China now the top patent filer
Every year the World Intellectual Property Organisation publishes the World Intellectual Property Indicators.
The current publication reports that, for the first time, China has filed more patents than any other nation. Patent filings are still on the increase in the most patent offices, however, growth in China is the greatest.
China also filed more trade marks and industrial (registered) designs than any other nation.
It is difficult to maintain the argument that intellectual property does not matter in China in the face of this stunning fact. Coupled with China’s increasingly robust patent enforcement systems, those without a patent in the Chinese market will be significantly disadvantaged.
An article in Nature reports that there has been a huge rise in patent litigation in China, to 7,819 cases in 2011, which is around twice as many as there was in the US, further highlighting the increasingly important nature of patents in China. There appears, however, to be a reluctance for Courts in China to award financial penalties for infringement.