Why Patent Protection in China is Stronger than Once Believed

Patents secure exclusive rights to an invention, and thereby offer insight into key areas of innovation. Internationally, patent applications have steadily increased year on year. It is worth noting that the total number of patent applications in China in all sectors has dramatically increased over the past decade.

In the view of the prominent China patent lawyers, China patent office has processed more patents than any other country in the world. China’s patent applications last year reportedly mainly concerned electronic devices, and computing and digital telecommunications technology. Overall, IP filings have increased by 5.8 percent on the previous year, representing the eighth consecutive yearly increase.

Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization said- “This rapid rise in Chinese use of the international patent system shows that innovators there are increasingly looking outward, seeking to spread their original ideas into new markets as the Chinese economy continues its rapid transformation.”

There are several types of intellectual property rights in China for the protection of inventions. There are three types of patents:

  • Invention Patents
  • Utility Model Patents
  • Design Patents

Chinese companies are rushing to obtain patents protecting advances in everything from artificial intelligence to blockchain. It makes it really important for the foreign companies to register their patents in China as early as possible. The cut-throat competition between the Chinese firms and the international companies has taken a new dimension after the growing US-China trade tension.

According to China patent lawyers, In 2019, amendments of China patent laws, with soon to be issued bills including the fourth revision of the Patent Law, judicial interpretations for the trial of administrative cases involving the granting and confirmation of patent rights. In response to the trade war – the Chinese government rapidly instituted a number of significant reforms. But foreign companies are still at risk from IP ‘hijackers’ – for example, Chinese suppliers that file their foreign client’s IP without their permission.

China has had specialist IP tribunals in the Chinese courts to deal with patent (and other IP-related) cases. Since 2014, three specialized IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou hear all first instance IP matters in these regions. These courts include judges with IP training and background to facilitate the proceedings.

The Chinese government has pivoted to embrace the idea of protecting intellectual property and has tried hard to combat worldwide misconceptions about China’s patent system. These new findings indicate that patent protection in China is stronger than once believed.

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