Thursday, September 8 2022   \  Published by Foundin IP.

Chinese Utility Models: Junk or Treasure?

Chinese Utility Models: Junk or Treasure?

Written by Haoyu ZHOU (Elliot) and Hui WANG While people are familiar with Chinese invention patents, not many people know about Chinese utility models. Utility models are actually an important type of patents that could serve as a good alternative or supplement to the invention patents. However, because many jurisdictions have no utility model patent system, this type of patents have been largely overlooked by many companies and IP practitioners around the world.

There are quite a few differences between invention patents and utility models. The most prominent one is probably “no substantive examination” for utility models. Largely due to the lack of examination, many people naturally thought that the qualities of utility models would be lower than the invention patents, and some even believe that Chinese utility models are a harbor for “junk patents”.

However, from our perspective, if utility model patents can be used smartly, they are powerful weapons that would be even more stable and more enforceable than the invention patents. The benefits of utility models have been underestimated, especially underestimated by foreign entities from countries or regions where no utility model patent system is available (for example, the US, EP, Canada, UK, just name a few).

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of Chinese utility models from three aspects: prosecution, invalidation and enforcement, in a hope that the readers can better understand the Chinese utility model system and how best to maximize their benefits of practicing utility models in China. Read more

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