Patents are a form of intellectual property. A patent is a set of exclusive rights for a limited period in exchange for detailed public disclosure of inventions-creations. According to the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter the “Patent Law”), “inventions-creations” mean inventions, utility models and designs. Among the three kinds of patents, invention patents are granted after substantive examination, with a term of 20 years, and utility model and design patents are granted just after preliminary examination, with a term of 10 years, all terms calculated from the filing date.

The Patent Law was adopted on March 12, 1984, and came into force on April 1, 1985. The Patent Law was amended three times ever since it entered into force. The first-time amendment took effect on January 1, 1993, the second time on July 1, 2001, and the third time on December 1, 2009. The Fourth Revised Draft of the Patent Law took shape recently.

The Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) is the authority to receive and examine patent applications for invention, utility model, and design. The CNIPA conducts examination on applications received, and grants patents to those meeting the requirements of the Patent Law. 

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