Time points that cannot be missed in the Chinese patent application process

Borsam IP
Borsam IP

In the process of a Chinese patent application, there are often some important time points hidden for the applicant to submit the initiative amendments or make rectification, etc. And reasonable use of these time points can often save some losses in the process of patent application. So, let's follow the footstep of editor to see what are the important time points.


1. Time for submitting a copy of certified priority documents

According to the Patent Examination Guidelines, “the copy of the priority document shall be submitted within three months from the filing date of the subsequent application. If the said copy has not been submitted within the time limit, the examiner shall issue the Notification that Claim to Priority Deemed Not to Have Been Made”.

It means that if the applicant fails to prepare a copy of the priority document in time when the 12-month priority deadline is approaching, he can submit it within three months after filing the application.


2. Time for making initiative amendments

The Patent Examination Guidelines also points out that at the time when a request for examination as to substance is made, and when, within the time limit of three months after the receipt of the notification of the patent administration department under the State Council on the entry into the examination as to substance of the application, the applicant for a patent for invention may amend the application for a patent for invention on his or its own initiative.

Within two months from the date of filing, the applicant for a patent for utility model or design may amend the application for a patent for utility model or design on its or his own initiative.

It can be seen that the applicant of the invention patent application can submit initiative amendments when submitting the substantive examination request and within 3 months from the date of the Notification of Entering the Substantive Examination Procedure; and the applicant of the utility model patent or design patent application can submit the initiative amendments within 2 months from the filing date, but it should be noted that the content of amendments cannot exceed the scope of the original specification and claims.


3. Time for filing the divisional application

The applicant can file a divisional application while the initial application is pending, specifically, no later than the following time points:

1) The applicant shall file a divisional application no later than the expiration of two months (i. e., the time limit for going through the formalities of registration) from the date of receiving the Notification to Grant Patent Right to the initial application issued by the Patent Office. After the expiration of the above time limit, or where the initial application has been rejected, or the initial application has been withdrawn, or is deemed to have been withdrawn and the right has not been restored, no divisional application shall be filed in general.

2) With regard to the initial application to which the examiner has issued the decision of rejection, the applicant may file a divisional application within three months from the date that the applicant receives the decision of rejection regardless of whether the applicant requests for reexamination or not.

3) The applicant may also file a divisional application after requesting for reexamination or during the initiation of the administrative litigation against the reexamination decision.

4) Where an applicant files another divisional application based on an already filed divisional application, the submission date of another divisional application shall be examined according to the initial application. But if the examiner issues a Notification to Make Divisional Application or an office action indicating the unity defect in the divisional application, and the applicant can submit another divisional application under the examiner’s examination opinion. The time limit of submitting another divisional application should be based on the divisional application with unity defects. 


4. Time for supplementing the certificate of deposit

With regard to patents related to biological materials, the applicant may submit a certificate of deposit and a certificate of the viability of the biological material issued by the depositary institution within 4 months from the filing date.


Please note that CNIPA will not issue notification for the above time points, the applicant needs to keep them in mind or pay attention to the notice of the patent agency. In the process of a patent application, the applicant should make reasonable use of these opportunities to avoid unnecessary troubles for your patent.