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 Is your IP protected in China?

One of the biggest concerns among business owners is the protection of their products. While U.S. patents and trademarks are a great start, they do little to protect products in other countries. This is why obtaining patents or trademarks in China is recommended, especially for those that are manufacturing products in China.

The China IP system has been evolving rapidly. While early on protection and enforcement was lacking, today there is much more security. As China works to continue to evolve its economy and become more innovative, an understanding of the importance of respecting IP rights has become much more apparent. The country’s government has already been making changes to its IP laws in an effort to better protect businesses and IP protection has enrooted into most local business sectors.

Under the “2020 Action Plan”, the Chinese government has also been actively enforcing patent law. Main objectives of the plan include: to promote IP creation and utilization, to strengthen IP protection and management, and to expand international IP cooperation. As China’s social sophistication continues to grow, government enforcement will further strengthen and information regarding IP protection will become even more transparent.


China has three types of patents: invention, utility model, and design.

Invention Patents

Invention Patents are granted for new technical solutions or improvements to a product or process. They have the strongest and longest protection of up to 20 years if renewed each year. However, since invention patents require international search and examination, they take the longest to obtain, often between 2 to 5 years.

Design Patents

A design patent protects the external appearance of the product only. All technical aspects are excluded. A design patent is renewable upon the end of each year from submission date for application, for up to 10 years. These are usually granted within a year.

Utility Model Patents

Utility model patents apply to new technical solutions or improvements relating to the shape or structure of a physical product; processes are not included. While formal examination is still required, processing time is usually within a year since utility model patents are not as innovative as invention patents. Protection is up to just 10 years, though still renewable each year.

Trademark Application

Trademark registration requires an in-depth examination from China government offices. A trademark must have exclusive nature. It cannot be identical, similar, defaming, or coherent to existing names, symbols, slogans, or signs.

Due to the nature of examination, it usually takes 12-18 months of processing time in China to get a trademark registered if everything goes well. A trademark, like a patent, also has right of priority following WTO convention. The registration is usually valid for 10 years.

E-BI China Patent Services

Over our years of practice, E-BI has developed an effective and efficient process for handling IP issues in China. With our patent attorney legal team, we offer patent services to assist you in maintaining intellectual property rights, product quality, and product value in China.

Our patent services include:
  • U.S. patent translation into Chinese
  • Filing to Chinese patent offices
  • Reporting and drafting responses to the patent office
  • Drafting patent specifications in Chinese
  • Quick delivery to meet the most demanding timelines

It is in our interest to help make sure your products are safe and patents are enforced. With proper patents and improving laws, we see an ever brighter future for IP protection in China.