Business owners who set up an enterprise in China should understand how to protect their intellectual property in the country. While IP protection laws are not the same in China as they are in the United States, you may still benefit from Chinese legal provisions such as the design patent.
If you are not familiar with Chinese design patents, now is a good time to learn how they help foreign entrepreneurs.
Design patents have a strong protection rate
A design patent has a good chance of holding up in a Chinese court. According to the Chinese Business Review, design patents have a 42 percent retention rate in Chinese courts. Design patents also have a better chance of remaining valid compared to Chinese utility model patents.
Processing requirements may be simple
Applying for a design patent should not be burdensome. Generally, business owners do not have to spend much on the application and Chinese authorities do not closely examine a patent before granting it. The approval time is also usually fast, no longer than a few weeks or months. Once you have your patent, you should enjoy protection for at least 10 years.
Design patents can cover function
Chinese design patents may also protect the functionality of a patented design as well as its appearance. Therefore, a Chinese court could protect you if another party infringed on one of your mechanical products. In addition, a Chinese court may find another patent has infringed on yours if it is similar to your patent and not only identical.
A design patent is not your only option. You may also explore additional options such as trade dress to guard your IP in China. The stronger your protection, the greater chance you have to prevail if you must protect your rights in a Chinese court.