Patents and designs in China

Last updated: 
10 November 2017

You don’t have any exclusive rights to your patents and designs in China unless you register them in China.

To be granted a patent or design patent in China, it needs to be new. If your invention or design has been revealed to the public anywhere in the world, such as through sales or advertising or publication of an Australian patent or design application, registration isn’t permitted in China.

In addition to invention patents, design patents and utility models can be useful in your intellectual property strategy. These rights are granted following a formalities examination. This makes them relatively cheap and quick to obtain and enforce.

Software and business methods are also generally more patentable in China. For example, Google has patented its PageRank algorithm and Amazon has patented its 1-Click purchase.

You should make sure you don’t infringe on already registered patents as China has over two million invention patents, 3.3 million utility models and 1.4 million design patents in force.