China makes headway in IP industry

China's intellectual property industry has developed rapidly over the past five years, with the number of authorized invention patents reaching 2.53 million.


A staff member walks past a patent wall at the headquarters of Royole Technology Co., Ltd in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, April 28, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

April 26, 2022

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The quality and quantity of Chinese intellectual property continued to rise in 2021, with 696,000 invention patents authorized throughout the year, a senior official said.

China’s intellectual property industry has developed rapidly over the past five years. Shen Changyu, head of the National Intellectual Property Administration, told a news conference on Sunday that last year, the number of authorized invention patents reached 2.53 million, with an average annual growth rate of 13.4 percent over the past five years. The number of registered trademarks hit 27.7 million, with an average annual growth rate of 29 percent over the same period.

There were also record-high numbers of copyrights issued for new plant varieties and integrated circuit layouts last year, and the number of high-value invention patents reached 7.5 per 10,000 people in 2021, up from 6.3 per 10,000 in 2020.

Furthermore, the number of international patent applications filed in China via the Patent Cooperation Treaty hit 69,500 in 2021, ranking first in the world for the third consecutive year. The PCT is a widely used indicator for innovative activity.

China ranked 12th in the Global Innovation Index 2021 released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a rise from 22nd in 2017. Data also show that in 2020, the added-value of patent-intensive industries reached 12.13 trillion yuan ($1.87 trillion)-a year-on-year increase of 5.8 percent-accounting for 11.97 percent of GDP.

China has also reinforced IPR protection in the past five years. Since 2019, the National People’s Congress, the nation’s top legislature, revised the Trademark Law, Patent Law and Copyright Law and established a punitive damages system with the highest international standards. The State Council, China’s Cabinet, has also issued 16 reform measures that have helped increase the quality and efficiency of the intellectual property review process.

The country has actively sought to participate in global intellectual property governance.

China has joined The Hague System for the International Registration for Industrial Designs, meaning a non-Chinese resident can secure international design protection in China, and the Marrakech Treaty, which gives over 17 million blind and visually impaired people in China easier access to copyrighted works. Both treaties will take effect in May.

The country has also stepped up efforts to build itself into an intellectual property powerhouse.

Last year, the central government released the Outline of Building an Intellectual Property Rights Powerhouse (2021-35) and the 14th Five-Year Plan for the Protection and Utilization of National Intellectual Property Rights (2021-25).

Shen said the two documents serve as important milestones in the development of the nation’s intellectual property system. He said the administration has formulated a detailed plan and has arranged for 29 provincial-level regions to issue supporting IPR policies.

China will continue to leverage intellectual property to drive innovation, particularly meeting the demand of new technologies and industries such as big data, artificial intelligence, gene technology and blockchain, according to Shen.

The nation will also look to participate more in global intellectual property governance, strengthen international cooperation in intellectual property protection and further raise public awareness, he added.

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