IP Cases & Articles

CNIPA releases draft amendment of patent examination guidelines for public consultation

Following the roll out of the new Chinese Patent Law on 01 June 2021, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has recently issued a draft amendment of the Patent Examination Guidelines for public comments.

The proposed amendment sets out the procedural details of various new systems previously introduced by the new Patent Law. The highlights are as follows:

1. Filing and examination requirements under the updated design patent system involving:

  • partial designs
  • graphical user interface
  • preliminary examination of distinctiveness before grant
  • domestic priority claim
  • application for international design

2. Adding and restoring priority claim, referencing earlier applications, for domestic applications and PCT international applications.

3. Patent term extension and adjustment

  • for pharmaceutical patents that were granted before the marketing authorization of the relevant drugs;
  • for general patents which have experienced unreasonable delay during examination.

4. Registration of open patent licensing and related agreements, official fee reduction details.

5. Special invalidation proceedings under the new Pharmaceutical Patent Linkage System.

6. Provisions for non-prejudicial disclosure grace period and extension of general deadlines under national emergencies.

7. Measures to enhance quality and efficiency:

  • preliminary examination of inventive step for utility models
  • updated examination requirements of computer-implemented inventions, and examples of claiming inventions relating to training of artificial intelligence, e-commerce, natural language processing, financial products, and adaptation of neural network parameters
  • scope of ex-officio examination during re-examination and invalidation
  • invalidation proceedings involving parties in ownership disputes
  • delay examination upon request

8. Other measures to provide a user friendly patent system such as: allowing colour drawings, simplified procedures for filing divisional applications, submitting sequence listings, and requesting patent right evaluation report.

Our in-depth analysis of many of the points covered in the draft amendment will follow shortly.

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