The 22nd Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) voted and passed the revised patent law on October 17. The ensuing No.55 Presidential Order signed by President Xi Jinping announced the decision. The law will enter into force on June 1, 2021.
Changes happen in three areas mainly. First, protection over the legitimate interests of patent holders are enhanced. Patent infringers will pay a deeper price for their acts under the provisions of one to five times punitive damages for malicious or intentional infringement and statutory damages driven up to five million yuan. Other changes on protection include clearer requirements on burden of proof and enforcement by local patent administrations, additions of the principle of good faith, supplementary protection certificate (SPC) and early resolution procedure for pharmaceutical patent disputes. Second, provisions designed for refining service invention, adding a patent open license system and facilitating commercialization of patents are added, all for better use of patents. Third, some of the rules concerning the system for granting patents are also changed, including the criteria for the grace period of novelty of designs and updates on the system of evaluation reports on patentability.
The current patent law of China became operational in 1985 and was amended three times in 1992, 2000 and 2008 respectively. In 2014, the then-State Intellectual Property Office commenced this fourth revision and would see its draft passed by a cabinet meeting of the State Council on December 5, 2018. Days later, on December 23 the same year, the draft was tabled for the first deliberation at the 7th Session of the 13th NPC. The second deliberation took place at the 20th Session on June 28, 2020.