China to Amend Its Patent Law

The Legal Affairs Office of the State Council has published a set of proposed amendments to China’s Patent Law. Officially these proposed changes are published for the purpose of soliciting public comments, but it is likely that all of the proposed changes will be added to official laws by 2016.

Some of the more important proposed changes to Chinese patent laws are listed below:

Patent Rights and Definitions

Patent laws now provide protection for parts or components of overall designs. Previously, patents only covered an entire, specific product, rather than component parts.
Design patents have been extended to 15 years. After this is implemented, Chinese patent term lengths will be 20 years for invention patents, 15 for industrial design patents, and 10 years for utility model patents.


The new proposed laws give some new power to Chinese Intellectual Property (IP) offices, as well as upping some of the penalties for violations:

In the cases of willful infringement, compensation is calculated at up to three times the damages inflicted by the act of infringement.
The upper limit of statutory damages is currently between RMB 10,000 and RMB 1,000,000; it is proposed to be increased to a range of RMB 100,000 to RMB 5,000,000.
Repeated infringement or group infringement (infringement by multiple parties) will be able to be investigated by local IP offices, which will have the power to confiscate both the infringing products and the tools/molds used to make them.
Local IP offices can give fines of up to five times the amount of illegal sales if there were more than RMB 50,000 worth of illegal sales, otherwise the fine will reach an amount of RMB 250,000 or less.
Note that in this new draft, local IP offices only have powers of confiscation in cases of willful infringement (the previous regulations specified powers of confiscation for all cases of infringement)

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