Putting China's Patent Rise into Context

Intellectual Asset Management, November/December 2016

University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-04

9 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016

See all articles by Jay P. Kesan

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law

Alan C. Marco

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Public Policy

Richard Miller

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Date Written: December 19, 2016

Abstract

By all accounts, China became a trail-blazing world economic power in the early 21st century. Adjusting for purchasing power parity, China’s gross domestic product per capita increased by 240% from 2000 to 2011. China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) currently receives more patent applications than any other patent-granting authority, with 80% of applications coming from Chinese residents. To compare, fewer than half of all applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) come from US-based inventors.

This growth in patenting represents a new reliance on technological development. Patent applications to SIPO from large and medium-sized enterprises grew at an average annual rate of 38% over the same period. Instead of relying solely on manufacturing, the Chinese are attempting to grow their economy through technological advancements.

This article presents an empirical study of Chinese patenting trends in the United States across several decades and uses three primary approaches to present a comparative analysis of these trends. First, it compares current US patenting trends from Chinese applicants to those from other Asian countries, as well as from emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). Second, it uses historical data to compare the recent growth in Chinese patent applications filed in the United States to similarly active periods of growth for applications from South Korea and India during the late 20th century. Third, it examines data on the influx of foreign capital into China.

The results show that China’s patenting trends at the USPTO have much in common with other East Asian technology booms. These similarities are striking when looking at the growth of South Korea in the 1980s. The role of foreign direct investment can also be observed as shifting in technological focus and geographic concentration. This analysis provides helpful insights into possible future developments.

Suggested Citation

Kesan, Jay P. and Marco, Alan C. and Miller, Richard, Putting China's Patent Rise into Context (December 19, 2016). Intellectual Asset Management, November/December 2016; University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887484

Jay P. Kesan (Contact Author)

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

Alan C. Marco

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

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