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Topping the world in patent applications

Wang Xin
Updated: Mar 4,2015 11:01 AM     China Daily

In 2014 China continued to rank top in the world in invention patent filings for the fourth consecutive year, according to the latest data from the State Intellectual Property Office.

Some 928,000 applications for invention patents were filed with SIPO in 2014, an increase of 12.5 percent from a year earlier, “representing steady and sound growth momentum”, Gan Shaoning, deputy commissioner of SIPO, told a recent press conference.

Compared with the other two types of patents - utility models and industrial designs - invention patents have more stringent requirements for approval.

More than one-third of filings went for invention patents, indicating an increasing capacity for innovation in the country, Gan noted.

In 2014 alone, about 232,000 invention patents were granted in China, nearly 70 percent of them from domestic applicants, about 20,000 more than the year before.

“Companies are the country’s mainstay in IP creation and play a decisive role in proprietary innovation” as they accounted for 60.5 percent of domestic invention patent applications last year, Gan said.

Telecom giant Huawei Technologies retained the No 1 ranking on the Chinese mainland for invention patents granted in 2014.

Its peer ZTE, also headquartered in Shenzhen, replaced State-owned energy company Sinopec with the second-most patents granted last year.

Four of the top companies are headquartered in Beijing, helping the municipality outrank all provincial economies for inventions.

With five companies among the top of the list, Shenzhen ranked in second place by administrative jurisdiction followed by Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai.

The five locales contributed 85 percent of international patent applications filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2014. Guangdong ranked No 1 with more than 13,300 filings.

Of the 26,169 PCT filings with SIPO last year, more than 91 percent were from domestic applicants, an increase of 14.2 percent from 2013, showing an accelerated pace by Chinese companies in going abroad, said industry observers.

Gong Yalin, director of SIPO’s planning and development department, said that Chinese rights owners have more invention patents than their overseas peers in 22 of the 35 technological categories named by the World Intellectual Property Organization, including food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, materials, metallurgy, civil engineering and bio-technologies.

Yet domestic inventors have much room to improve in sectors such as transportation and optics, Deputy Commissioner Gan said.

Foreign-filed invention patents that have been maintained at least 10 years in China are three times the number filed by domestic patent owners.

Gong said paying to maintain a patent shows it has quality and value.

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