Patent Law of the People's Republic of China
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(Adopted at the 4th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People's Congress on March 12,1984, amended for the first time in accordance with the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People's Congress on Amending the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China at its 27th Meeting on September 4,1992, amended for the second time in accordance with the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on Amending the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China adopted at its 17th Meeting on August 25, 2000, and amended for the third time in accordance with the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People's Congress on Amending the Patent Law of the People's Republic of China at its 6th Meeting on December 27, 2008)
  
Contents

Chapter I General Provisions
Chapter II Conditions for Granting Patent Rights
Chapter III Patent Application
Chapter IV Examination and Approval of Patent Applications
Chapter V Duration, Termination and Invalidation of Patent Rights
Chapter VI Compulsory License for Exploitation of a Patent
Chapter VII Protection of Patent Rights
Chapter VIII Supplementary Provisions


Chapter I General Provisions


Article 1 This Law is enacted for the purpose of protecting the lawful rights and interests of patentees, encouraging invention-creation, promoting the application of invention-creation, enhancing innovation capability, promoting the advancement of science and technology and the economic and social development.

Article 2 For the purposes of this Law, invention-creations mean inventions, utility models and designs.
Inventions mean new technical solutions proposed for a product, a process or the improvement thereof.
Utility models mean new technical solutions proposed for the shape and structure of a product, or the combination thereof, which are fit for practical use.
Designs mean, with respect to a product, new designs of the shape, pattern, or the combination thereof, or the combination of the color with shape and pattern, which are rich in an aesthetic appeal and are fit for industrial application.

Article 3 The Patent Administration Department under the State Council shall be responsible for the administration of patent-related work nationwide. It shall accept and examine patent applications in a uniform way and grant patent rights in accordance with law.
The departments in charge of patent-related work of the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government shall be responsible for patent administration within their respective administrative areas.

Article 4 Where an invention-creation for the patent of which an application is filed involves national security or other major interests of the State and confidentiality needs to be maintained, the application shall be handled in accordance with the relevant regulations of the State.

Article 5 Patent rights shall not be granted for invention-creations that violate the law or social ethics, or harm public interests.
Patent rights shall not be granted for inventions that are accomplished by relying on genetic resources which are obtained or used in violation of the provisions of laws and administrative regulations.

Article 6 An invention-creation that is accomplished in the course of performing the duties of an employee, or mainly by using the material and technical conditions of an employer shall be deemed an employment invention-creation. For an employment invention-creation, the employer has the right to apply for a patent. After such application is granted, the employer shall be the patentee.
For a non-employment invention-creation, the inventor or designer has the right to apply for a patent. After such application is granted, the said inventor or designer shall be the patentee.
For an invention-creation that is accomplished by using the material and technical conditions of an employer, if the employer has concluded a contract with the inventor or designer providing the ownership of the right to apply for the patent or the ownership of the patent right, such provision shall prevail.

Article 7 No unit or individual shall prevent the inventor or designer from filing a patent application for a non-employment invention.

Article 8 With regard to an invention-creation accomplished by two or more units or individuals in collaboration, or an invention-creation accomplished by an unit or individual under the entrustment of another unit or individual, the right to apply for a patent shall be vested in the units or individuals that have accomplished the invention-creation in collaboration or in the unit or individual that has done so under entrustment, unless it is otherwise agreed upon. After the application is granted, the applying unit(s) or individual(s) shall be deemed the patentee(s).

Article 9 Only one patent can be granted for the same invention. However, where the same applicant applies for a utility model patent and an invention patent with regard to the same invention on the same day, if the utility model patent acquired earlier is not terminated yet and the applicant declares his waiver of the same, the invention patent may be granted.
If two or more applicants apply for a patent for the same invention separately, the patent right shall be granted to the first applicant.

Article 10 The right to apply for a patent and patent rights may be transferred.
If a Chinese unit or individual intends to transfer the right to apply for a patent or patent rights to a foreigner, foreign enterprise or other foreign organization, it or he shall perform the procedures in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws and administrative regulations.
For the transfer of the right to apply for a patent or of patent rights, the parties concerned shall conclude a written contract and file for registration at the patent administration department under the State Council, and the latter shall make an announcement thereof. The transfer of the right to apply for a patent or of patent rights shall become effective as of the registration date.

