This article, authored by intellectual property partner Xiang Wang and intellectual property senior associate Shelley Zhang, discusses the best ways to approach the patent system in China. An excerpt from the article is included below.
Some argue that local government agencies have implemented such favorable policies with self-interested motives, as increases in the number of patent filings would potentially be looked upon favorably in performance evaluations. Some agencies are now even requiring a minimum number of patent filings for each company. Some local government agencies are now allowing the use of either invention patents or utility models, instead of just the substantively examined invention patents, in the qualification process for "high and new technology enterprise" status.
This is significant because utility-model and design applications can be granted just a few months after filing because they do not go through a substantive examination by the State Intellectual Property Office. Invention patents, on the other hand, are subject to substantive examination so applicants must wait a lot longer before they are granted. So some companies have been allowed to take advantage of the benefits of high-new tech enterprises (which includes, among other things, tax subsidies and local residence certificates for employees) by using the lower-quality utility model patents only. These problems have led some to call for reform, or even the outright elimination, of such local government support.