China offers incentives for companies to file patents and this has undoubtedly resulted in the explosive growth of Chinese IP. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in 2018 China accounted for 46.4% of worldwide filings. However, this statistic alone doesn’t tell the whole story.
The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) allows for different types of intellectual property protection than the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) or European Patent Organization (EPO). Invention patents, design patents, and utility models are the three categories.
Invention patents make up 23% of granted patents and are subject to the most stringent examination requirements, which typically takes around 18 months. The invention must represent a breakthrough in design, process, or concept and once approved, the patent can remain in effect for up to 20 years.
Design patents and utility models face less rigorous examination, usually taking less than one year, and can be active for up to 10 years. These make up the other 77% of patent grants in China and a high percentage of these are abandoned in less than 5 years.
Examining foreign filings by Chinese inventors add another dimension to the story. Until recently, most companies filed exclusively in China. Over the past few years a different pattern has emerged where inventors are co-filing with foreign patent authorities for international IP protection.
At the conference IFI will go over findings from a recent analysis produced with CLAIMS Direct, our global patent database. Please contact us if you’re interested in the study and unable to attend IP Service World.