Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

Revisions to Patent Law Increase Coverage of High-Tech Industry

By Zhen Danmei, Shan Yuxiao and Pan Che

(Beijing) — Changes to China’s patent laws to include business models and software will offer greater protection to high-tech businesses in the country, experts said.

The revisions to the Guidelines for Patent Examination will extend proprietary-rights protection to business models and solutions with “technical characteristics.” Analysts said the changes will arm technology firms with a weapon to safeguard their legal rights.

Current laws do not protect business models and solutions, resulting in a situation in which “innovators don’t have a chance to profit from ideas,” Wang Honglei, a Guangzhou-based lawyer, told Caixin. “Because once a new business model is created, a raft of firms will follow suit, even plagiarize.”

The revisions, set to take effect April 1, also cover patent examination, modification and disclosure, according to the State Intellectual Property Office of China. Analysts said the changes will make it easier for innovators to apply for patents and modify them when necessary.

Wang said the amendments relating to software patents will increase protection of software, have a huge effect on the industry and facilitate related lawsuits.

“From now on, software innovation will be better protected, and the cost of software is likely to rise, as consumer attitudes to paid software change. It’s possible to form a ‘virtuous circle’ to further boost the creation of good software,” Wang said.

“The problem we now face is one of implementation. Although we can draw on experience from other countries, we still need to localize practices for our use.”

Contact reporter Pan Che (chepan@caixin.com)

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