According to the Patent Law, the SIPO is the authority to receive and examine patent applications for invention, utility model and design.
Applicants can file applications directly with the SIPO by hand delivery or by post, or indirectly via the local Receiving Office. Applications can also be filed electronically via the government website of the Office (www.cponline.gov.cn).
The SIPO conducts examination on applications received, and grants patents to those meeting the requirements of the Patent Law. Among the three kinds of patents, invention patents are granted after substantive examination, with a term of 20 years, and utility model and design patents are granted just after preliminary examination, with a term of 10 years, all terms calculated from the filing date.
An applicant shall submit the following documents when filing an application:
(1) for invention, the request, the claims, the description, with accompanied drawings if appropriate, the abstract, and the drawing accompanying the abstract if appropriate; and
(2) for utility model, the request, the claims, the description, with accompanied drawings, the abstract, and the drawing accompanying the abstract; and
(3) for design, the request, the pictures or photographs of the design, and brief explanation of the design.
The flow of an application for invention, utility model, and design is shown in the following chart.
The volume of Chinese patent applications increases year by year ever since the entering into force of the Patent Law on April 1, 1985. In recent 5 years, the average annual increasing rate is 15% . The applications received in 2011 amounted to about 1,633,347 , and about 960,513 patents were granted at the same period. Until December 31, 2015, the volume of patent applications ever received by the SIPO reaches about2,798,500, and patents granted about1,718,192.