PARIS—Cynics tend to mock the term “Chinese IPR” (intellectual property rights) as an oxymoron—like “future historians” and “military intelligence.”
But as the Financial Times reported recently, “the rapid rise in Chinese patent filings, which have been growing at a rate of more than 20 percent a year, reflects a profound change in cultural attitudes to property, and intellectual property in particular—even if the Chinese system for protecting IP rights still has many deficiencies.”
More important, the growth in Chinese patent filings is likely to affect foreign companies that may have been reluctant to file for patents in China. Instead of dismissing the Chinese patent system as being fatally flawed and Chinese patents as hopelessly defective, foreign companies might be better advised to invest time and resources in filing patents in China to compete with Chinese companies.
A recent report, "China Semiconductor Company Analysis and IP Landscape” by UBM Techinsights, a sister company to the publisher of EE Times, echoes this view.
The Techinsights’ report claims that Chinese-based companies are “transitioning from low-cost manufacture of discrete parts to long-term market competitors, both in China and around the globe.”
The U.S. continues to lead the list of total semiconductor patents granted with 40 percent of the total count (based on data gathered from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). Japan is second with 10.7 percent of the total. In contrast, China comes in at No. 16, with 623 patents granted.
However, comparing the U.S. to China in terms of issued patents and published applications for a particular year, “the trend shows China exceeding the U.S. starting in 2005,” according to TechInsights.