China has proposed new patent laws that may make filing a patent in the country harder, but challenging a domestic patent easier. One of the new laws would require a foreign firm to file a Chinese patent first for any invention originating in the country. Many other countries have a similar requirement. However, the penalty under the Chinese law would be stricter and would allow the validity of a patent that is not filed first in China to be challenged and sales potentially blocked. Another change in patent regulations would implement a standard of “absolute novelty,” making it harder to obtain a Chinese patent for inventions patented abroad. Many companies currently patent inventions in their home countries due to a greater familiarity with the language and regulations. Some firms even move Chinese researchers to their home country temporarily in order to patent products. Under the new law, companies would need to make patent filings in Chinese, increasing their reliance on a relatively small number of lawyers trained in the field.

Source: Financial Times

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