Navigating Design Patent Protection in China Under the Hague System

 Borsam IP

Filing a design application under the Hague system is a relatively convenient and efficient foreign filing method for design patents. Applicants file a single application with WIPO, designating the countries where they want protection. This is more efficient than separate applications in each country.


China joined the Hague System in May 2022. With China now a contracting party, Hague application filings designating China are increasing. Some of these have already been granted protection. For applicants using the Hague route for China, three key documents are important to track.


1. International registration certificate: indicating the main content of international registration


The International Registration Certificate is an important document indicating that the international registration of the design has officially taken effect. This certificate shows key details such as the international registration number, international registration date, design holder, drawings or samples of the design, and the designated contracting parties, etc. For China, this certificate serves a similar purpose to the filing receipt from a direct CNIPA application. It provides proof the design is registered pending examination in China.


2. Statement of Grant of Protection: the official statement of protection transmitted by CNIPA to WIPO


This statement represents the formal decision of CNIPA to grant substantive protection in China. It confirms the design is officially patented in China, specifying the protection start date. In this statement, information such as international registration number, design name, rights holder, and drawings or samples of the design will be indicated clearly.


In addition, if the contracting country doesn’t make the above-mentioned statement of grant of protection and doesn’t issue a notification of refusal within the prescribed time limit, the international design will be deemed to obtain protection automatically.


3. Announcement of grant of patent right: CNIPA announces the granted design to the public


Once CNIPA finishes examination and grants patent rights, the design is published in the official journal of CNIPA. This gives public notice of the patent grant in China. The announcement date is the official effective date for patent rights in China. The patentee, inventor, and other information of the design are expressed in the official language of the International Bureau. It should be noted that due to format restrictions, only one drawing image is published rather than the full set.



In summary, the applicants who file an international design under the Hague System should monitor these three documents to validate their design protection status in China. Unlike filing the design application directly in China, there's no single certificate from CNIPA proving the Hague registration is effective in China. If needed, applicants can request a copy of the international application patent register for design or a patent evaluation report from CNIPA as evidence.