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China Drives Indigenous Invention

China Drives Indigenous Invention

“Indigenous Innovation” has been a highly debated topic lately in China. Governmental policies are being aimed towards promoting it in whichever way possible. There was some specific government driven initiatives which were addressed in a joint publication titled 2010 Notification Regarding the Development of Determining ‘ Indigenous Innovation’ Products. It was a joint issuance by the Commission for Development and Reforms, The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Promoting the concept of “Indigenous Innovation” for a huge economic super power like China is a matter of no surprise. Innovations are easily a prominent medium for economic growth. However, the fact that has probably attracted the attention of many is the growing incidence of “invention patents” being increasingly granted in the country. These “invention patents” have, in fact, been representative of the growing preference towards “indigenous innovation” in this part of the world. The trends have become so prominent that it is considered worth investigation.

The patent granting process by the PRC is overseen by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The SIPO also provides detailed statistics with respect to surge in the number of patents granted in this country. These statistics are shared via its website. The statistical reports chart the progress of trends from 2001 through to 2010. In order to establish the landmark trends, patent approvals in the years of 2001, 2006 and finally 2010, have been taken into consideration. Trends in the acceptance of “invention patents” in particular were chosen above others, such as “design patents” and “utility patents” for analysis. This is due to the fact that a more complex and rigorous system of examination is administered for the former. Besides, “invention patents” are more closely associated with the idea of “innovation”.

According to the facts furnished by the SIPO, the total number of patents granted increased from 114,251 in 2001 to 268,002 in 2006 and finally to a whopping 814,825 in 2010! Among these, the number of invention patents grew from 16,296 to 135,510 between 2001 and 2010. Patents for domestic inventions also stood at 79,767 in 2010 from a mere 5,395 in 2001. Patents for domestic invention comprised 4.72% and 33.11% of the total number of patents and total number of invention patents respectively, way back in 2001. The year 2010 saw these numbers magnify into 9.79% and 58.86%.

The trends, therefore, are absolutely clear. The number of patents granted has increased by over 700,000 in a matter of 9 – 10 years! There is surely a distinct shift toward “indigenous innovation”. Furthermore, the percentage of patents for domestic innovation has also exhibited phenomenal growth. The percentage of domestic patents has doubled through the given period! This establishes an even stronger case in favor of “indigenous innovation” in this country. The growth has been in the number of domestic patents granted in the country. There has also been relative growth of domestic inventions in comparison with total number of patents granted and the number of foreign invention patents registered in the past 10 years. Therefore, it is now clear that domestic entities have a huge role to play in Chinese innovations, off late.

Naysayers may feel that the SIPO is, in fact, partial towards patent seekers for domestic inventions. Naturally, they are granting more and more patents to them! At this point, it would be interesting to check on the number of applications that have been filed for patents in various categories. The SIPO provides documented stats for these as well. Distinct trends have been established from 2001 through 2010, with regards to the number of applications that have been registered in each category seeking patent approvals. You could check on the SIPO website for the same.

Surprisingly, the total number of patent applications grew from 203,573 in 2001 to 1,222,286 in 2010! Of these, invention patents grew from 63,204 to 391,177! Concurrently, domestic applications grew from 30,038 to 293,066 through 2001 to 2010! The percentage of domestic applications with respect to total applications filed increased from 14.76% to 24% through the given period. Furthermore, the percentage of domestic invention applications increased from 47.53% to 74.92% through the same period, with respect to the total number of invention applications filed for patent.

These statistical findings completely nullify the blame pertaining to favoritism that was brought in against the SIPO. The statistics clearly reveal that the massive increase in the number of applications by domestic inventions is actually the reason behind granting so many patents in this category. Therefore, there has truly been substantial progress in the field of domestic inventions in this country. If this trend of enhanced progress in domestic innovations continues, this upsurge in patent filing is bound to maintain a northward trend. However, studying trends of innovation patents alone may not be the sole measure to be innovative in the country. However, it sure signals that the move of the PRC toward promoting “indigenous innovation” is well on the right track.

Note: The preceding is a summary of an article found though our research, and is provided here with editorial comment for members only. Please see the full article at the following link for full original content.

The New Asia Innovation Team