China continues to grow, and the growth is impacting patenting. I was reminded of the importance of these trends during a recent visit from a Taiwanese law firm which also operates in China. In addition, the Economist recently reported on China’s patent efforts (Oct. 16-22 issue, pages 78-79).
One ignores these trends at one’s peril. Companies must shrewdly decide whether to seek to do business and obtain IP in China.
We can also see the coming impact on nanotechnology. The US PTO patent data base now lists 6,464 nanotech 977 class patents. Of these, only about 1 % (71) list an inventor who lists their residential address as China. However, of these 71 patents, roughly a quarter issued this year, and 50 out of 71 issued in the last four years (2007 to present).
According to the Economist:
Anxious to promote domestic innovation, the Chinese government has created an ecosystem of incentives for its people to file patents. However, concern exists that too many of the patents are “worthless” (and/or “junk”). The world also continues to watch IP damage awards in China, including that a firm from Wuhan has won $7m in a case against a company from Fujian and its Japanese supplier over the use of a process to clean sulfur.
Adding to the intrigue, China and Taiwan signed their first IP agreement on June 29, 2010. The agreement was modest but indicative.
One ignores these trends at one’s peril.