On February 6, 2013, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) published a draft amendment to the Guidelines for Examination, soliciting public comments.
The draft amendment relates to the preliminary examination of utility model applications and industrial design applications.
According to Chinese patent practice, there are no substantive examinations for utility model and design applications. However, the examination for utility model and design applications is called the preliminary examination, which is not a simple registration system. In other words, examiners do check the application, in many different aspects, as a matter of fact.
The preliminary examination may include examination on formality, non-patentable subject matter, new matter, unity, claim language, clarity, definition of (subject matter suitable for protection by) utility model, double patenting, foreign filing licences, etc. In particular, the preliminary examination also includes an examination for obvious substantive defects.
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SIPO, examination guidelines, utility models, industrial designs