In a press conference on January 14, 2020, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)released 2019 annual statistics indicating a drop of 9.1% in invention patent application filings from 2018. Nonetheless, Chinese invention applications filed in 2019 totaled a staggering 1.401 million. This compares to 616,852 U.S. utility patent application filings in fiscal year 2019, a 3% increase over fiscal year 2018.
Press conference photo from CNIPA.
CNIPA also stated that 453,000 invention patents were granted in 2019, a 4.8% increase year from 2018. The top three invention patentees were Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, and OPPO Guangdong Mobile Communication Co., Ltd. CNIPA examined 1.023 million invention patent applications, 1.981 million utility model patent applications, and 744,000 design patent applications.
The number of foreign-originated invention patent applications in China reached 157,000, an increase of 6.0% over the previous year. Japan, the United States, and Germany were the top three filers of invention patent applications in China, with applications of 49,000, 39,000, and 16,000 in respectively, which increased by 7.9%, 1.5%, and 6.4% year-on-year.
The number of foreign trademark applications in China reached 255,000, an increase of 5.3% over the previous year. The United States was the top TM filer with 54,000 applications, representing a 5.3% increase. Japan and the United Kingdom were second and third for trademark applications in China, with applications of 31,000 and 24,000 respectively, with year-on-year growth of 21.2% and 42.4%.
Note that the press conference did not make mention of the drop in patent filings nor the potential reasons behind the drop but instead mentioned the increase in patent grants and foreign-originated patent applications. The drop in invention patent applications may indicate a slowing economy, an increase in patent quality, and/or reduction in monetary government incentives for Chinese patent filings.