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Chinese invention patents continue strong growth

Xinhua| Updated: January 27, 2022 L M S

BEIJING-China has witnessed continuous growth in the number of invention patents over the past year, the country's top intellectual property regulator said earlier this month.

In 2021, there were nearly 3.6 million valid invention patents in China, with 2.7 million held on the Chinese mainland. The average ownership of high-value invention patents reached 7.5 patents per 10,000 people, up 1.2 over 2020, according to data released by the National Intellectual Property Administration at a recent news conference.

More enterprises applied for invention patents in 2021, with the number of Chinese companies holding such patents totaling 298,000, an increase of 52,000 over 2020, said Hu Wenhui, spokesperson for NIPA.

Hu added that Chinese companies held more than 1.9 million valid invention patents, up 22.6 percent year-on-year. Among them, high-tech enterprises held about 1.2 million valid invention patents, accounting for 63.6 percent of the total number of invention patents owned by domestic enterprises.

Information management, computer technology and medical technology were the three industries with the fastest growth in the effective number of invention patents in China by the end of 2021, growing 100.3 percent, 32.7 percent and 28.7 percent respectively from 2020, Hu added.

At the same time, overseas applicants have had more patents granted in China.

NIPA data show the number of invention patents granted to applicants from foreign countries reached 110,000 in 2021, up 23 percent year-on-year, and more than 194,000 trademarks were registered by foreign applicants, up 5.2 percent year-on-year.

The number of patents granted to applicants from the United States rose 32.1 percent and the number of trademarks registered by US applicants went up 17.3 percent.

"This continued growth in foreign IP granted in China shows the confidence of foreign enterprises in the country's IP protection and business environment," Hu said.

Last year also saw a rise in loans using patents and trademarks as collateral, which reached 309.8 billion yuan ($48.94 billion), benefiting 15,000 enterprises, up 42 percent year-on-year, Hu said.

He noted that inclusive loans below 10 million yuan had benefited 11,000 enterprises, accounting for 71.8 percent of the total, demonstrating the support for micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

China has taken more measures to boost the country's innovation drive and is shifting its IP focus from quantity to quality, according to NIPA.

One of the efforts is that China has canceled subsidies for patent applications at all levels to eliminate the improper behavior of patent applications that cannot protect innovation, said Zhang Zhicheng, a senior official at NIPA.

To improve efficiency, the administration has used in-person and computer-aided screening to investigate cases suspected of abnormal patent applications, reporting 815,000 abnormal patent applications last year, Zhang said.

Hu also highlighted China's progress in IP protection for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. He added that China had announced to protect 63 Olympic symbols submitted by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the upcoming Winter Games, including emblems, names, abbreviations, mascots and slogans.

Hu also summarized China's efforts to protect the patents and trademarks of Olympics emblems and torches, realizing comprehensive Olympics-related IP protection.