Axiom: Chinese businesses do not waste money.
Axiom: Filing patents in China is expensive.
Axiom: Chinese businesses are filing patents in China like crazy.
Conclusion: Filing patents must be worth the money. In other words, they have value.
According to Intellectual Asset Management Blog [link no longer exists], “for the first time invention patent grants made to domestic [Chinese] entities are outstripping those made to foreign concerns. According to SIPO statistics, in the first six months of 2009 Chinese applicants received 18,634 patents, while applicants from overseas took 17,737; that’s 51.2% and 48.8% respectively. In 2008, Chinese applicants were awarded 49.7% of the 93,706 invention patents granted by SIPO.”
Chinese and China patent filings are having and will continue to have worldwide implications:
Clearly, all this has major implications for granting authorities, in-house patent departments and private practice firms across the world. What a great time it is to be a fluent Chinese speaking and reading patent attorney, for example. And moving forward, can any patent office or patent attorney firm anywhere do its job properly without access to high-level Chinese expertise? Quite frankly, I don’t see how. You also have to consider the impact of increased Chinese use of the international system. We already have huge backlogs in most patent offices, but as companies from China move into foreign markets their already increasing use of the PCT and direct filings in offices such as the USPTO, EPO and JPO is only bound to accelerate. It is a frightening thought.
Bottom Line: The idea that it makes no sense to bother trying to protect your IP in China ought to be taken off the table once and for all.