Usually, a First Office Action would be issued after the application that has entered the procedure of substantive examination.
Time limit for Response
For a First Office Action, the time limit for response is set to 4 months. For further Office Action(s), the time limit for response is set to 2 months. Besides, there is one opportunity to extend the deadline by 1 or 2 months for each Office Action. The said extension could be applied with surcharge.
In response to an Office Action, the applicant is allowed to amend the application documents under Article 33 of Chinese Patent Law and Rule 51.3 of Implementing Regulations of Chinese Patent Law.
In accordance with Article 33, the applicant may amend the application documents. Nevertheless, the amendment to an application for an invention or a utility model may not go beyond the scope of disclosure contained in the description and claims as initially filed, the amendment to an application for a design may not go beyond the scope of the disclosure as shown in the drawings or photographs as initially filed.
The amendment to an international application submitted by the applicant in accordance with the provisions of PCT shall also be in conformity with the provision of Article 33.
In accordance with Rule 51.3, the applicant may amend the application documents after receipt of an Office Action. Nevertheless, the amendment shall be made to the objection or rejection as indicated in the Office Action.
In practice, some amendments are not allowed since that they are not made to the objection or rejection as indicated in the Office Action, although they do not go beyond the scope of disclosure as initially filed. Several examples of such amendments are listed below.
- Removing one or more technical features from an independent claim voluntarily, leading to an expansion of the scope for protection as claimed,
- Changing one or more technical features of an independent claim are changed voluntarily, leading to an expansion of the scope for protection as claimed.
- Taking one or more technical features or technical solutions, which is/are recited only in the description and lacks unity with the subject matter as claimed initially, as the subject matter of an amended claim voluntarily,
- Introducing a new independent claim voluntarily, whose technical solution is not present in the claims as initially filed,
- Introducing a new dependent claim voluntarily, whose technical solution is not present in the claims as initially filed.