China first enacted its Patent Law (“CPL”) in 1984, and thereafter amended it three times, in 1992, 2000 and 2008. On October 17, 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the long-awaited fourth amendment to the CPL (the “Fourth Amended CPL”). This Fourth Amended CPL is scheduled to take effect on June 1, 2021, with a view to strengthen the protection of legitimate rights and interests of patentees, to promote the implementation and application of patent rights in China, and to refine the overall patent granting mechanism in response to the ever-changing patent usage environment in the past decade and the increase in demand for patents from domestic and foreign enterprises. We will not go into the deeply technical aspects of the Fourth Amended CPL, but will highlight the two major conceptual changes of which foreign investors should be aware.
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