How to Stay Ahead of Litigation in China




With the quick development of Chinese economy, Chinese market becomes non-negligible for both of Chinese companies and foreign companies. Chinese government attached great importance to Intellectual property protection, as Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important asset and a powerful tool for keep competitiveness for innovative entities. Nowadays, the amount of patent applications and valid patents has reached to an amazing level. Accompanied by the high volume of valid patents and increased knowledge of the patent owner on how to defend their lawful rights, solving patent-related disputes by litigation or other measures is booming and is more popular compared with the situation many years ago. This is especially true for Chinese companies. However, through the communication with lots of foreign companies and lawyers, the author feels they have lots of concerns regarding their patent protection in China, sometimes they are afraid of litigating in China even though they have very good patent portfolio in China. This article is aiming to provide some basic information regarding the latest patent enforcement issues in China and hope to help innovative entities make suitable patent protection strategies in China.

I. Some fact you need to know

Below Chart 1 shows the trend of patent filings in the past 10 year which has very steady increase. Taking the date in 2018 as example, the total patent filings reached to 4,323,100 including invention patent filings of 1,542,000, Utility Model patent filings of 2,072,300 and Design patent filings of 708,800. It is expected that these numbers in 2019 will have slight drop, but will still be kept at a very high level. It should be pointed out that, averagely, around 160,000 patent flings are from foreign countries, only accounting for 3.7% of the total number.

Chart 2 shows the comparison among national patent filings received by Top 10 patent office around the world in 2018. Chart 3 shows the comparison among PCT filings received by Top 10 patent office as Receiving Patent Office around the world in 2018. In both charts, Chinese patent office was in a leading position which means China-based innovative entities are playing more important roles in the global market.