SIPO Revises the Chinese Patent Examination Guidelines

The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) has issued on 28 February 2017 the Decision on Revision of the Guidelines for Patent Examination, which will take effect on 1 April 2017.
The following are some of the new provisions brought by this revision:
  • a claim relating to business models is patentable, if it includes not only matter of business rules or methods but also technical features;
  • Ÿ "an invention relating to computer programs" is a patentable subject matter, and an apparatus claim relating to computer programs may include not only software but also hardware;
  • experimental data submitted after the date of filing shall be examined by the examiner, provided that the technical effect proved by the supplementary experimental data can be derived by a person skilled in the art from the disclosure of the relevant patent  application;
  • in respect of the manners of post-grant amendment to patent documents, "combination of claims" is removed, while "correction of obvious errors in the claims" as well as "further limitation for a claim" are allowed;
  • regarding patent examination information disclosure, for the file of an invention patent application which has been published and whose grant of patent right has not been announced, the disclosure has been expanded to cover such information as notifications, search reports, and decisions issued to the applicant during the substantive examination procedure; as for the file of a patent application whose grant of patent right has been announced, information disclosure has been extended to cover priority documents and search reports; and
  • the specific time limits for suspension of procedures due to execution assistance of property preservation have been removed, instead it is stated that the time limits be in line with the duration of property preservation as stated in the civil order and the Notification on Assistance in Execution.