Chinese patent filings lead the world in 2021 amid innovation

Chinese patent filings lead the world in 2021 amid innovation

The technological achievements of 6G are being unveiled at the 2022 Global Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit in Zhejiang province on Wednesday. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

BEIJING – A recent report showed that China secured the top spot in terms of global patent filings in 2021, far ahead of all other countries, underscoring its strong momentum in building a nation focused on innovation.

China’s Intellectual Property Office received 1.59 million of the 3.4 million patent applications filed worldwide in 2021, according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators report released this week.

Patents filed in China are of a similar magnitude to the combined total of the next 12 countries ranked second to 13th, according to WIPI, which compiled its latest data based on information from some 150 countries and regions.

In 2021, China’s high-value invention patents stood at 7.5 per 10,000 people, 1.2 more than in 2020, according to National Bureau of Statistics data released in August 2022.

In particular, the country’s innovation in sectors such as next-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and clean energy has made a dashing figure.

A report released by the National Intellectual Property Administration found that China’s patent filings in 6G technology accounted for more than 30 percent of the global total.

In addition, China’s patent applications in the field of artificial intelligence accounted for about 70 percent of the global total, according to an indicator released this month by the China Center for Information Industry Development.

Invention patent applications by Chinese companies in the field of quantum computing – a cutting-edge technology – jumped from 137 in September 2020 to 804 in October 2022, as revealed by the Global Filing Ranking List of patents in quantum computing technology.

The International Energy Agency released a report in March this year titled — “Tracking Clean Energy Innovation: Focus on China” — indicating that China had become a key player in the field of energy patents in a short time, especially in strategic sectors where Chinese inventors account for a growing share of global activity, including solar photovoltaics, electric vehicles and lighting technologies.

In the 2018/2019 period, Chinese inventors filed about six times the number of international patents they filed in 2008/2009 for batteries and solar PV, and eight times the number for EV technologies, according to the IEA.

In addition, about 80 percent of Chinese patents in energy-related climate change mitigation technologies are also protected overseas, indicating their improved quality.

The WIPI report also showed that China experienced the fastest growth – 17.6% – in patents in force in 2021, overtaking the United States to become first in terms of net growth in enforceable patents.

By the end of September this year, China’s patents in force exceeded 4 million, of which more than a third were from strategic emerging industries, according to NIPA.

Among them, those held by the country’s private sector have increased significantly. China’s top 500 private enterprises in 2022 saw 53.6 percent annual growth in patents in force, according to data released by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce in September.

China has also seen substantial growth in industrial design. It received applications containing 805,710 designs in 2021, which is more than 53% of the global total. China now has the largest number of industrial design registrations in force in the world.

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