Unlike the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) which substantially increased some of its fees as of January 16, 2018[1], China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has waived[2] some of its patent fees as of August 1, 2018.  This approach aims at reducing the financial burden to applicants and patent owners, and encouraging patent filings.

Starting from August 1, 2018, SIPO has waived 1) patent registration fee of 200RMB, 2) patent publication fee of 50RMB, 3) fee for changing the recordal of patent agency and patent agent of 50RMB, and 4) PCT transmittal fee in international phase[3] of 500RMB.

Note that even if the Applicant receives the notice to pay such fees (for example patent registration fee of 200RMB and patent publication fee of 50RMB) before August 1, 2018, the Applicant, after August 1, 2018, will not need to pay them.  The applicant will still need to pay other fees due, e.g., the annuity and the patent certificate tax due in a Notice to Grant.

SIPO will also refund 50% of the examination fee (1,250 RMB of 2,500 RMB) before the expiration of the time limit to respond to the First Office Action if the applicant voluntarily withdraws the application without responding to the First Office Action. By contrast, previously no examination fee would be refunded.  Accordingly, this should encourage Applicants to cease prosecution if they receive a negative First Office Action, freeing up SIPO examination resources to  speed up prosecution of other applications.

For  patent applicants or patent owners who meet the relevant requirements of the “Measures for Reduction of Patent Fees” (“Measures” for short. Cai Shui [2016] No. 78)[4], the period for the reduction of the annual fee shall be extended to 10 years as opposed to 6 years from the date of grant. The requirements include: 1) (1) Individuals whose monthly average monthly income is less than 3,500 RMB (42,000 RMB per year); (2) Enterprises with taxable income of less than 300,000 RMB in the previous year; and/or (3) Institutions, social organizations, and non-profit scientific research institutions.

Therefore, the total amount (including filing fees, substantive examination fee for invention patent, annuities) that can be saved for an invention patent with only one applicant (85% of the total fees) is 14,320RMB (supposing the invention is issued on the third year from the filing date), and 9,945RMB for utility model patent (supposing the utility model is issued on the year it is filed).  The total amount can be saved for the invention patent with at least two applicants (70% of the total fees) is 12,530RMB (supposing the invention is issued on the third year from the filing date), and 8,190RMB for utility model patent (supposing the utility model is issued on the year it is filed) .

[1] https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule

[2] http://www.sipo.gov.cn/zfgg/1125525.htm

[3] http://www.sipo.gov.cn/zhfwpt/zlsqzn/zlsqfy/gjzscqjsfgs.pdf

[4] http://pjzx.mof.gov.cn/zhengwuxinxi/zhengceguiding/201611/t20161109_2454301.html