Chinese patent filings top world in 2021 amid innovation drive

Technological achievements in 6G are unveiled during the 2022 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit in Zhejiang province on Wednesday. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

BEIJING — A recent report showed that China had secured top spot in terms of global patent filings in 2021, way ahead of all other countries, which highlighted its strong impetus in building an innovation-oriented country.

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

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

In 2021, high-value patents for invention in China amounted to 7.5 per 10,000 people, 1.2 more than in 2020, according to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics published in August 2022.

Particularly, the country’s innovation in sectors like next-generation telecom, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and clean energy cut a dashing figure.

A report released by the National Intellectual Property Administration revealed that China’s patent filings in 6G technology occupied more than 30 percent of the world’s total.

Also, China’s patent applications in artificial intelligence accounted for about 70 percent of the world’s total, according to an indicator published this month by the China Center for Information Industry Development.

Chinese companies’ invention patent applications in the field of quantum computing — a frontier tech — jumped from 137 as of September 2020 to 804 by October 2022, as revealed by the Global Quantum Computing Technology Patent Filings Ranking List.

The International Energy Agency in March this year published a report titled — “Tracking Clean Energy Innovation: Focus on China” — indicating that China had become a key player in energy patenting within a short period of time, especially in strategic sectors where Chinese inventors account for an increasing share of global activity, including solar photovoltaic, electric vehicle and lighting technologies.

In the 2018/2019 period, Chinese inventors filed about six times the number of international patents they had 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 abroad, indicating their improved quality.

The WIPI report also showed that China saw the fastest growth — 17.6 percent — in patents in force in 2021, surpassing the US to become top in terms of net growth of enforceable patents.

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

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

China also saw substantial growth in industrial design. It received applications containing 805,710 designs in 2021, corresponding to more than 53 percent of the world total — China now owns the most industrial design registrations in force worldwide.

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