China: IP Report Card 2014

On February 11, 2015 China's State Intellectual Property office (SIPO) held a press conference to disclose statistics for patent filing and granting in 2014. In that year, SIPO received 928,000 applications for invention patents, which was an increase of 12.5% from 2013. The number of applications for invention patents received by SIPO has been the highest in the world for four consecutive years.

In 2014, applications for invention, utility model and design patents accounted for 39.3%, 36.8% and 23.9% respectively. SIPO received 26,169 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, up by 14.2% from 2013. Of those applications, 24,007 (91.7%) were filed by domestic applicants, representing a 14.9% increase from the previous year, and 2,162 were filed by foreign applicants, up by 6.7%.

Applicants in 18 provinces in China each filed more than 100 PCT applications in 2014: Guangdong accounted for 13,332, ranking number one, followed by Beijing, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang. The PCT filings from the five provinces accounted for 85% of the total PCT filings in China.

In 2014, 233,000 invention patents were granted, of which 163,000 were granted to domestic applicants, which was nearly 20,000 more than in 2013. In terms of invention patents granted in 2014, the top ten provinces, regions or municipalities in mainland China were Beijing (23,237), Guangdong (22,276), Jiangsu (19,671), Zhejiang (13,371), Shanghai (11,614), Shandong (10,538), Sichuan (5,682), Anhui (5,184), Shaanxi (4,885) and Hubei (4,885).

Among applicants from mainland China, Huawei had 2,409 invention patents granted in 2014, ranking number one, followed by ZTE (2,218), Sinopec (1,913), Hongfujin (524), Ocean's King Lighting (516), BOE (484), CNPC (476), State Grid (408), CSOT (362), and H3C (336).

By the end of 2014, there were 663,000 valid invention patents in China owned by domestic right owners. This figure is for mainland China only—ie, not including Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan, and represents an average of 4.9 invention patents every 10,000 people, which is 1.6 more than the goal set by the 12th Five-Year Plan. The percentage of invention patents, which usually represent a higher level of technology than utility model and design patents, has been increasing over the last few years.

In terms of provinces, regions or municipalities in mainland China accounting for the most valid invention patents, the top ten are: Guangdong (111,878), Beijing (103,638), Jiangsu (81,114), Shanghai (56,515), Zhejiang (52,418), Shandong (34,775), Sichuan (21,209), Hubei (18,825), Liaoning (18,417), and Shaanxin (17,575). In 22 out of the 35 different technical sectors specified by the World Intellectual Property Organization, there were more valid invention patents owned by Chinese right owners than by foreign right owners. However, in lighting and transportation the valid invention patents owned by Chinese right owners are still significantly less numerous than those owned by foreign right owners.


On the trademark side, in 2014 2.285 million trademark applications were filed with the China Trademark Office (CTMO), representing an increase of 21.5% and reaching a record high. The number of trademark applications in China ranked it as number one in the world for the 13th year in a row. In 2014, 2.426 million trademark applications were examined, up by 70.3%. By the end of December 2014, the cumulative number of trademark applications received by the CTMO was 15.53 million and the cumulative number of trademark registrations was 10.02 million, with 8.39 million valid trademark registrations, ranking top worldwide.

According to the Copyright Office, 1.21 million copyright registrations were made in 2014, up by 19.97% from the previous year. Of those, 992,000 were for works, 218,000 for computer software (up by 33.1%), and 496 were for copyright pledges (where the copyright owner pledges its copyright as a guarantee for the debit it owes to the creditor).

In terms of works, the number of registrations made in Beijing was 510,000, accounting for 51.49%; in Shanghai it was 187,000, representing 18.92%; and at the Copyright Protection Center it was 85,000, accounting for 8.56%. Nearly 430,000 registrations for photographic works were made, representing 43.23%, followed by written works, artistic works, film and TV works, music works and graphic works.

On the enforcement side, 110,000 first instance intellectual property cases were concluded at all court levels in 2014, up by 10%, and 9,427 persons were prosecuted for criminal liability, up by 7.1%.

By Stephen Yang (Mr.)
Partner, Patent Attorney
Peksung Intellectual Property Ltd.
908 Shining Tower, 35 Xueyuan Road,
Haidian District, Beijing 100191, China
Tel: 86-10-8231 1199 Fax: 86-10-8231 1780

This article first appeared in World IP Review, published by Newton Media Ltd.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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