Chinese Design Patent A Must-have Tool for Co-Development

A patent is an exclusive legal right granted to the applicant for an invention or a new design. It gives the patent owner the right to prevent others from using the patented material for a limited length of time. In China, in order to register for Chinese design patent, companies need to come up with a design that is absolutely unique. The purpose of this entire procedure is to prevent an innovation from being copied.

A design pattern in China is granted after judging the following factors-

  • Shape
  • Pattern
  • Combination of shape and pattern
  • Color
  • Functionality

According to the many China business lawyers, even a few years ago, most of the China contract manufacturing clients were reluctant to use Chinese design patents. The primary reason was, as most of the foreign contract manufacturing clients used to make use of the designs that were already marketed in the United States, Europe and Australia, they were unable to prove the novelty of the design in China.

The recent boom and popularity of product co-development in China have made it necessary to use design patent. The main mantra of co-development process is that the end product design will be absolutely unique. Because of this, overseas companies that are involved co-design in China, ensuring the protection of their product design by aggressively utilizing Chinese design patent system.

Two basic benefits of China design patent system are-

  1. The design patent is used as a defense against knock-off manufacturing by third parties.
  2. The design patent is used to make clear the rights of the foreign entity and the Chinese factory in the co-designed product.

Chinese design patent is perhaps the most powerful tool in blocking third party factory knock offs. If the design is registered as a patent, the owner of the patent can prevent any other factory in China from making a product using that design. The patent owner can also register with customs, preventing the export of the knock-off product. In the absence of a patent protection, other Chinese factories can enjoy the liberty of copying your product without any fear. That’s why it is paramount that you have a clear knowledge about Chinese patent protection law.

Design patent ownership is based on a “first-to-file” principle. Therefore, if a brand has not filed a design patent application, their design is known to the public, and a copycat manufacturer in China registers first, the counterfeiter may own the design in China. A patent on industrial design is valid for ten years from the date of filing of an application to the Chinese Intellectual Property Office. A certified copy of the priority document must be provided within three months from the filing date of an industrial design application in China.

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