Article 11 After the patent right is granted for an invention or a utility model, unless otherwise provided for in this Law, no unit or individual may exploit the patent without permission of the patentee, i.e., it or he may not, for production or business purposes, manufacture, use, offer to sell, sell, or import the patented products, use the patented method, or use, offer to sell, sell or import the products that are developed directly through the use of the patented method.
After a design patent right is granted, no unit or individual may exploit the patent without permission of the patentee, i.e., it or he may not, for production or business purposes, manufacture, offer to sell, sell or import the design patent products.

Article 12 Any unit or individual that intends to exploit the patent of another unit or individual shall conclude a contract with the patentee for permitted exploitation and pay the royalties. The permittee shall not have the right to allow any unit or individual not specified in the contract to exploit the said patent.

Article 13 After the application for an invention patent is published, the applicant may require the unit or individual that exploits the said patent to pay an appropriate amount of royalties.

Article 14 If an invention patent of a State-owned enterprise or institution is of great significance to national or public interests, upon approval by the State Council, the relevant competent department under the State Council or the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may decide to have the patent widely applied within an approved scope and allow the designated units to exploit the patent, and the said units shall pay royalties to the patentee in accordance with the regulations of the State.

Article 15 If there are agreements regarding the exercise of rights by the co-owners of the right to apply for the patent or of the patent right, the agreements shall prevail. In the absence of such agreements, the co-owners may separately exploit the patent or may, in an ordinary manner, permit others to exploit the said patent. Where others are permitted to exploit the patent, the royalties received shall be distributed among the co-owners.
Except under the circumstances specified in the preceding paragraph, exercise of the co-owned right to apply for patent or of the co-owned patent right shall be subject to the consent of all the co-owners.

Article 16 The unit that is granted the patent right shall reward the inventor or designer of an employment invention-creation. After such patent is exploited, the inventor or designer shall be given a reasonable amount of remuneration according to the scope of application and the economic results.

Article 17 An inventor or designer shall have the right to state in the patent documents that he is the inventor or designer.
The patentee shall have the right to have his patent mark displayed on the patented products or the package of such products.

Article 18 Where a foreigner, foreign enterprise or other foreign organization without a regular residence or business site in China applies for a patent in China, the application shall be handled in accordance with the agreements concluded by the country he or it belongs to and China or the international treaties to which both the countries have acceded or in accordance with this Law on the principle of reciprocity.

Article 19 If a foreigner, foreign enterprise, or other foreign organization without a regular residence or business site in China intends to apply for a patent or handle other patent-related matters in China, he or it shall entrust a legally established patent agency with the application and such matters.
If a Chinese unit or individual intends to apply for a patent or handle other patent-related matters in China, it or he may entrust a legally established patent agency with the application and such matters.
A patent agency shall abide by laws and administrative regulations and handle patent applications or other patent-related matters as entrusted by its principals. It shall also be obligated to keep confidential the contents of the inventions of its principals, unless the patent applications have been published or announced. The specific measures for administration of the patent agencies shall be formulated by the State Council.

Article 20 Any unit or individual that intends to apply for patent in a foreign country for an invention or utility model accomplished in China shall submit the matter to the patent administration department under the State Council for confidentiality examination. Such examination shall be conducted in conformity with the procedures, time limit, etc. prescribed by the State Council.
A Chinese unit or individual may file for international patent applications in accordance with the relevant international treaties to which China has acceded. The applicant for such patent shall comply with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.
The patent administration department under the State Council shall handle international patent applications in accordance with the relevant international treaties to which China has acceded and the relevant provisions of this Law and regulations of the State Council.
With regard to an invention or utility model for which an application is filed for a patent in a foreign country in violation of the provisions of the first paragraph of this Article, if an application is also filed for the patent in China, patent right shall not be granted.

Article 21 The patent administration department under the State Council and its Patent Review Board shall, according to the requirements of objectivity, fairness, accuracy and timeliness, handle patent applications and requests in accordance with law.
The patent administration department under the State Council shall release patent-related information in a complete, accurate and timely manner, and publish patent gazettes on a regular basis.
Before a patent application is published or announced, the staff members of the patent administration department under the State Council and the persons concerned shall be obligated to keep such application confidential.


