There are three kinds of patents in China with equal protection, that is, invention patent, utility and industrial design. China follow the first-to-file principle. When two or more patent applications are filed for an identical invention, only the applicant who filed the patent application first will be entitled to obtain a patent for that invention. As China is a member of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), foreign applicants can file patent applications under PCT. The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) is responsible for patent examination, registration and administration.
Patent laws and regulations
According to the Copyright Law of China, copyright includes personal rights and property rights and originates as of the date when the creation of a work is completed.
Copyright holders can register copyright with relevant administration unit, but registration is not prerequisite to acquisition of the right.
The National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) is responsible for copyright administration, enforcement of copyright laws and regulation and approval of establishment of copyright collective management organizations and foreign related agencies.
Copyright laws and regulations
The Trademark Law of China provides for the principle of trademark registration and protection. Trademark is obtained through registration. Regardless of use or not, the exclusive right to use the trademark shall be granted, provided that it is in line with provisions of the Trademark Law and approved for registration by trademark authority. In addition, the Trademark Law also follows first-to-file principle. Simply put, only the applicant who filed the application first will be entitled to obtain a trademark. The Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) is responsible for trademark registration, examination and administration.
Trademark laws and regulations
Geographical indication protection
According to the Provisions of Protection of Products of Geographical Indication, GI products refer to the ones approved to take the geographical name and originating in a special locality where the given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the product is essentially attributable to the natural and human factors of the geographical origin. Three departments of China are responsible for the GI registration and administration. In particular, the Trademark Office of SAIC is in charge of the registration and administration of collective trademarks or certificated trademarks, and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the Ministry of Agriculture are responsible for GI protection and administration in the form of registration.
Geographical indication laws and regulations
Trade secret protection
Article 10 of Law Against Unfair Competition of China concerning trade secret protection provides that “A business operator shall not use any of the following means to infringe upon trade secrets: (1) obtaining an obligee's trade secrets by stealing, luring, intimidation or any other unfair means; (2) disclosing, using or allowing another person to use the trade secrets obtained from the obligee by the means mentioned in the preceding paragraph; or (3) in violation of the agreement or against the obligee's demand for keeping trade secrets, disclosing, using or allowing another person to use the trade secrets he possesses.” The GI protection provided by China is basically equal to that of most other countries in the world, so is the standards for determination of trade secrets and its infringement.
Trade secret laws and regulations