Your intellectual property is vital to the success of your business, and protecting your IP abroad is essential to securing your interests in other markets. Even if you’re not considering entering China, it might still be best that you register your IP in China, such as if you’re working with a Chinese manufacturer.
If a foreign applicant, enterprise or organisation does not have a residential or business address in China, they should appoint a legally established patent agent to represent them in the patent prosecution procedure in China (https://www.epo.org/mobile/service-support/faq/searching-patents/asian/faq.html#faq-481). This means that if you use a UK law firm, they will also work with a Chinese government-approved agent to submit your application.
We have been working in partnership with some of the most renowned law firms in China for 10 years, guaranteeing the quality and affordability of our IP protection services, which includes our Patenting and Trademarking Service and Systematic IP Protection Strategy.
Patenting and Trademarking Service
Patents: Inventions, Utility Models, and Design
Like in the UK, patents for inventions can be protected for up to 20 years in China. All patent rights in China are subject to annual fees after they’ve been granted. Utility models, sometimes called “mini-patents”, and requiring a lower level of inventive step, are protected for up to 10 years. Design patents, similar to the UK’s registered design rights, are protected for up to 15 years. To protect the appearance, shape or configuration of your product, you can apply for a design patent yourself, or we recommend going through a representative (e.g.: a patent agent) directly to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
Good to know: On June 1st 2021, China introduced partial design protection, although applications can only be made in paper form or offline until the changes are fully implemented.
China’s trademark system is similar to the UK’s. Trademarks protect symbols, colours or other devices used to identify a business’ products or services. A trademark is valid for ten years, then may be renewed indefinitely for further ten-year periods. It takes on average 7-8 months for a trademark to be granted.
Good to know: You will need to consider whether to register using Chinese “hanzi” characters and “pinyin” (which uses a very similar alphabet to English). As an example, Sony can be written in hanzi as “索尼” and in pinyin as “suoni”.
What makes A&C different?
We provide set prices for our patent and trademark service. Unlike in the UK, providing set prices for IP services is a standard practice for patent attorneys in China. We in turn pass on that convenience to our clients, providing set prices for these services.
Systematic IP Protection Strategy
Sometimes it isn’t just about patenting. Once an application is submitted, it becomes public, so many companies deliberately choose not to patent their core trade secrets.
Sadly, it often isn’t as simple as applying for one patent. You might need to patent specific parts of your product, and leave out others. There are many seemingly small or insignificant parts that may escape your patenting process – copycats will find these, to your detriment. Only a systematic solution can enable you to best protect your interests, down to the smallest screw or line of code.
As Victoria Ndoh wants to develop a global market and find a manufacturer in China. She needed to get her patent registered in China. When she had reached out to a lawyer here in the UK, the fee they had quoted were really high…
Listen to its founder Victoria Ndoh shares her patent registration success experience.
Our Law Firm Partners
Shenzhen Zhongzhi Patent & Trademark Agent Co., Ltd
Established in 1985, Shenzhen Zhongzhi is one of China’s earliest patent agencies. It was formerly known as the Shenzhen Patent Service Center and affiliated with the Shenzhen Science and Technology Bureau. In 2002, after receiving municipal government approval, it was reorganized into Shenzhen Zhongzhi Patent and Trademark Agency Co., Ltd.
Shenzhen Zhongzhi’s growing team of senior patent attorneys and patent engineers witnessed the transformation of China's patent system, and have developed a deep and nuanced understanding of its intricacies, in both general and specialised fields. They have successfully represented tens of thousands of patent and trademark applications, and provided long-term and high-quality IP services for enterprises and individuals. These domestic and international services cover:
Patenting and Trademarking
Negotiation and Contract Drafting