China IPR

China to Provide Financial Incentives For Filing Patent Applications Abroad

On April 14, 2012, China’s Ministry of Finance issued the new “Measures for the Administration of Special Funds for Subsidizing Foreign Patent Applications,” effective on the day of issuance to replace the prior “Interim Measures for the Administration of Special Funds for Subsidizing Foreign Patent Applications,” which were issued in 2009 by the Ministry of Finance. The regulation outlines policies for financial assistance for Chinese who file patent applications abroad.

Under the new Measures, patent applications can benefit from subsidies when officially prescribed charges occur for the process of filing and searching, service expenses paid to patent agencies, and fees paid for patent examination. To qualify for the subsidy, applicants must be domestic small and medium sized enterprises, public institutions or scientific research institutions. The measures does not define what constitutes a Chinese applicant and may be intended in part to address the dominant role a few Chinese enterprises played in foreign patent filings, especially Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filings (Huawei and ZTE).

Under the new Measures, patentees can be subsidized only after the patent is issued. The new regulation also requires novelty, inventiveness, utility, and a stable legal status of the foreign patent.

The qualified patent applications under the new regulation also include those made under the Paris Convention, in addition to the PCT. The requirement of the prior rule that the SIPO will “act[] as the PCT receiving office” has been dropped.

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