SIPO Amends Exam Guidelines to Provide Design Patent Protection For GUI’s

As I previously blogged, SIPO was considering amending its patent examination guidelines to permit design patent protection for graphical user interfaces (GUI’s). The new examination guidelines were promulgated by SIPO on March 12, 2014, with an effective date of  May 1, 2014.

The revised examination guidelines remove the earlier  (and antiquated) blanket prohibition against design patent protection for electrified screen designs.  They also provide protection for dynamic (animated) graphical user interfaces. Designs which are unrelated to human-machine interaction or product function also remain unprotected under the revised examination guidelines.  These excluded designs include video game interfaces,  wallpaper,  start-up and shut-down screens or graphic compositions in a web page. 游戏界面以及与人机交互无关或者与实现产品功能无关的产品显示装置所显示的图案,例如,电子屏幕壁纸、开关机画面、网站网页的图文排版。

March 24, 2018 edit: Here is an update on a first instance design patent infringement case involving a GUI, decided December 25, 2017 (Beijing Qihu technology co. Ltd. and Qizhi Software (Beijing) Co. Ltd v Beijing Jiangmin Technology Co. Ltd.), which unfortunately shows some of the limitations of the current regime.  The authors do not however provide the docket number or the court.

Design Patent Protection Becomes Available for GUI’s

After several years of discussion, China has decided to provide design patent protection for graphical user interfaces.  Proposed revisions to the patent examination guidelines of SIPO have been placed on the State Council website for public comments, which are due November 22.   SIPO and the State Council Legislative Affairs Office have simultaneously released this draft, which includes an explanation of the reasons for the changes and a redlined copy of the proposed changes to the examination guidelines. Continue reading

KPMG Survey Predicts China’s Rise As an IT Innovator

The recently released KPMG 2012 Global Technology Innovation Survey of 668 geographically distributed technology business executives suggests that technology innovation may shift from Silicon Valley to another destination, with the most likely destination being China (44%), in the next four years.

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China as an IP Stakeholder

My presentation in the opening of the US-China IP Adjudication Conference got a lot of applause.

The USPTO and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit May 28-30 co-sponsored an intellectual property adjudication program with Renmin University of China, the China Law Society, the Bar, and others. More than 1,200 people attended the three-day program, including nearly three hundred judges from China’s judiciary; hundreds of lawyers and business people from the United States and China; several hundred Chinese academics; and, most importantly, seven judges from the Federal Circuit, as well as a like number of judges from the Supreme People’s Court. There was an “en banc” Q-and-A session between the Federal Circuit and China’s Supreme People’s Court, a moot court involving a common fact pattern that resulted in a nearly identical adjudication on the same set of facts, and breakout sessions on such topics as pharmaceutical patent adjudication, copyright (including online infringements) and trademark developments (including “squatting”). The program was a milestone in bilateral judicial, intellectual property and rule of law exchanges.

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Understanding China’s New Environment for Intellectual Property

On April 11th, Fordham Law School held its first China focused IP Conference, “Understanding China’s New Environment for Intellectual Property”.  The program covered a range of issues, from patenting trends, to challenges in design protection, and intellectual property protection challenges for cloud computing in China, with mixed panels of academics, practitioners, judges and government officials from both countries. Continue reading