New Developments of the Chinese Patent System

  • Gao Lulin Patent Office, People’s Republic of China


The Chinese Patent Law, now eleven years old, has seen much revision in recent years, culminating in the revised Patent Law of 1993. Changes included extension of the scope of patent protection, the length of protection, and the tightening of infringement laws. These revisions have brought Chinese Patent Law to international standards, and sharply increased the number of patent applications in China.

Since acceding to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1994, there has been another increase in patent applications, and an easing of patent application for Chinese abroad. China has further automated its procedures to meet PCT standards and to provide a Chinese patent documents search database on CD–ROM, patterned after the World Patent Index (WPI).

The article also discusses legal choices dealing with infringement of patent. The expansion of China’s patent agency has resulted in a lack of qualified personnel. To deal with this, the China Intellectual property Training Center is established.

It has been eleven years since the Chinese Patent Law entered into force on 1 April 1985. The difference between China and most of the countries adopting a patent system lies in the fact that the patent system in China started at a time when China still had a planned economy. This difference demonstrates at least two points: firstly, the policy of realizing the “transformation of a planned economy into a market economy” put forward in the Ninth Five–year Plan was considered as early as 1985 among the senior Chinese leaders; secondly, the development of the Chinese patent undertaking is bound to be unique.

Through over ten years of active exploration and arduous efforts, achievements made in the development of the patent system in China — creating from nothing and growing from weak to strong — have attracted worldwide attention. Especially in the past several years, by means of revising the Patent Law, acceding to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, implementing the patent information automation plan, strengthening the enforcement of the law, and improving the Chinese patent system, the patent system in China has met the requirements for developing countries stipulated in the TRIPS Agreement, and it has done so before the deadline. China has made great progress in perfecting its patent system within a short period of time and has thus been highly evaluated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).