Changes Coming to Chinese Design Patent Law

February 17, 2021

Eric L. Amundsen, Andrea D. Merin

This alert is part of Wolf Greenfield's design patents page. To learn more about design patents, click here.

As of June 1, 2021, designers and companies will have more flexibility in obtaining design patent protection in China. Under the new law, a design patent claim may include only a portion of a product instead of including the entire product, as is currently required. For example, under the new law, a designer may choose to claim the ornamental appearance of just the sole of a shoe instead of claiming the appearance of the entire shoe. In this instance, only the sole of the shoe would need to be copied by a competitor to infringe the Chinese design patent. In contrast, under the current law where a designer is required to claim the entire shoe, the competitor would need to copy the entire shoe to infringe the design patent.

The new law also will extend the term of design patents from ten years to fifteen years, counted from the date on which the application is filed. An additional provision allows new applications to claim priority to an earlier-filed Chinese design application, subject to a time limit.

Please contact your Wolf Greenfield attorney(s) to discuss how you can leverage the new Chinese design patent law in your design patent portfolio.