As part of our annual Top 50 list of patent assignees, we also take a look at industry trends. Our research uncovered that in 2017, China was awarded 28% more US patents than in 2016. Their total of 11,240 granted patents is ten times the number of patents they were granted in 2007. That pushed the nation into the top five recipients by country for the first time, behind the US, Japan, Korea, and Germany. While patent grants to China still make up only 3.5% of the more than 320,000 awards, it’s likely this share will continue to increase.
Two news stories picked up on the trend and asked us for additional research.
China Becomes One of the Top 5 U.S. Patent Recipients for the First Time, written by Susan Decker at Bloomberg, points out that both well-known companies and startups are receiving patents. The article also quotes IP lawyer Don Featherstone who thinks the Chinese are leveraging patents to gain a competitive advantage, “They want to launch a product in the US, they want to import product in the US, and have local sales offices in the US to bring their products to market.”
Ben Heubl authored The rise of Chinese groups applying for US patents—in 3 charts, a story for Nikkei Asian Review. He uses IFI data to produce insightful visualizations, one of which is shown below:
Our Senior Analyst, Larry Cady, provided more information on the technologies Chinese companies are developing. Since patents can take two to four years to be granted from the submission date, he looked at pre-grant publications and found that self-driving cars, drones, and medical technology. Read the story to learn more.