On 15 June 2018 the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) announced that the following official fees would be waived as of 1 August 2018:

  • the patent registration fee – Rmb200 (around $30) for an invention patent or Rmb150 (around $23) for a utility or design patent;
  • the printing fee for the Patent Gazette – Rmb50 (around $8);
  • the fee for changing the bibliographic data of a patent agency – Rmb50 (around $8); and
  • the transmittal fee for a Patent Cooperation Treaty application where the SIPO is the receiving office – Rmb500 (around $76).

In addition, if a patent applicant or patentee meets the criteria for annuity reduction as set out in Article 3 of the Measures on the Reduction of Patent Official Fees,(1) the reduction period will be extended from six years (calculated from the year of grant) to 10 years. Although it does not rule out foreign applicants or patentees, this practice is commonly perceived as merely applicable to domestic applicants (small businesses or low-income individuals). It remains to be seen what documentation the agency will require a foreign applicant to submit when applying for annuity reduction in practice.

Further, as of 1 August 2018, where an invention patent application has entered into a substantive examination procedure and a response has not yet been filed, the applicant is entitled to request a refund of 50% of the official fee for substantive examination if an application of withdrawal is filed of the applicant's own accord before the expiration of the statutory time limit set for the response to the first office action. The refund may be up to Rmb1,250 (around $189).

The above measures are intended to alleviate the financial burden on applicants.

For further information on this topic please contact Ning Zheng at Wanhuida Peksung by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000) or email (mail@peksung.com). The Wanhuida Peksung website can be accessed at www.wanhuida.com and www.peksung.com.

Endnotes

(1) A patent applicant may apply for the reduction of the aforementioned official fees if they are:

  • an individual with an average monthly income lower than Rmb3,500 (or an annual income lower than Rmb42,000) last year;
  • a business entity with a taxable income lower than Rmb300,000 last year; or
  • a public institution, non-governmental organisation or non-profitable research institute.

Where two or more individuals or business entities that are joint patent applicants apply for a reduction of official fees, these individuals or business entities must conform to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

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