China cements itself as innovation leader

1813_IP_China_Academy_Blog_v1‘Made in China 2025’ has now reached its third year since it was issued with the intention to “comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry”. Along with the Thirteenth ‘Five Year’ Plan (2016-2020), it has certainly played a role in China’s journey to becoming a major innovation power, and as we approach the half-way point, now is a good time to review the progress that has been made in the area of intellectual property.

The IP system in China has seen unprecedented transformation in the last several decades. Since the 1970s, the economic growth of China has enjoyed a practically unrivaled status, and this boom has been supported and partially fueled by its strategic investment in R&D and intellectual property.

Comparatively speaking, the Chinese patent office is in its infancy. However, since its foundation in 1980 (roughly 200 years after the first American patent), the number of patents filed in China has accelerated incredibly rapidly, and thus it is now receiving and processing more patent applications per year than any other country on earth.

If we take a quick look at some data from PatSnap, we can see that patent applications in China have eclipsed that of every other nation from 2012 to 2017.

Global Patent Applications to 2017

We also can look elsewhere for data that further cements China as one of the world’s leaders of innovation. Recently, the World Economic Forum published its 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, in which it states that China’s R&D expenditure totals 2.1% of its GDP. It reads:

“China is now at a critical juncture as it transitions to a new phase of its economic development in which its economy is driven less by investments and exports and more by consumption and services. In this context, the country has been increasingly betting on innovation. It has become a prominent player in some specific areas, like artificial intelligence.”

The connection between IP and innovation in China is incontrovertible. This month, the World Intellectual Property Organization published its report, World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018, which states:

“China remained the main driver of global growth in IP filings. From already high levels, patent filings in China grew by 14.2% and trademark filing activity in China by 55.2%. These high growth rates propelled China’s shares of global patent filings and trademarks filing activity to reach 43.6% and 46.3%, respectively.”

Unfortunately, the Western perspective on China is often beset with persistent misconceptions. For many years, China has been known for copying goods made in the West for its local market. But China has worked hard to dispel the reputation of a ‘copycat nation’, and establish a market based on innovation.

A Western company may continue to believe these myths and doing so would be to miss out on many opportunities. Academy by PatSnap’s new course, ‘How to protect IP in China’, helps to dispel those myths. It will also provide you with everything you would need to know, should you be setting your sights on China for your next opportunity.


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