I met Lynn Wang, a Chinese IP attorney who works in California, at a NYS Bar Association Intellectual Property Section meeting at Lake George’s Sagamore Resort a couple of years ago. Since that time, I’ve gotten weekly updates from her on the status of IP law in China.
Her latest tells me:
“According to the latest statistics on China’ State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) website, China received 828,328 patent applications last year, including the applications for invention, utility model and design, an increase of 19.4 percent year-on-year.
“The SIPO received 289,838 applications for invention in 2008?up 18.2 percent over the last year. Among them, 194,579 applications for invention were filed by Chinese applicants; a yearly increase of 27.1%. 95,259 applications for invention were filed by foreign applicants; a yearly increase of 3.4%.
“In 2008, totally 411,982 applications were granted, an increase of 17.1 percent year-on-year.”
China is quickly catching up to the United States in terms of the number of patent applications filed. They’re not there yet, but for a country whose IP protection has been nonexistent for millenia, they’re doing really very well. Patent protection (and trademark and copyright protection, too) represents a real shift in the Chinese people’s paradigm. The expression of ideas in China have been free for the taking forever; now, thanks to Western influence and market demand, the expression of ideas isn’t free for the taking anymore.
I visited the SIPO (the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office) website (http://www.sipo.gov.cn/sipo_English/) and learned that 2009 is the first time for Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to give equal stress in his Government Work Report to the Three Strategies for China:
- IP strategy
- rejuvenation of China through science and education, and
- reinvigorating of China through human resources development .
This equal stress on all three initiatives will further promote the development of China’s IP cause.
Thanks to Lynn for keeping me updated on the development of intellectual property in the country that covers 1/4 of the world’s land mass.