China IPR

China’s Upward Path In Innovating: What Global Patent Data Shows


Thomson Reuters/Derwent has just published its 2014 State of Innovation Report. This report analyzes 12 key technology areas and offers some interesting observations about China’s growing global role in patenting and innovation. Here are some results:

In most fields, China did very well compared to other Asian economies. In some fields, China is a global leader. Many of these fields have also been a focus of China’s efforts to build a more innovative economy, or are considered a “strategic emerging industry.” In many cases, research institutions rather than companies continue to play a dominant, role.

In the Automotive Sector, there was no Chinese company amongst the top ten patent filers in Asia. The field was dominated by Japanese and Korean companies. Similarly, for Alternative Powered Vehicles, no Chinese company made the top 10 of Asia Pacific assignees. In Space Vehicles and Satellite technologies, seven Chinese institutions made the top 10 of Asia Pacific assignees.

The Computing and Peripherals technology area showed the most overall innovation of all sectors analyzed, with more than 300,000 unique inventions, more than twice as many inventions as Telecommunications, the next largest category. However, the subcategories reported didn’t reveal many Chinese stars. For example, In Smart Media, State Grid and Peking University made the top 10 of Asia Pacific assignees.   No mainland Chinese company made the Asia Pacific top 10 in Semiconductor materials and processes. In Mobile Telephony, Guangdong Oppos Mobile Telecommunications made the number six Asia Pacific slot.

Amongst Asia Pacific Kitchen invention assignees, Midea and Haier made the Asia Pacific top 10.  In the Beverage Fermentation area, SIPO Commissioner Shen’s alma mater, Dalian University of Technology, ranked number 5 among Asia Pacific assignees. China Petrochemical and South China University of Technology were also amongst the top 10.

China did shine in Petroleum & Gas Exploration, Drilling Production and Processing. Six Chinese companies or institutes were amongst the top 10 Asia Pacific assignees. China Petrochemical and Petro China took the first two slots, and were also in first place globally

China is also showing a growing role in biotechnology. In Cancer Treatment, there were several Chinese institutions amongst the top 10 Asia-Pacific assignees, including Peking, Fudan and Zhejiang Universities (Nos. 7, 8 and 9). In Surgery/Diagnosis.  There were no Chinese companies amongst the top 10 Asia Pacific assignees. In the Heterocyclic Pharmaceutical area, Nanjing, Fudan, Peking and Sichuan Universities, took the Asia Pacific 1, 7, 9 and 10 slots. Nanjing was in fact in first place globally, barely edging out European and US institutions. Dr Reddy’s Lab was the topped rank Indian company, with about 1/3 the number of inventions of Peking University.

China’s efforts in biotechnology, which is otherwise showing global declines, are in a sense doubly remarkable. Globally, in all fields except biotechnology inventions showed double-digit growth. Globally, Biotechnology showed a decline of 3% from last year, with the biggest being Drug Discovery related innovation, which fell by 25%. The data suggests that China’s 12th Five Year Plan for biotechnology (十二五”生物技术发展规划”) which has such goals as being number three in patents globally and developing a series of new pharmaceutical compounds is well on its way.



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