Chinese Intellectual Property Strategy

Chinese Intellectual Property Administration
Chinese Intellectual Property Administration

Patenting Innovation Is National Power

As the Center for Strategic and International Studies notes, innovation in an important factor in a nation maintaining global power. Patents secure the rights for companies and national economies to generate GDP by producing products that other countries will buy and import. So, patents are critical to securing income from innovation. However, patenting strategy, whether on the national or corporate level is also critical to directing resources efficiently and effectively. You can’t have a patenting strategy if you don’t analyze the landscape.

China’s activity in global patenting is booming. Although it does not necessarily represent a drastic increase in novel innovation, it does signal desire to compete. Some have been very critical of the value of China’s Patenting…

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

CNIPA National Patent Development Strategy explicitly equates patent generation with innovation and calls for government incentives to bolster the number of domestically filed patents. This strategy has resulted in CNIPA patents being awarded for small design tweaks and incremental changes versus entirely new inventions.[1]


An analysis of China as both a patenting entity and as a nation that administers its own patenting office is very interesting. China has exploded onto the global patenting scene and have taken the lead in both international patent applications filed [2][3][4] filing 58,990 international applications last year, beating out the United States which filed 57,840, and in domestic filings by the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) issuing the most patents from their domestic patent office.

What benefits does China gain by having a flood of patents that are not necessarily very innovative. For one it gets Chinese businesses into the mindset of developing a patenting strategy for both domestic filings and international filings. In other words, Chinese companies will be developing patenting competency. Also, the CNIPA will be efficient at operating at scale.

Data Available in Google BigQuery Public Patent Dataset

International Applications Filed in 2019

Does the Google BigQuery public dataset have this data available?  It seems not.  The query below is aimed at uncovering the WIPO backed statistic that China filed more international applications than the US in 2019.  According to WIPO, in 2019, China filed 58,990 international applications and the United States filed 57,840.  However, examination of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications (aka International Applications) data from Google BigQuery shows that the dataset has the US still ahead of China for international applications in 2019.

PCT Applications by country in 2019.

PCT Applications by country in 2019.

Number of Documents in Each National Patent Office

What about patent documents at the National Patent Office level? An examination of the data available in Google BigQuery shows that CNIPA has the most documents available in the database.

Total Documents by National Patent Office in the Google BigQuery Public Patent Dataset

Total Documents by National Patent Office in the Google BigQuery Public Patent Dataset


[1] Are Patents Indicative of Chinese Innovation?, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

[2] China becomes top filer of International patents in 2019

[3] China Is Taking Patents Seriously. The World Should Take Notice.

[4] In a first, China knocks U.S. from top spot in global patent race


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