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Comparing IP Examinations in U.S. and China

By Dr. D'Vorah Graeser of Graeser Associates International

Dr. D’vorah Graeser is the founder and CEO of Graeser Associates International (GAI), an international intellectual property firm specializing in the preparation, filing and prosecution of medical device, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, bioinformatics and medical software patents. GAI develops customized intellectual property strategies for companies interested in selling their ideas and products internationally.

Dr. Graeser has been a U.S. patent agent for over 15 years and has extensive experience and expertise in the biomedical field. After completing her education and post-doctoral fellowships, Dr. Graeser was hired in 1996 by one of the most renowned patent attorneys in Israel. There she worked as an intellectual property agent until 2000, when she founded her own firm, Dr. D. Graeser Ltd., a successful intellectual property firm still operating in Israel. She may be reached by email:

For companies all over the world, China is an increasingly important country to obtain patent protection. According to the Chinese Patent Office, the pace of patent application filings by foreign owned companies is accelerating rapidly. As of September 2010, one million foreign owned patent applications had been filed since 1985. Of that million, half have been filed since only 2005. With so many nationalities clamoring for these Chinese patents, itís important to understand the Chinese patent examination practice. Not only can this help companies ensure their patent is accepted, it can also expedite and lessen the costs of the process.

Best patent practice in China starts with understanding the Chinese examination process and its examinersí expectations. Also, the process varies markedly between the different types of patent applications. Below, Iíve addressed two types of Chinese patent applications: the regular patent application (equivalent to a U.S. full or utility application) and the utility model application (for which there is no U.S. equivalent).

Utility model applications do not undergo regular substantive examination and are in force for only ten years from the date of filing. However, it is possible for such applications to claim priority from an earlier application (within one year of the date of filing of this earlier application, regardless of whether ...

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