According to the Order of Director No.68 issued by State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO), the newly revised Patent Examination Guidelines will be implemented on 1 May 2014.
The products having graphical user interface (GUI) is a patentable subject matter in the newly revised Patent Examination Guidelines concerning industrial design. This kind of product is excluded outside design protection previously.
GUI means interface for human-computer interaction displayed in graphics on the display device of product. GUI does not include such patterns as that not concerning human-computer interaction and that not concerning realization of the function of the product.
The following categories of products having GUI are acceptable as design patents including:
. Product having special device interface;
. Product having universal operating system interface;
. Product having application program interface;
. Product having webpage application interface, and
. Product having icon.
Please note that not all products having GUI is allowed by design. The GUI involved product for design should be operable in human-computer interaction with GUI so as to realize the function of the product. According to this principle, the GUI itself is not patentable as a design.
The following product having GUI is not acceptable as design
. Product having graphics-textures typesetting of webpage of website;
. Product having wallpaper (as well as screen saver animation) of electronic screen;
. Product having boot/shutdown animation, and
. Product having game interface.
Design applications involving a product having GUI can be submitted with SIPO as of May 1, 2014, and these applications can enjoy an earlier foreign priority date if available. You are drawn attention that partial designs are still excluded from design patent under the present Patent law of China and SIPO does not make any exception for GUI involved design applications.