1. Hire a registered patent agency and patent attorney. The patent agency should have a Patent Agency Registration Certificate with a registration number issued by National Intellectual Property Administration, PRC (CNIPA), and the patent attorney should have a Patent Attorney License of PRC with a license number authorized by CNIPA, and issued by All China Patent Attorneys Association.
In hiring the patent agency and patent attorney, you may need to sign with the patent agency a service agreement specifying work requirements, time limits, service fees and payment method, confidentiality and other relevant aspects of the service.
2. Providing the following documents and information to the patent agency:
A patent specification comprising a description, a set of claims, a set of drawings, an abstract;
The name, address and nationality of the applicant and inventor;
The filing date, country and serial number of the priority application filed previously in a foreign country, if any.
A scanned copy of a power of attorney signed by the applicant;
3. Instructing the patent agency to prepare and file the patent application in due course, and pay the government fees and the service fees.
If a priority application has been filed in a foreign country, and the applicant wish to claim the priority, the Chinese patent application needs to be filed within 12 months after the filing date of the priority application.
If a PCT application has been filed, the Chinese patent application (i.e., entry into China of the PCT application) needs to be filed with 30 months after the filing date of the PCT application, or the priority date of the PCT application, if any.
Generally, a request for substantive examination may be submitted simultaneously; or it may be submitted separately anytime within 3 years after the filing date (or priority date, if any).
Generally, a request for prompt publication may be submitted simultaneously, in which case the application will be published immediately after the preliminary examination is passed, generally at about half a year after the filing date; otherwise, the application will be published at 18 months after the filing date.
4. Waiting and receiving the following notifications and office actions issued by the Chinese Patent Office:
Notification of acceptance of the patent application, issued on the filing date;
Notification of passage of the preliminary examination, issued at about half a year after the filing date, if no formality issues are raised.
Notification of publication of the patent application, issued together with the notification of passage of the preliminary examination if prompt publication has been requested, or issued at about 18 months after the filing date if no prompt publication has been requested.
Notification of entry into substantive examination, issued together with the notification of publication of the patent application if a request for substantive examination has been submitted simultaneously as filing of the patent application, or issued several days after a request for substantive examination has been submitted separately.
Office Actions (generally 1 to 3 or more) and Rejection Decision (if any), with the first office action issued at several months or more after entry into substantive examination, the last office action (or rejection decision, if any) issued several years later.
5. Responding to office actions or filing a reexamination request with the Patent Reexamination Board against the rejection decision.
6. Receiving a grant notification and paying the annuities up to the date of grant if a response to an office action is accepted, then waiting for and receiving the granted letters patent, or receiving a rejection decision if the response to the last office action is not accepted.
7. Submitting a reexamination decision with the Patent Reexamination Board if a rejection decision is received.
8. Possibly receiving a reexamination notification from the Patent Reexamination Board, and responding to the reexamination notification.
9. Receiving a reexamination decision from the Patent Reexamination Board, repealing the rejection decision and returning the patent application to the patent office for further examination, or maintaining the rejection decision.
10. If the reexamination decision has repealed the rejection decision, waiting for and receiving the result of the further examination, probably a grant notification, and doing as in step 6.
11. If the reexamination decision has maintained the rejection decision, abandoning the patent application, or filing a lawsuit against the reexamination decision before Beijing Intellectual Property Court within 3 months after receiving the reexamination decision maintaining the rejection decision.
12. Paying the remaining annuities annually for a granted patent.