USPTO’s 2014 Performance and Accountability Report and China

USPTO recently released its Fiscal Year 2014 Performance & Accountability Report.   Here’s a quick summary of where China is specifically mentioned:

Patent Applications and Grants: From 2010 to 2013, mainland China showed an increase in applications of nearly 91% from 8,358 to 15,496 (p. 149). This is still fewer than Taiwan, which filed 21,949 applications in 2013 (2014 application data was not available at the time of publication). In terms of patents issued, mainland China more than doubled its grants during the period from 2010 to 2014, from 3,059 to 7,717 (p. 151).   Taiwan also still leads in patents granted, with 12,271 patents granted in 2014.

Trademark Applications and Grants: Trademark applications from mainland China increased from 2,808 (2010) to 6,323 (2014). Both Hong Kong and mainland China showed significant increases in trademark applications of about one third from 2013 to 2014 (4,756 to 6,323 for China, and 1,785 to 2,430 for Hong Kong). Macau showed the biggest percentage increase during this five year period, from one to 23 trademark applications.

The spike in trademark applications from China and especially the Pearl River Delta region might be principally due to increased economic activity there. I wonder if this increase was also partially due to the increased attention paid to this region when Hong Kong hosted the annual meeting of the International Trademark Association in 2014 which brings in trademark officials and lawyers from throughout the world to the Pearl River Delta region.

Trademarks registered to Chinese residents also increased during this five year period, from 1,356 to 2,901 (p. 163). Mainland Chinese trademark applications and grants are clearly growing and also clearly dominate over Taiwan-origin applications and grants by a three to four fold margin (1,673 Taiwan origin applications and 926 Taiwan-origin grants in 2014, respectively).

Other Activities: While this report focuses on USPTO’s domestic activities, in discussing USPTO’s international activities in this report, Deputy Director Lee noted that USPTO “launched the China Resource Center to help U.S. officials make meaningful progress on IP issues with China” (p. 3). The China Resource Center is elsewhere described in the report as “located in the USPTO Executive Library… [its purpose is] to collect and provide research material on a wide range and variety of China IP protection and enforcement issues….” (p. 71).   The report also notes that in 2014 USPTO commemorated “35 years of USPTO and Commerce Department training and assistance on IP matters with China” (p. 72).

There are other general aspects of the report that also involve China, such as information on training activities undertaken by USPTO, patent pendency, and initiatives to deal with frivolous patent litigation.

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