China IP Office released major IP statistics of the first half of 2018

On July 10th the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) held the Q3 press conference in Beijing. It is the first time for SIPO to release the major IP statistics about patent, trade mark and geographic indications (GIs) all-together after its restructuring.

1. The highlights of the 1st half of 2018

The figures remain high, showing a good momentum of development. For perhaps easier-reading, this Kat has taken a different approach this time -- hopefully you will enjoy the charts! 
  • Invention patents*:
By the end of June 2018, the cumulative number of invention patents held by the Chinese mainland is 1,475,000, namely 10.6 invention patents for every 10,000 head of population. 



Obviously, China's domestic patents have a significant advantage in quantity. SIPO’s earlier statistics also showed that the domestic invention patents outnumbered the foreign invention patents in 32 out of 35 WIPO technology fields (the gaps seen in optics, turbine, and medical technology). Yet on the other hand, China still has shortcomings in many of the core technologies, e.g. computer technology, audio-visual technology, and electrical apparatus; in 28 out of 35 WIPO technology fields the number of the specific domestic invention patents which have been maintained for over 10 years is lower than that of foreign invention patents – as has been reiterated over the years, more efforts need to be put into improving the quality of domestic patents. 

During the 1st half of 2018, the number of cases handled by the patent administration law enforcements was 19,900, of which 12,400 were patent disputes cases, and 7,541 patent-counterfeiting cases were investigated and handled.
  • Patent front-runners:

➡️ Huawei was the only Chinese enterprise ranked (the 4th) in the EPO Top 25 Patentees in 2017.

Geographically ➡️        

  • Trade marks:
The headline of a WIPO report back in 2016 seems to be a proper choice here as well: China's trade mark activity continues to soarChina remains an extremely busy jurisdictionif not the busiest, in the world for trade marks. We often hear sayings like "too crowded/too many!" when it comes to the massive numbers of trade marks in China. Well, this Kat doubts that much can be concluded from the sole total numbers -- opportunities or pitfalls? Potential or dangers? Abnormal or in fact a new-normal? -- the answers are open to interpretation and probably will call for deeper analyses.

The period of examination in trade mark registration has been shortened from 8 months to 7 months (the goals specified in the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of Trademark Registration Facilitation and Effectively Raising Efficiency of Trademark Registration issued by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce on November 14 2017 was to shorten the period to 6 months by the end of 2018).
  • GIs:

Accumulatively 8,091 enterprises have been approved to use GI, and the related value of output exceeds 1 trillion Chinese Yuan.

2. More changes are still to come -- Stay tuned 

As summarized, there are four characteristics reflected from the SIPO's IP statistics, namely:

"(1) Progress has been achieved and stability ensured in China’s IPR creation and utilization; 
(2) The main role of domestic enterprises in innovation continues to be strengthened; 
(3) The overseas IPR applications of Chinese enterprises increase steadily; 
(4) The domestic environment for IPR protection is further optimized."

At the same time, several projects are in progress, seeking to add new vitality to the Chinese IP environment. For instance, regarding the examination period, Prime Minister Li Keqiang noted in the recent national teleconference on transforming government functions (the theme was to simplify procedures, decentralize powers, and to optimize public services) that within the next 5 years, the period of examination in trade mark registration shall be shortened to 4 months or less, and of invention patent the period shall be shortened by 1/3 (for the high-value patents the examination period shall be reduced by half). These good intentions meanwhile will require much more substantial efforts in terms of highly professional systematic design, well-collaboration and staffs' meticulosity -- challenges seem to be inevitable to occur. Curious about how China will resolve the difficulties? Stay tuned for the follow-up reports!

* There are 3 types of patents in China, the invention patents, the utility models and the design patents. 

Figures realized by Tian. 
Data source: SIPO
China IP Office released major IP statistics of the first half of 2018 China IP Office released major IP statistics of the first half of 2018 Reviewed by Tian Lu on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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