Pre-examination option to expedite patent applications in China

Examination of invention patent applications in China typically takes 18 months. One way to reduce the time is to use the pre-examination service facilitated by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) which will reduce examination time to approximately 2-3 months.

Pre-examination process

The pre-examination is carried out by an ‘IP Protection Centre’ approved by CNIPA and takes approximately 7 working days to receive the results. IP Protection Centres are Chinese government agencies, affiliated with CNIPA.

Once pre-examination is complete, applicants can apply for their patent application with CNIPA and examination will be expedited to occur in approximately 2-3 months.

Eligibility for pre-examination

Australian businesses wanting to take advantage of the pre-examination service will need to have a company incorporated in the jurisdiction of an IP Protection Centre. There are 70 IP Protection Centres in China including in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangdong Province, and Guangzhou. 

Only certain patents are eligible for the pre-examination service. The criteria vary depending on the IP Protection Centre chosen, and can include new generation information technology, biopharmaceuticals, new energy, internet, environmental protection, and high-end equipment manufacturing. 

The pre-examination service is only available before the patent application is filed with CNIPA.  After pre-examination has been approved, the patent application must be filed with CNIPA within 10 days for the patent application to be expedited.


In addition to shortening the timeframe for examination, the timeframe for the applicant to respond is also reduced. If an examination report is issued, an applicant has only 10 days to respond to a first report, compared to 4 months if the pre-examination service was not used.   

If the deadline is missed, the patent application will lose its expedited examination status and will be returned to ordinary examination.  Applicants also cannot amend the application during the process if pre-examination is requested. 

Official fees

The IP Protection Centres do not charge for the pre-examination service.

Seek professional advice

Getting IP rights in China is a complex process. You should consider engaging a legal professional with expertise in Chinese law to assist you. 

Your Australian patent attorney or legal counsel can work with Chinese lawyers, or you can work directly with a Chinese or international firm. You can search for an Australian patent attorney or firm using the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board directory.

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