The 4th amendment to China Patent Law officially came into effective on June 1, 2021. The highlight of changes are:

  • Patent Term Extension (PTE) – especially in pharmaceutical field
  • Patent Linkage System
  • Open Licenses
  • Design Patent
  • Punitive Damage
  • Statutory Damage
  • Discovery Proceeding for Deciding Damages

It has been 12 years since the last amendment made in 2008. Now, long-awaited changes are critical as this implies that China further strengthens protection generally and keep pace with international developments. The new patent law allows to institute patent lawsuits concerning generic drug applications under the patent linkage system. More design patent applications are expected to be filed, given the expanded scope of protection of partial design. The extended protection term of design patents to 15 years better prepares China to access to the Hague Agreement. The increased statutory damages, introduction of punitive damages, and the shift of burden in proving damages in infringement actions will motivate patentees to enforce their patents before courts in China. The empowerment of the China National Intellectual Property Administration to adjudicate patent infringement disputes of significant national impact could improve patent enforcement in general and the value of patents. These changes have a major impact on both prosecution and enforcement.

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