On December 28th, 2000 the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced:
"Since science and technology are developing quickly in today's world, intellectual property has become a focus of harsh economic competition of various countries. I support … actively developing inventions and creations, respecting intellectual property rights".
This heralded China’s long term strategic planning to develop technology and intellectual property protections. The key factor behind China’s growing presence in patents is the government’s strategy to turn China into a technology-driven nation.
“Made in China 2025,” was the government's 10 year plan to develop the capability to move from making low end goods or even components of high end goods to catch up with—and then overtake—Western technological prowess in advanced industries such as information technology, aerospace and materials. The plan adopted in 2015 included an “intellectual property powerhouse” initiative, and this included using government subsidies to pursue intellectual property acquisition.
The numbers of patents cover applications made to patent offices of more than 80 countries. Applications for one patent filed in two or more countries are counted as one. The nationality of applicants is used for the by-country rankings.
Roll forward 20 years is anyone really surprised that China is on the verge of technological hegemony in key digital technology areas?
The chart shows superiority in patent application numbers across AI, Regenerative medicine, Autonomous driving, Blockchain, Cyber security, Virtual reality, Lithium batteries, Drones and Conductive polymers.
Some may question the quality of the patents and some may accuse the Chinese of IP theft, but in my view patent leadership will equate to technology leadership. The results of long term strategic planning will be a successful innovation and IP culture and strong economy.
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Author: John Pryor Exalt IP