TechInsights attributes the increased Chinese patent activity after 2000 to its Project 909, a national effort to encourage
domestic IC design and production capabilities.
that Chinese chip companies have filed about 90 percent of their patent
applications in China (rather than elsewhere in the world), one can
reasonably assume that these Chinese companies are still young, their focus remaining on the domestic market. TechInsights also pointed out that
none of the companies profiled in its report has enforced patent
rights in U.S. courts.
Still, it's a bad idea to take lightly China's growing interest in pursuing
patents. Domestic chip vendors are positioning themselves to protect
their home market while potentially disrupting global markets.
TechInsights advises clients to invest in “patenting in China to secure
their IP in this large market place as a means of providing market
access and to protect share once it is established.”
reported 400 to 500 fabless chip companies in China, TechInsights
identified Beijing Vimicro Co. (2,445 patents), Spreadtrum
Communications (908 patents) and Shenzhen Zhongxing Microelectronics, a
subsidiary of ZTE Group (588 patents), as the top three Chinese patent
TechInsights analyzed 30
Chinese semiconductor companies, including products, technologies and patents. It found
several companies “showing real promise in moving up the value chain and
competing with Western, Taiwanese and Japanese leaders.” They include
HiSilicon, a subsidiary of Huawei, Spreadtrum and Shenzhen Zhongxing
Actually, the chart I posted on this page is by WIPO and it covers all the patents filed in all industries. (sorry for causing confusion).
However, if you compare the number of patents granted in the United States and in China in the semiconductor industry, it shows that China definitely began exceeding the US in the number of patents granted starting in 2005. You can see that chart here:
I file first in the US to get the most patent monopoly value for my budget. I feel that others are more likely to design products for the China market that they could not also sell in the US than that others would design products for the European or Japanese markets that they could not also sell in the US. Therefore I try to maximize my incremental increase in total monopolized market by filing second in China before Europe or Japan.
Before you knock the Chinese patent system as being "fatally flawed" take a good hard look at the US patent system. There's not much right with it. The Chineses will also have to upgrade their patent office website. Try it and see how much fun it is searching for patents and trying to make any kind of sense of the machine translations (if you can even access the original documents).
I don't find it surprising that these shifts are occurring. First, because the Chinese, at least now that the "cultural revolution" madness seems to be over, value education. Secondly, there are 4 Chinese citizens for every US citizen.
So, why should we be surprised to see that their patent filings are increasing rapidly? The way I see it, it was their own self-destructive government policies that kept the brakes on previously. I think their reliance on government to do all the thinking and planning is still slowing growth, but I don't see this lasting. As you have been reporting, people find ways around the obstacles, and government attitudes are sure to follow.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.