China giving tough fight to U.S. and Japan in Patent Application, WIPO Survey Claims

By | Mar 15, 2017 10:51 AM EDT
China's Patent Application.

China's share in patent application continues to grow at a impressive pace. The latest data by WIPO shows that China’s patent applications in 2016 zoomed by whooping 45 percent. (Photo : Getty Images. )

China's patent applications in 2016 zoomed by whooping 45 percent, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), putting the Asian giant well on the course to surpass Japan and U.S. to emerge as largest user of the international patent system within the span of two years.

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Leading China's charge for filing patents were ZTE and Huawei, two of China's leading telecom manufacturers, as they once again topped the 2016 list for cooperate patenting compiled by the Geneva based U.N. agency.

"China-based filers are behind much of the growth in international patent and trademark filings . . . as the country continues its journey from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China'," said Francis Gurry, Wipo director-general.

Statistically speaking, Chinese companies filed 43,000 international applications last year, far less than 1 million domestic applications filed at the China's patent office. This trend was clearly spotted even in last year's patent finding, forcing many experts to doubt that whether Chinese patent applications are as innovative as they claim to be.

Nonetheless, there seems to be consensuses among substantial number of experts that surge in patent applications are truly indicative about growing innovativeness among the Chinese companies.

China's regional economic rivals Japan and South Korea have also increased their international applications, though not at the same rapid pace. A good showing by the Asian countries meant that their total share in patent application in 2016 stood at impressive 47.4 per cent, tad less than nearly 50.9 percent clocked jointly by North American and European companies.

The one positive factor about Japan, whose patent applications have been falling over the years, is that its international application continues to grow very strongly. "There is a clear strategy in Japan to concentrate on patenting and exploiting the best inventions as widely as possible," said Mr. Gurry.

Meanwhile, WIPO's latest data shows that the traditional powerhouse U.S. continues to loss crucial share in the global patent activity. Mr. Gurry said that he is less hopeful about Donald Trump's election will have any positive impact on U.S. patent activities.

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