Time to Consider Patent Protection in China

February 13, 2018
Post by Kirk M. Hartung

In the past decade, the Chinese government has made substantial policy changes regarding protection for intellectual property, both for obtaining rights and enforcing rights. These policies are generally favorable to patent owners and are intended to incentivize innovation.

In December, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published statistics for worldwide patent application filings for 2016, the most recent available data. In 2016, 3.1 million patent applications were filed worldwide, with 1.3 million applications (42%) filed in China. In comparison, 600,000+ applications were filed in the US Patent Office, 300,000+ applications were filed in Japan, 200,000+ applications were filed in Korea, and 150,000+ applications were filed in Europe. These 5 patent offices represent 84% of all applications filed around the globe.

China has also established special courts for considering intellectual property disputes. Foreign patent owners have won 84% of infringement cases filed in the Chinese courts, and nearly all were granted injunctions against the infringers, though damage awards are typically very low.

So even if you are not yet selling in China, competitors will likely emerge due to the large market potential. Therefore, it may to time to consider filing for patent protection in China.

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