China has become an intellectual property powerhouse with its invention patent applications maintaining a stable growth, said Hu Wenhui, spokesperson for the State Intellectual Property Office, at a recent news conference.
The number of patent filings in China reached 1.38 million last year, up 14.2 percent from 2016, it was announced at the event. About 327,000 invention patents were granted to domestic companies and individuals in the same year, up 8.3 percent.
By the end of last year, the Chinese mainland had a total of 1.36 million valid invention patents, which equates to an average of 9.8 patents for every 10,000 people.
SIPO received more than 51,000 international applications via the Patent Cooperation Treaty last year, an increase of 12.5 percent over 2016.
Hu said the statistics showed that Chinese companies’ innovation ability is increasing, and so is their capacity to deploy patents in overseas markets.
In 2017, Chinese companies applied for 5,608 patents in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, including 2,724 applications in India and 1,354 in Russia.
At the same time, SIPO received 4,319 patent applications from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, an increase of 16.8 percent compared with 2016.
“The patent filings between China and the Belt and Road Initiative-related countries have witnessed a rapid growth, which also shows the supportive role of the patent layout in the process of Chinese enterprises’ overseas development,” said Bi Nan, director of planning and development of SIPO.
Patent-related law enforcement was also enhanced last year, according to the news conference.
Patent authorities nationwide handled about 67,000 administrative cases in 2017, up 36.3 percent from 2016, with 28,000 cases involving patent disputes and 39,000 related to infringement.
“Law enforcement campaigns in key areas have effectively deterred malicious infringement, increasing the confidence of innovators and providing a solid guarantee for the real economy,” said Zhao Meisheng, deputy director of the patent administration division at SIPO.
“We will coordinate the work of IP protection,” he said. And it will be focused on adhering to a comprehensive and rigorous guidance by promoting the legislation standards and the level of law enforcement. SIPO will also increase penalties for violations of IP rights to help establish a sound business environment.
To improve the quality of patent examination, SIPO has set up a “double supervision and assessment” model, in which it not only uses its own personnel, but also allows specialists outside SIPO via a complaint platform to supervise the patent examination process.
It also uses third-party social satisfaction surveys to complement its internal assessment of the quality of patent examination.
Patent applications have converted from high-speed growth to high-quality development over the past year, said Zheng Huifen, head of SIPO’s patent examination affairs department.
The patent application structure has been continuously optimized and the social satisfaction with the quality of patent review has also continued to grow under the work of patent quality improvement, Zheng added.
In addition, the Patent Reexamination Board of SIPO accepted 34,123 requests for the review and 4,565 requests for invalidation last year.
The average review period in 2017 was 9.3 months, 2.6 months shorter than that in 2016, and the deadline for closure of invalid cases was 5.2 months, according to Ge Shu, deputy director of the Patent Reexamination Board.
He said that facing the rapidly increasing number of invalidation applications, the board has stepped up internal management and process optimization and created various management models to improve the efficiency of case examination and meet the needs of innovative subjects.