Q: Is it worth filing a patent in China?

I have a product idea and filed a Provisional Patent for it’s utility along with a couple different design patents. I am manufacturing in China, and had them sign NNN, however know that those don’t hold much weight in China along with patents. Is it worth spending thousands on a Chinese Patent?

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Even though China is considered in the popular press as being anti-patent, or just a country full of copiers of inventions of others, the Chinese government has recognized that the protection of intellectual property is crucial to the national interests, and has been moving towards strengthening their patent system.

Today, the number one country in patents in the world is China. More patents are filed in China than in any other country. About 1 million patent applications are filed in China, about twice as many as in the US, or more than 6 times as many as in Europe. More importantly, there have been many decisions of Chinese courts finding infringement by Chinese companies against Chinese patents owned by US-based companies.

Whether it makes sense for your business to file for a patent in China depends on your situation, but for most US based clients that I’ve worked with, China is the 3rd or 4th most frequently requested jurisdiction in which to file their patents.

Jingzhan Wang
Jingzhan Wang
  • International Law Lawyer
  • Tianjin, Tianjin

A: I'm a Chinese Lawyer, there are laws protecting the patent in China, if you got the official certificate for your patent.

NNN agreement means non-use, non-disclosure, non-circumvention.

The key is that if you sign a NNN agreement, your right is arising from the contract, not the property right of patent.

A written contractual prohibition protects you not because your concept is classified as some form of intellectual property such as trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secret. It protects you because the Chinese factory cannot use your work because it executed a contract agreeing not to use your work.

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