February 04, 2020

Recent announcements by the Chinese Intellectual Property Administration

At the end of January 2020, the Chinese Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced upcoming changes concerning paper patent certificates and notifications as well as clarified the restoration process for missed terms if due to coronavirus-related reasons.

According to one of the announcements, deadlines for handling patents, trademarks and layout designs falling on the Spring Festival holidays are extended to the first working day after the holiday, which is February 3, 2020. However, most businesses in Beijing have been requested to prolong holidays till February 10, 2020.

In addition, the CNIPA provides applicants and patentees with an opportunity to file a request for restoration of rights if the coronavirus outbreak prevented them from carrying out a required action in due time.

As per the applicable patent law provisions, the request can be filed within two months from the date of removal of the cause, or within two years after the expiry of the initial deadline. The same timeframe is true for layout designs, while trademark applicants and holders have only two months from the date of removal of the cause for filing the request. The CNIPA requires substantiating documents to accompany the request for restoration, and no restoration fee needs to be paid.

Regarding paper certificates and notifications, China is following the same route as other countries by gradually moving to use of an online system exclusively.

As of March 3, 2020, the CNIPA will cease the issuance of patent certificates in paper form, making them available only in electronic form through its online system. It will remain possible to obtain a paper certificate by requesting a copy of the same via the electronic system.

This move is anticipated by the decision to issue electronic notifications to the applicant without their paper copy counterparts with handwritten signatures of officials as of February 17, 2020. If needed, it will be possible to obtain the document in paper form through the online system. 

Author: Lynda Miller