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Proposal of Draft Amendment to the Design Patent Substantive Examination Guidelines Announced by the Intellectual Property Office



The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announced a proposal of draft amendment to the Design Patent Substantive Examination Guidelines ("the Guidelines") on 2 November 2015 and will initiate public hearings to further discuss the proposal. The main changes proposed in the draft amendment are as follows:
 
I)       Adding the following provisions to Section 1, Chapter 1 of the Guidelines, entitled "Principles of Disclosures for the Specification and Drawings":
 
(1)     If the design patent application does not claim a color(s), the drawings should be presented by ink drawings, greyscale computer graphics or black-and-white photos.
(2)     The boundary is a virtual imaginary line and belongs to the portion not claimed in the design patent application.
 
II)      Adding the following provisions to Chapter 6 of the Guidelines, entitled "Amendments, Post-grant Amendments and Correction of Translation Errors":
 
(1)     The patent scope of a design patent is determined by "the portion claimed in the design application" illustrated in the drawings. Such patent scope can be adjusted by amendments based on the disclosure of the as-filed specification and drawings of the design patent application.
(2)     If the drawings cannot clearly differentiate "the portion claimed in the design patent application" from "the portion not claimed in the design patent application," amendments with an added boundary in the form of broken lines, such as a dot-dash line, can be made for the purpose of confirming the boundary of the scope.
 
III)    Adding the following provisions to Chapter 7 of the Guidelines, entitled "Division and Conversion of Patent Applications ":
 
(1)    The applicant can file a divisional application(s) to cover the design(s) which is/are disclosed in the as-filed specification or drawings but not claimed in the patent application, such as the one(s) disclosed in the reference views, or to cover the design(s) which is/are clearly illustrated by the broken lines.

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