginning, you can choose to apply for the PCT patent protocol. This is supervised by the World Intellectual Property Organization, of which China is a member country. This option (as an alternative to just registering in China) will be given to you during the registration process. If you choose to follow the PCT protocol then your patent will be automatically registered in all member countries, including China. However, this method costs more money and means a longer wait for the patent to be granted. For a list of all member countries, please see here. However, please note that this protocol only applies to inventions, not patents for exterior designs.
- If you want to register a patent you should make sure that nobody else has had the same idea. To do that you’ll need to search the State Intellectual Property Office’s database of patents that have already been registered – you can check that out by clicking here.
- After making sure that your patent is still available for registration, you have to prepare two copies of each of the following documents:
• A patent statement describing what it is you’re patenting and how it works/looks (For example patent statements, please see this page)
• Abstract and accompanying diagram (if applicable)
• Specification and accompanying diagram (if applicable)
• The rights you wish to claim for the patent (who owns it, whether the rights are to be transferred, who receives profits on the patent etc)
- After preparing all files needed, you can post all files to the State Intellectual Property Office (the postal address is listed at the bottom of this article), or hand-deliver to reception offices in some cities in China. Addresses and contacts of reception offices can be found here.
- For more details and guidelines for patent examination, please see here.
- The application fee can be paid at one of the offices when hand-delivering files, through a bank transfer, or through a postal transfer. If you post the application documents, a fee should be paid after the applicant receiving notice of acceptance from the office. For details of charges and money transfer, please see this page.
Postal address of State Intellectual Property Office
State Intellectual Property Office, No. 6, Xitucheng lu, Jimen qiao, Haidian district, Beijing.
Post code: 100088
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