Chapter II  Conditions for Granting Patent Rights


Article 22 Inventions and utility models for which patent rights are to be granted shall be ones which are novel, creative and of practical use.
Novelty means that the invention or utility model concerned is not an existing technology; no patent application is filed by any unit or individual for any identical invention or utility model with the patent administration department under the State Council before the date of application for patent right, and no identical invention or utility model is recorded in the patent application documents or the patent documentations which are published or announced after the date of application.
Creativity means that, compared with the existing technologies, the invention possesses prominent substantive features and indicates remarkable advancements, and the utility model possesses substantive features and indicates advancements.
Practical use means that the said invention or utility model can be used for production or be utilized, and may produce positive results.
For the purposes of this Law, existing technologies mean the technologies known to the public both domestically and abroad before the date of application.

Article 23 A design for which the patent right is granted is not an existing design, and no application is filed by any unit or individual for any identical design with the patent administration department under the State Council before the date of application for patent right and no identical design is recorded in the patent documentations announced after the date of application.
Designs for which the patent right is to be granted shall be ones which are distinctly different from the existing designs or the combinations of the features of existing designs.
Designs for which a patent right is granted shall be ones which are not in conflict with the lawful rights acquired by others prior to the date of application.
For the purposes of this Law, existing designs mean designs that are known to the public both domestically and abroad before the date of application.

Article 24 Within six months before the date of application, an invention for which an application is filed for a patent does not lose its novelty under any of the following circumstances:
(1) It is exhibited for the first time at an international exhibition sponsored or recognized by the Chinese Government;
(2) It is published for the first time at a specified academic or technological conference; and
(3) Its contents are divulged by others without the consent of the applicant.

Article 25 Patent rights shall not be granted for any of the following:
(1) scientific discoveries;
(2) rules and methods for intellectual activities;
(3)methods for the diagnosis or treatment of diseases;
(4) animal or plant varieties;
(5) substances obtained by means of nuclear transformation; and
(6) designs that are mainly used for marking the pattern, color or the combination of the two of prints.
The patent right may, in accordance with the provisions of this Law, be granted for the production methods of the products specified in Subparagraph (4) of the preceding paragraph.


Chapter III  Patent Application


Article 26 When a person intends to apply for an invention or utility model patent, he shall submit the relevant documents, such as a written request, a written description and its abstract, and a written claim.
In the written request shall be specified the name of the invention or utility model, the name of the inventor or designer, the name or title and the address of the applicant and other related matters.
The written description shall contain a clear and comprehensive description of the invention or utility model so that a technician in the field of the relevant technology can carry it out; when necessary, pictures shall be attached to it. The abstract shall contain a brief introduction to the main technical points of the invention or utility model.
The written claim shall, based on the written description, contain a clear and concise definition of the proposed scope of patent protection.
With regard to an invention-creation accomplished by relying on genetic resources, the applicant shall, in the patent application documents, indicate the direct and original source of the genetic resources. If the applicant cannot indicate the original source, he shall state the reasons.

Article 27 When a person intends to apply for a design patent, he shall submit a written request, drawings or pictures of the design, a brief description of the design, and other relevant documents.
In the relevant drawings or pictures submitted by the applicant shall clearly be shown the design of the products for which patent protection is requested.

Article 28 The date when the patent administration department under the State Council receives the patent application documents is the date of application. If the application documents are delivered by post, the date of the postmark is the date of application.

Article 29 If, within twelve months from the date the applicant first files an application for an invention or utility model patent in a foreign country, or within six months from the date the applicant first files an application for a design patent in a foreign country, he files an application for a patent in China for the same subject matter, he may enjoy the right of priority in accordance with the agreements concluded between the said foreign country and China, or in accordance with the international treaties to which both countries have acceded, or on the principle of mutual recognition of the right of priority.
If, within twelve months form the date the applicant first files an application for an invention or utility model patent in China, he files an application for a patent with the patent administration department under the State Council for the same subject matter, the applicant may enjoy the right of priority.

Article 30 An applicant who requests the right of priority shall submit a written declaration at the time of application and submit, within three months, duplicates of the patent application documents filed for the first time. Where no written declaration is submitted or no duplicates of the patent application documents are submitted at the expiration of the specified time limit, the applicant shall be deemed to have waived the right of priority.

Article 31 An application for an invention patent or utility model patent shall be limited to one invention or utility model. Two or more inventions or utility models embodied in a single general invention concept may be handled with one application.
An application for a design patent shall be limited to one design. Two or more similar designs of one and the same product or two or more designs of products of the same kind that are sold or used in set

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