Source:China IP News
Are there any changes on improving the design system?
Chinese companies are getting better in designing in the past few years and design applications filed in China are spiking to a world high now, both begging for heightened protection. The amendment improves the design system to cater such need.
First, partial design is under protection now. When making new product designs, designers sometimes create all-new, revolutionary ones. On more occasions, they just make minor touches to some part of current designs. Innovation on a part of a current design is an important type of product design. Partial design is already patentable in the U.S., Japan, Europe, the Republic of Korea and other major patenting destinations. With an increasing number of Chinese companies are venturing out, their need for design protection at these places is also on the rise. Protection of partial design aligns with such need and international practice, enabling Chinese companies to better maneuver under different legislations, survive and excel in oversea markets.
Second, protection term of design patents is extended. The new term is 15 years, fitting Chinese companies' need for filing overseas and innovators' diversified needs on protection term and pave way for China's accession to the Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs.
Third, domestic priority is available for design patent. If a design application of the same subject is filed within 6 months from the date on which the initial application was filed, the applicant may claim priority of the initial application. This will lower filing costs and afford design applicants an opportunity to further improve their designs and change protection scope.
Any new provisions to inspire innovation in pharmaceutical industry?
There are several provisions added in the amendment to enhance protection of pharmaceutical patents and inspire innovation of the industry.
First, the supplementary patent certificate (SPC) system is established. With advancement of the pharmaceutical industry in China and companies' increasing input in R&D and ever-improving innovation capacity, a new system is required to fuel innovators' desire to develop new drugs. In the meantime, in an effort to accelerate foreign new drugs' entry into the Chinese market, improve drugs' accessibility, safeguard public health, it is necessary to establish the supplementary patent certificate system to make up the time consumed for market approval of new drugs. Upon patentees' request, a supplementary patent term may be granted to the invention patents of the new drugs having gained market approval in China. SPC lasts for up to a maximum of five years and is designed to provide for up to a maximum of 14 years patent monopoly on marketed drugs.
Second, an early-stage resolution proceeding is in place for drug patent disputes to solve potential patent disputes as early as possible before market launch of drugs. Such avenue available for interested parties to solve disputes may better balance interests between patentees, generic drug makers and the public, provide better access to drugs and safeguard public health.
Are there any changes to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic?
To be in a better position to take on the pandemic and other states of emergency and extraordinary situations, facilitate timely use of relevant inventions in treating diseases, tackle public health problems, respond to innovators' need in loosening the exception to lack of novelty, the amendment adds
'When the state of emergency or extraordinary situation arises in the country, publish for the first time for the public interest'. This accommodates the current need for controlling the pandemic as well as leaving leeway for future states of emergency or extraordinary situations.