As outlined in our previous post, securing a partial design claim in China is akin to hitting a moving target, as the interpretation of partial design claims in China has varied among cases and examiners.  Since the rule change allowing partial claiming for Chinese design patents took effect on June 1, 2021, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has still not yet released formal guidelines detailing what is and is not permitted.  However, certain patterns have emerged from the tranche of partial design claims that have been refused or allowed so far, especially regarding design titles, independent design units, patterns/surface indicia, unconnected claims, dividing lines, and simple geometric shapes.  From these patterns, there are several guideposts that applicants can use to navigate the uncertain waters of partial design claiming until a formal statement from the CNIPA is released.Continue Reading The Moving Target of Partial Design Protection Under Chinese Law

As outlined in our previous post, on June 1, 2021 the Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Law came into effect, allowing partial claiming in design patent applications.  Until this past May, examination of most Chinese partial claim design patent applications had been held up by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (“CNIPA”), since the CNIPA had not published formal Examination Guidelines for partial design claiming.  While formal Examination Guidelines have still not been published, the CNIPA has recently been issuing Office actions rejecting certain partial designs for failing to form a “relatively independent area” or a “relatively complete design unit” of a product.  Since unclaimed broken lines can only be converted to solid lines (and vice versa) within two months from the Chinese filing date, a rejection indicating that the design fails to form a relatively independent area or a relatively complete design unit on a product can possibly mature into an incurable defect.Continue Reading Navigating Partial Design Rejections in China

China’s Copyright Law protects “works of literature, art, natural science, social science, engineering technology and the like which are expressed in the following forms: (1) written works; (2) oral works; (3) musical, dramatic, theatrical, choreographic and acrobatic artworks; (4) works of the fine arts and architecture; (5) pictorial and photographic works; (6) audiovisual works; (7) graphic works such as drawings of engineering designs, product designs, maps and sketches, etc.; (8) computer software; and (9) other intellectual achievements conforming to the characteristics of the works.” China’s copyright law protects the expression of ideas instead of ideas themselves, which is similar to U.S. copyright law.
Continue Reading Protecting Product and Packaging Designs in China Part II – Copyright

Like the United States, China offers protection for 2D and 3D designs of products and packaging, which is often known by U.S. consumers and practitioners as “trade dress.” This four-part miniseries of posts provides a birds-eye view of protections available in China for two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) design elements of products or packaging under trademark, copyright, design patent, and anti-unfair competition laws. It focuses on the similarities and dissimilarities of different aspects of intellectual property (IP) law in China and how they interact with each other.
Continue Reading Protecting Product and Packaging Designs in China Part I – Trademarks