In our previous articles, we have provided some general introduction of China’s patent types – invention, utility model and design. Here, we will offer a more detailed introduction of Chinese design application.
Definition of Chinese Design Application and Documents Required
According to Article 2 of the Patent Law of China, “design” means a new design of the shape, pattern, or a combination thereof, as well as a combination of the color, shape and pattern, of the entirety or a portion of a product, which creates an aesthetic feeling and is fit for industrial application.
2. Documents required for Design Application in China
According to Rule 27 Chapter 3 Part I of the Guidelines for Patent Examination, documents required to be submitted for a design application in China include Request, Description and Drawings.
Duration of Design Patent Protection
The Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Law has also increased the term of a design patent in China from 10 years to 15 years from the date of filing.
Name of Product Incorporating Design
1. Function of the product name
The name of the product incorporating the design may explain the category of the product as shown in the drawings or photographs. The name of the product incorporating the design shall be in accordance with design as shown in the drawings or photographs and indicate the design for which protection is sought accurately and concisely.
2. Number of Words
The name of the product incorporating the design shall generally contain no more than 20 Chinese characters.
3. Rules of product name
The name of the product shall generally be in conformity with the name listed in the subclass of the International Classification for Industrial Design. The use of the following names shall generally be avoided:
1) names of product containing the name of a person, a place, a nation, an entity, a trademark, a code, a model or a historical age;
2) improper generic or abstract names, such as “stationery”, “cooking utensils”, “musical instruments”, “article for building”, etc.;
3) names describing the internal structure, technical effect of the product, such as “oil-saving engine”, “human body height-increasing shoe-pad”, “automobile with new type of engine”, etc.;
4) names with specification, size, scale or numerical unit of the product, such as “21-inch TV set”, “medium-sized bookshelf”, “one pair of gloves”, etc.; and
5) names in foreign language or without specific meaning in Chinese language, such as “kelaisi wine bottle”, but words well known and having specific meaning can be used, such as “DVD player”, “LED light”, “USB line concentrator”, etc.
Drawings or Photographs
1. Types of Views
1) So for as the product with a three-dimensional design is concerned, if the essential features of the design of the product involve six sides, the applicant shall submit orthographic projection of six-side views; if the essential features of the design of the product involve the view of one side or several sides only, the applicant shall submit at least orthographic projection view and space diagram of the side concerned, and indicate the reason of the omission of the view in the brief explanation. Where the views of a three-dimensional product have any of the following circumstances:
the back view may be omitted if it is identical or symmetrical with the front view;
the left view (or the right view) may be omitted if it is identical or symmetrical with the right view (or the left view);
the top view (or the bottom view) may be omitted if it is identical or symmetrical with the bottom view (or the top view);
the bottom view may be omitted in the case of the large-scale apparatus, or apparatus with fixed position or the articles with bottoms not often be seen.
2）So far as the product with plane design is concerned, if the essential features of the design of the product involve the view of one side only, the applicant may submit the orthographic projection view of the relevant side only; if the essential features of the design of the product involve the view of two sides, the applicant shall submit the orthographic projection views of the two relevant sides.
3) The applicant shall also submit, if necessary, the exploded view, cutaway view, sectional view, enlarged view and view of state of variation.
4) The applicant may submit reference views. Reference views are usually used to indicate the purpose of use, method or places of use of the product incorporating the design.
5) The color includes black-white-grey series and multicolor series. Where an applicant for design has a declaration “seeking concurrent protection of color” in the brief explanation, the color of the drawings shall be fast and not easy to fade.
6) Combination product refers to a single product consisting of a number of components. It could be divided into assembled product with only one option of assembly, combination product needless of assembly or assembled product with more than one option of assembly. In respect of the assembled product with only one option of assembly, views showing the state of combination shall be submitted; in respect of the combination product needless of assembly or assembled product with more than one option of assembly, views showing each component shall be submitted.
7) Where the outer layer and inner layer of the design of transparent articles have two or more shapes, patterns and colors that are not expressed separately.
2. Title of Views and Marking Thereof
The titles of the six-side views are front view, back view, left view, right view, top view and bottom view. The side corresponding to the front view shall be the side which faces consumers when in use or which can best show the overall design of the product.
3. Making of Drawings
1) The drawings shall be made in accordance with the provisions on normal projection, width of lines, and section mark of the state standards of technical drawing and mechanical drawing. Solid lines of even thickness shall be used to show the shape of design.
2) Shadow lines, indicative lines, dotted lines, central lines, size lines and dot dash lines shall not be used to show the shape of a design. Two parallel double-dotted lines or natural geosutures can be used to show the omitted part of a long and thin product.
3) The indicative lines may be used to show the section place and direction, enlarged parts, and transparent parts without unnecessary lines and marks. The drawings shall show the design clearly.
4) The drawing may be drawn with the aid of drawing instruments including computer. Pencil, crayon or ball-pen shall not be used. Blueprint, sketching, mimeograph shall also not be used. Where the drawing of the design is made with computer, its resolution shall meet the requirements of being distinct.
4. Taking of Photographs
1) The photographs shall be clear, and avoid vagueness resulting from focusing problems, etc.
2) The background of the photographs shall be plain, and avoid showing other contents except the product incorporating the design. The product and the background shall have appropriate distinction in brightness to show the design clearly.
3) The photographs shall be taken in conformity with the rules of exact projection and avoid distortion caused by perspective.
4) The photographs shall avoid strong light, blinking, shadow, reflection, etc.
5) The product in the photographs should not be allowed to indicate generally accompanied with additional inside filling or liner, unless the additional inside filling or liner must be kept in order to show the design clearly.
According to Rule 28, a brief explanation shall include the following contents:
1) the title of the product incorporating the design. The title of the product indicated in the brief explanation shall be in accordance with the title of the product in the request;
2) the use of the product incorporating the design. The use of the product which is helpful to ascertain the classification shall be indicated in the brief explanation. As regards product has multiple uses, the multiple uses shall be indicated in the brief explanation;
3) the essential features of the design. The essential features mean that the shape, pattern or their combination, or the combination of the color with shape or pattern, or the position, which is different from prior design. The description of the essential features shall be compendious; and
4) which drawing or photograph is designated to best show the essential features of the design. The designated drawing or photograph is used for the publication in the Patent Gazette.
5) protection for color is claimed or a view is omitted.
Where protection for color is sought in a design patent application, it shall be claimed in the brief explanation.
Where a view of the product incorporating the design is omitted, the applicant shall generally indicate the reason of the omission of the view, such as a view is omitted because it is symmetrical or identical with another view; if it is hard to indicate the reason, may only indicate the view which is omitted, for example, a large-scale apparatus lacks bottom view, it may be described as “bottom view is omitted”.
6) Where an application for a patent for design is filed relating to several similar designs of the same product, one of the designs shall be designated as the main design in the brief explanation.
7) As regards plane product such as printed cloth, wallpaper, shall describe the unit pattern of the plane product which is connected in two sides or four sides and has no fixed limits if necessary.
8) As regards a long and thin product, shall indicate the length is omitted in the drawings or photographs if necessary.
9) Where the product incorporating the design is made of transparent material or new material which creates special visual effect, it shall be indicated in the brief explanation if necessary.