Na­tion lacks in­no­va­tion de­spite patents, ex­perts say

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

De­spite be­ing the world leader in an­nual patent ap­pli­ca­tions, China is far from be­ing an in­no­va­tive coun­try, ex­perts said.

China re­ceived 825,000 in­ven­tion patent ap­pli­ca­tions in 2013, a 26.3 per­cent in­crease year-on-year, and the to­tal was the high­est in the world for the third con­sec­u­tive year, the State In­tel­lec­tual Property Of­fice said on Thurs­day.

Of the ap­pli­ca­tions, 208,000 were granted, in­clud­ing 147,000 filed by do­mes­tic ap­pli­cants. The coun­try held 587,000 valid do­mes­tic in­ven­tion patents by the end of 2013 and has re­al­ized the goal it set in 2011 in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the of­fice said.

“The growth in patent ap­pli­ca­tions shows that both in­di­vid­u­als and en­ter­prises are pay­ing more at­ten­tion to in­tel­lec­tual property pro­tec­tion by patent­ing their in­ven­tions,” said Gan Shaon­ing, the of­fice’s deputy di­rec­tor. “It also shows that our coun­try is mak­ing great strides to­ward be­com­ing an in­no­va­tive econ­omy.”

How­ever, it doesn’t sug­gest that China has joined the world lead­ers as an in­no­va­tion-ori­ented econ­omy, ex­perts said.

Tao Xin­liang, di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Univer­sity’s IPR Col­lege, stressed that only by in­creas­ing the tech­nol­ogy trans­fer rate — the fre­quency with which in­ven­tions borne out of aca­demic re­search reach the commercial mar­ket­place — can China stake its claim as a cre­ative coun­try.

“It’s more about qual­ity than quan­tity,” Tao said. “In some ma­jor key ar­eas we still heav­ily rely on for­eign tech­nolo­gies with­out enough self-re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

“We should stop pur­su­ing the num­bers and fo­cus more on help­ing ap­pli­cants, es­pe­cially small en­ter­prises and in­di­vid­u­als, im­ple­ment their granted patents.”

In the telecommunication in­dus­try, for ex­am­ple, the num­ber of valid patents held by for­eign en­ti­ties is 10.8 times the amount held by do­mes­tic com­pa­nies.

Chi­nese tele­com equip­ment maker Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, which had a do­mes­tic-leading 2,251 patents granted in 2013, could not find a place in the 2012 Thom­son Reuters’ list of Top 100 Global In­no­va­tors, for which the four cri­te­ria are all patent-re­lated — over­all patent vol­ume, patent grant suc­cess rate, global reach of the port­fo­lio, and patent in­flu­ence as ev­i­denced by ci­ta­tions.

Fur­ther­more, of about 2.3 mil­lion in­ven­tion patent ap­pli­ca­tions filed in China since 1990, 38 per­cent came from over­seas en­ti­ties, usu­ally multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, and only 28 per­cent from do­mes­tic ones.

Feng Xiao­qing, IPR pro­fes­sor at China Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Law, said the govern­ment should pro­vide more pol­icy and fi­nan­cial sup­port to en­cour­age re­search in­sti­tu­tions and lo­cal com­pa­nies to im­ple­ment their patents.

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