China Utility Model Patent Application Filings Up 29% in 2020; Foreign-Originated Chinese Invention Patent Application Filings Down 3%

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In the newly released China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) 2020 Annual Report (国家知识产权局2020年度报告)  the number of invention patent applications filed in China in 2020 was 1.497 million, a year-on-year increase of 6.9%. Among them, there were 1.345 million domestic invention patent applications filed, accounting for 89.8% of the total, a year-on-year increase of 8.1%; there were 152,000 foreign invention patent applications filed in China, accounting for 10.2% of the total, a year-on-year decrease of 3.0%. 

Note China had ceased publishing filing data in December 2020 and this is the first report of filing data since then.  While the number of invention patent applications filings is up in 2020, CNIPA is budgeting for a potential 50+% drop over the next few years as China transitions from quantity to quality of applications.

In 2020, the number of utility model patent applications filings in China was 2.927 million, a year-on-year increase of 29.0%; the number of design patent applications in my country was 770,000, a year-on-year increase of 8.3%.

In 2020, 530 thousand invention patents were granted, a year-on-year increase of 17.1%. Among them, 441,000 China-originated invention patents were granted, accounting for 83.1% of the total.  China’s invention patent authorization rate was 47.3%.   In 2020, 2.377 million utility model patents were granted, a year-on-year increase of 50.2%; 732,000 design patents were granted, a year-on-year increase of 31.5%.

The top 10 Chinese invention patentees in 2020 and foreign invention patentees in 2020 are shown in the charts below (Alibaba is a Variable Interest Entity and is presumably filing in the name of an offshore holding company).

The top 10 Chinese invention patentees in 2020 and the number of invention patent grants.
Top 10 Foreign Invention Patentees in 2020 and the number of invention patent grants.

In 2020, the number of trademark applications filed in China was 9.348 million, a year-on-year increase of 19.3%, a record high.  For the whole year, there were 9.116 million domestic trademark applications, accounting for 97.5% of the total, a year-on-year increase of 20.2%; foreign trademark application filings in China were 231,000, accounting for 2.5%, a decrease of 9.4% from the previous year.

The full report is available here: 2020年国家知识产权局年报 (Chinese only) and includes additional data on trademarks, geographic indications and integrated circuit layouts.

Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

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Author: Aaron Wininger

Aaron Wininger is a Senior Attorney and Director of China Intellectual Property at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.