Last week the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) released statistics on last year’s global patent applications. For the fifth year running, China came out on top. According to the WIPO, there were over 1.1 million patent applications filed in the Chinese market. NBD, a local newspaper, reports that this is more than all the applications in America, Japan and South Korea combined. The number of approved patents in China ranked first as well, at 359,000.
But despite their domestic triumph, companies from China are far behind in cross-border patents, accounting for just 4% of international applications. Some netizens doubt whether the topline numbers mean much too, speculating that the majority of Chinese applications were for knock-off inventions. “Highest in number, lowest in quality,” one netizen lambasted.
“So many patent applications are just other people’s work, altered slightly and claimed by someone else. We have the Four Great Inventions [papermaking, gunpowder, printing and the compass] of the ancient world, but in the modern era what was invented by China?” he asked.
© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.
Sponsored by HSBC.
The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.