Intellectual Property in China

Having an Australian trade mark, patent, design right or plant breeder’s right (PBR) doesn't secure your intellectual property (IP) rights in China. Here's how to protect your IP rights in China.

How to register IP in China

In China, you can protect your IP with a trade mark, patent, design right or PBR.

To avoid someone else registering your mark and suing you for infringement, consider registering your rights as early as possible.

Note that an IP right in China doesn't provide protection in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. You'll need to register your IP rights in these territories separately.

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a trade mark in China and if your trade mark is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply to register your trade mark in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of applying for a trade mark in China and through the Madrid System
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough search to make sure your trade mark hasn't already been protected in China.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a trade mark in China:

  1. Directly to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)
  2. Through the Madrid System.

How to apply via CNIPA  How to apply via the Madrid System

China's trade mark application process is complex. We recommend engaging an IP professional with expertise and experience filing in China to advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Engage an IP professional

Further guidance

For information on China's trade mark system, visit the China Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a patent in China and if your idea is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply to register your patent in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of applying for a patent in China
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough global search to make sure your idea hasn't already been published
  5. Are aware of the special filing requirements. For example, you'll need to provide a Chinese translation of your application documents.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a patent in China:

  1. Directly to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)
  • If you have a provisional application, you'll need to file within 12 months to secure your priority date.
  1. Through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • If you have an international application, you can apply to CNIPA and convert your application into a Chinese patent application. This is called 'entering the national phase'.

You may also be entitled to fast track examination under the Global Patent Prosecution Highway.

How to apply via CNIPA  How to apply via the PCT

China's patent application process is complex. We recommend engaging an IP professional with expertise and experience filing in China to advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Engage an IP professional

Further guidance

For information on China's patents system, visit the China Intellectual Property Administration.

 

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a design right in China and if your design is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply to register your design in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of applying for a design right in China
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough global search to make sure your design hasn't already been published.

How to apply

For a design right in China, apply directly to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

How to apply via CNIPA

China's design rights application process is complex. We recommend engaging an IP professional with expertise and experience filing in China to advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Engage an IP professional

Further guidance

For information on China's design rights system, visit the China Intellectual Property Administration.

What to consider

Before applying, make sure you:

  1. Understand what's considered a PBR in China and if your plant variety is eligible for protection
  2. Consider whether you should apply to register your PBR in Australia first
  3. Know the cost of registering a PBR in China
  4. Understand how to conduct a thorough search to make sure your PBR isn't already protected in China.

How to apply

  1. To register agricultural plants, apply to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
  2. To register forestry plants, apply to the State Forestry Administration.

China's PBR application process is complex. We recommend engaging an IP professional with expertise and experience filing in China to advise you on the best options for your circumstances.

Further guidance

For information on China's PBR system, visit the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Engage an IP professional

What other IP can you register?

China also administers IP rights for copyright,  integrated circuit layouts and geographical indications.

Copyright

China operates an optional copyright registration system. The Copyright Protection Center of China administers copyright registration in China.

Integrated circuit layouts

In China, integrated circuit layouts have to be registered in order to obtain protection.

Geographical indications

In China, you can protect a geographical indication as a certification or a collective trade mark through the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

What can be protected without registration?

Trade secrets

There's no formal application or registration process for trade secrets in China.

Further guidance