China Promulgates Fourth Amendment to Patent Law

On October 17, 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in China promulgated the fourth amended Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China, which came into force in its original form in 1985, with subsequent amendments in 1992, 2000, and 2008. The amendment will come into effect on June 1, 2021.

The amendment for the first time codifies certain notable changes for pharmaceutical-related patents, including the introduction of a patent linkage system in China to align with international practices.

In addition, the amendment (i) increases statutory damages, introduces punitive damages, and shifts the burden of proving damages in patent infringement actions; (ii) enables the China National Intellectual Property Administration to determine patent infringement disputes of significant national impact; (iii) expands the scope of protection over design patents (particularly on subject matter) and extends their term of protection; (iv) allows disclosure under a national emergency or an extraordinary state of affairs that is not novelty-destroying; and (v) allows patentees to file a declaration to implement open license.

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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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