Over the seven-year time span from 1999 to 2006, the number of domestic invention patents filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) rose at an average 32 percent a year from 15,600 to 122,000, Zhang Chengliang recently wrote in www.chinadaily.com. In comparison, the average annual growth rate of patents filed by U.S. residents with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) was 6.5 percent. And the current 10-year National Patent Development Strategy predicts that Chinese patent applications will almost double between 2010 and 2015.
Interesting, too, is the fact that a recent study by the Globalization and Economic Policy Center (GEP) shows that the top 10 Chinese manufacturing companies that filed patents with SIPO and USPTO between 1985 and 2006 accounted for more than 75 percent of all patents for the former agency and about 85 percent for USPTO.
“In other words, the Chinese patent explosion has been driven by a small group of genuinely global players that, as their USPTO filings attest, are highly integrated into the worldwide economy,” Chengliang reports. “The firms patenting in both China and the US are big, young, more R&D-intensive than their peers, largely export-oriented and, above all, have a strong focus on information and communications technology equipment.”