Chinese Patent-Law and Implementation Amendments Bring Key Changes, Interpretive Challenges


For the past decade, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has developed a body of patent law that is helping make the country’s regulatory environment more compatible internationally. The implementation of amendments to patent law and regulations is speeding the process. While these changes are welcome, uncertainties remain as to how China’s new patent environment will affect current and prospective patent holders.

The Patent Law of the PRC was enacted in 1985, and then amended in 1992 and 2000 (collectively referred to as the “2000 Patent Law”). The most recent amendments were made in 2008 (the “2008 Patent Law”), and became effective on Oct. 1, 2009.

In December 2009, the Supreme People's Court (SPC), China's highest court, adopted a set of judicial interpretations regarding cases involving patent disputes (the "2009 Interpretation").

In the beginning of 2010, the Implementing Regulations of the PRC Patent Law (the "2010 Implementing Regulations") were amended accordingly to reflect the changes to the 2008 Patent Law. The 2010 Implementing Regulations took effect on Feb. 1, 2010.

This advisory summarizes some critical differences between the 2000 Patent Law and the 2008 Patent Law. We have noted the changes resulting from the new amendments to the 2010 Implementing Regulations, which went into effect in early 2010. We have also noted where the SPC’s 2009 Interpretation falls short in light of the amendments.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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