Patent use in­creases, but im­prove­ments still sought

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - IP SPE­CIAL - By ZHANG ZHAO zhangzhao@chi­

A higher pro­por­tion of patents were used in 2016 com­pared with a year ear­lier, but small com­pa­nies and uni­ver­si­ties still need to im­prove their abil­ity to com­mer­cial­ize patents, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent an­nual re­port by the State In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice.

The 2016 China Patent Data Re­port was based on a sur­vey cov­er­ing com­pa­nies, uni­ver­si­ties, re­search in­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­ual in­ven­tors in 23 prov­inces, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and au­ton­o­mous re­gions. About 58,000 ques­tion­naires were sent and more than 70 per­cent of them were re­turned cor­rectly.

The re­port showed that last year, 61.8 per­cent of valid patents were used — ei­ther com­mer­cial­ized, li­censed or trans­ferred — 3.9 per­cent­age points higher than the fig­ure in 2015.

The re­port has found that the patent use rate varies among right own­ers — it goes up and then down as the num­ber of their patents in­crease. For those who have one or two in­ven­tion patents, 55.3 per­cent were used on av­er­age. The fig­ure rises to a peak of 64.7 per­cent for those own-

IP scene

ing 10 to 29 in­ven­tions. And for those with more than 100 in­ven­tions, the fig­ure falls to 41 per­cent.

The same trend is seen in the patent in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion rate, in­di­cat­ing how many of the patents were ac­tu­ally used in prod­ucts and put to mar­ket. About 40 per­cent of patents were in­dus­tri­al­ized for those own­ing only one or two patents and those with more than 100. Among those who have be­tween 10 and 29 patents, the pro­por­tion is over 50 per­cent.

Li Shunde, a re­searcher of law and IP rights at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences, said the ef­fi­cient use and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of patents to re­al­ize their value is a “rigid de­mand” for China’s in­no­va­tion-driven devel­op­ment strat­egy.

“No w w e s t i l l h av e t h e short­age of high-value pat- ents and in­suf­fi­cient patent use,” Li said. “These prob­lems are keep­ing the patents from sup­port­ing in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

“Protec tion is just the means, and uti­liza­tion is the real pur­pose,” he said. “Com­bined, they will in­crease the value of in­no­va­tion.”

Uni­ver­si­ties have the low­est patent use and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion rates, while com­pa­nies have the high­est rates. How- ever, the re­port noted that small com­pa­nies and star­tups have dif­fi­cul­ties in com­mer­cial­iz­ing patents be­cause many of them do not have ef­fec­tive fi­nanc­ing chan­nels to sup­port pro­duc­tion.

The re­port also found in­creas­ing de­mand for ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­tec­tion.

When asked the most pre­ferred means of pro­tec­tion, 61.3 per­cent of patent own­ers said they want the patent ad­min­is­tra­tions to ac­tively launch en­force­ment op­er­a­tions, which is a 0.9 per­cent­age point in­crease over the pre­vi­ous year, while 51.3 per­cent said they will re­port to the patent ad­min­is­tra­tions, 5.6 per­cent­age points higher.

Only 23.6 per­cent of right own­ers said they pre­fer fil­ing a law­suit at a court, 0.7 per­cent­age point lower than 2015.

“In ju­di­cial pro­ce­dures, m a ny r i g h t o w n e r s h av e prob­lems like dif­fi­culty in col­lect­ing ev­i­dence, pro­longed pro­ce­dures, high costs and low com­pen­sa­tion. There­fore, ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­tec­tion is more fa­vored for its con­ve­nience and ef­fi­ciency,” Li said.

In 2016, law en­force­ment agen­cies across China in­ves­ti­gated in 48,619 cases in­volv­ing patent dis­putes, in­creas­ing 36.5 per­cent year-on-year.


A joint in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty en­force­ment team con­ducts a home ap­pli­ances patent ex­am­i­na­tion at a su­per­mar­ket in Foshan, Guang­dong prov­ince.

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