China’s New Patent Law Amendments: The Times They are a Changing….

China Design Patents

Received an email from Toronto-based international lawyer, Paul Jones, on China’s just amended patent laws.

I liked it so much, I secured Paul’s permission to run it here:

Last week in Beijing there was the last meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for 2008. On Saturday it was announced that they had found that the revisions and consultations (they received some 500 responses) had gone so well that that the amendments had been voted on and adopted. The Amendments will come into effect October 1, 2009.

The Amendments and the Amended Law (in Chinese) are here [link no longer exists].

The amendments introduce a number of changes such as an absolute novelty requirement, make it easier for judges to increase the penalties for patent infringement, require disclosure of sources for genetic resources, and require inventions made in China to be first applied for in China unless a license is granted for a foreign filing.

Interestingly and although “junk patents” were a major target of the drafters of the amendments, it was decided not to insert a concept of patent abuse. It was felt that this concept should be dealt with under the provisions of the Anti-Monopoly Law. In other words there is to be no separate doctrine of patent abuse as there is in the U.S.

Secondly some are now suggesting that it is time to codify all the IP laws, as came into effect in Russia on January 1, 2008. Apparently however there are other priorities at this time such as the proposed new Tort Liability Law.”

While on the subject of IP protection in China, it also bears mentioning that a Chinese court just handed down stiff prison sentences to a large and previously very successful software counterfeiting group. All of this reinforces what my law firm’s international IP lawyers are always been saying, which is that IP protection in China is and will continue to improve.

But slowly, very slowly.

What are you seeing out there?

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