State Intellectual Property Office Actually Only Be in Charge of Patent Matters in China

The Introduction to the IPR Administrations in China

We find that it remains unclear to most foreign friends that the division among the administrations managing IPR in China. Actually, it also puzzles local people for it’s hardly to judge the specific function of the administration from its name, for example, the State Intellectual Property Office is in charge of patent management, the industry and commerce administration for trademark, and the Copy Right Office, the managing organ for copyright, is also known as the administration of press and publication. (the image above is the logo of the administrations mentioned in this post)

I. Trademark

In China, the administrative management of trademark is charged by the State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic and local administrations around China. At the same time, the State Administrations has set up the Trademark Office and Trademark Review and Adjudication Board for the issues related to the trademark.

The trademark granting is subject to the certificated issued by the administrative organ, which is namely the Trademark Office set up by the State Administration. Meanwhile, in addition to the trademark application, registration and granting, the Trademark Office is also in charge with part trademark disputes, like trademark opposition or cancellation, etc.

In addition, the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board is the upper-level unit to the Trademark Office, which could overthrow the decision or adjudication by the  office, such as the review on the office’s refusal on applications or opposition adjudications. Also the Tradmark Review and Adjudication Board is the organ being responsible for the preliminary examination and some disputes over the registered trademarks. Finally, for any infringement to your trademark, the owner shall make the report to the local administration for industry and commerce, for the trademark division affiliated to the administration is the legal enforcement and punishment decision organ.

II. Patent

In China, the administration in charge of the management, registration, granting of patents is the State Intellectual Property Office, who however only has the administration authority over patent instead of all IPR matters as its name may imply. Before 1998, the name of the administration is the Patent Office, which was changed to the State Intellectual Property Office afterwards, for China government planned to unified the administration over patent, trademark and copyright, which however was not advanced. The function of the State Interllctual Property is similar to the Trademark Office, which only covers the matters concerning the patent application, registration, substantive examination and granting, but not the patent dispute settlement.

There has also been established the Patent Review Board n China to review the decisions or adjudications made by the State Intellectual Property Office and the unit for the preliminary examination on the invalid patent application. For any counterfeit on infringement against the registered patent, the owner may report to the local patent offices for it has the power over the punishment.

III. Copyright

In China, the administration in charge of the copyright management is the Copyright Office and the Administration of the Press and Publication, which are actually the same department but known in different names when functioning in different fields. The writer may enjoy its copyright when the works are completed, therefore the main function of the administration is to manage the copyright market. The main responsibilities of the administration include the copyright related legislature, the management on copyright registration, and the punishment decision on the copyright infringement. The main job of the Administration of Press and Publication is focused on publishing market, such as the issuance of the edition number of books and journals, publishing issued license and the combat against the illegal publications. If a copyright owner found that the software, books, audio and video products are pirated, he can complain to local copyright Office.

IV. Trade Secret

In China, there is no specific administration in charge of trade secret and the institution to distinguish whether certain information belongs to the trade secret. It will be identified by court according to the specific case in trade secret dispute. For obvious trade secret infringement, according to “Law of the People”s Republic of China for Countering Unfair Competition “, the right owner can complain to Industry & commercial Office which means the administrative enforcement of law  of the infringement of trade secret is charged by local industrial and commercial department.

Other recommended posts on our website:
1. The Actual Term of Trademark Registration in China
2. How to Apply for the Trademark Record in China Custom
3. How to improve the success rate of trademark registration in China?
4. Matters for Attention in Trademark Refusal Review in China
5. Introduction of China’s Legal System of Trademark Renewal
6. Introduction on the Regulations concerning the Capital Contribution in IPR or Domain Name in China
7. The Copyright Registration in China Could Be FREE?
8. China Copyright Protection Term Longer than EU’s?
9. Matters for Attention in the Patent Preliminary Injunction Application in China(I)

Author: Mr. Luo Yanjie
Attorney-at-law of DeBund Law Offices
Co-author: Mr. You Yunting
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Bridge IP Law Commentary
Partner & Attorney-at-law of Shanghai DeBund Law Offices
Email:, Tel: 8621-5213-4900,
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Bridge IP Law Commentary is a website focus on the introduction of commercial laws in China, especially the intellectual property laws. All the posts here are our original works. And all news or cases referred here are from public reports, and our comments or analysis are of due diligence, neutrality and impartiality, representing our own opinions only and are our original works. You may contact us shall you have any opinions or suggestions.

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