After the raid on Olympic gold medals, China is racing for another prize: the lead in patents!
A recent report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) indicates that between 2005 and 2006 the number of filings worldwide by applicants from China increased by 32.1%. Chinese residents increased their share of total worldwide patent filings from 1.8% to 7.3% between 2000 and 2006 – mostly due to increases in domestic patent filings.
At the corporate level, the telecommunication equipment manufacturer Huawei has even moved up 9 places to become the 4th largest patent applicant with 1,365 applications published in 2007, following Matsushita, Philips Electronics N.V. and Siemens. While just missing the podium, it leads among all Chinese patent applicants for the sixth year in a row and now totals more than 29000 patents.
So, is the era of reverse-engineering and pirating over? For sure, there aren’t so many “Huawei” out there yet but at least it is an encouraging sign that Chinese companies now take pride in patenting.