Perspectives on the Growth in Chinese Patent Applications to the USPTO

27 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2016

See all articles by Alan C. Marco

Alan C. Marco

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy

Richard Miller

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2014

Abstract

The purpose of this working paper is to investigate utility patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) from inventors residing in China. It first focuses on the growth in the numbers of applications, putting this growth in context by comparing it to other important emerging economies. The paper considers how the technology mix of applications from China and the other comparison countries has evolved and how allowance rates have changed over the past decade. The paper also puts the recent growth of Chinese utility patent applications into historical perspective by comparing it to 1) the growth in South Korean applications for the 10-year period starting from the mid-1980s, and 2) the growth in Indian applications for the 10-year period starting in the late 1990s. We find that the growth in the number of applications from China has greatly outpaced the overall growth in applications from both domestic and foreign filers. It has also outpaced the growth in applications from other important emerging economies such as India and Brazil. At the same time, the technology mix of Chinese applications has become more heavily weighted toward communications and computing. We found a similar result for the applications which originated from the other major emerging economies. Finally, over the past 6 years, the allowance rate for Chinese applications has begun to converge with the allowance rate for Japanese and South Korean applications. The historical comparisons indicate that the growth in applications from China is not unique. Chinese growth has been very similar to the growth in applications to the PTO from South Korea starting in the mid-1980s. Overall, the results indicate that China is taking the next step in the development process from the production of standardized goods to the development of new products and processes.

Keywords: patents, China

JEL Classification: O34

Suggested Citation

Marco, Alan C. and Miller, Richard and Kesan, Jay P., Perspectives on the Growth in Chinese Patent Applications to the USPTO (February 1, 2014). USPTO Economic Working Paper 2014-1; University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849622 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2849622

Alan C. Marco (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy ( email )

685 Cherry St.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345
United States

Richard Miller

United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )

Alexandria
VA 22313-1451
United States

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-7887 (Phone)
217-244-1478 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaykesan.com

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