Breaking Patent Records
Chinese innovators filed 1,010,406 new patents in 2015, marking the first time a country’s filings exceeded 1M. (By contrast, the US filed 589,410 patent applications during that same period.) See this new patents 2015 report. The explosive filing rate in China continues. The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) says this number has grown in 2016—to 1,166,785 patent applications (as of November 2016).
Chinese Market Trends
Chinese innovators are focusing more resources at home. The world has yet to see if this trend is just a growth in numbers, or if the jump in filings of patents in China is due to it becoming a more-favored patent venue than elsewhere. Because the great majority of the applicants are domestic, it is likely that international players have yet to put serious resources in filing in China. According to SIPO, applications by US entities in China have dropped almost 3% since November 2015.
See below SIPO’s statistics on the entities filing the most patents in China in 2016, and those that were granted the most patents. We supplemented this data with each entity’s top portfolio patent classifications found in ktMINE’s Patent Search application:
|2016 Domestic Enterprise Granted Patents||2016 Domestic Enterprise Invention Patent Applications|
|Entity||Patent Grants||Top CPC Classifications||Other Industry Players||Entity||Apps||Top CPC Classifications||Other Industry Players|
|State Grid Corporation
||4146||G01R||Huawei Technologies Co.||4906||H04L|
|Huawei Technologies Co||2690||H04L||CHINA PETROLEUM CHEMICALS CO.||4405||Y02P|
|CHINA PETROLEUM CHEMICALS CO.||2555||Y02P||Music Watch (Beijing) Co.||4197||H04N|
|BOE Techology Group Co.
||1228||G02F||Guangdong Oupo Communications||3778||G06F|
|Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co.
BOE Techology Group Co.
|Zhuhai Gree Electric Appliance Co., Ltd
||871||F24F||Zhuhai Gree Electric Appliance Co., Ltd
|CHINA PETROLEUM NATURAL GAS CO.
||867||E21B|| Beijing millet Mobile
|Lenovo (Beijing) Co.
|Shanghai Huahong Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.||721||H01L||
| State Grid Corporation
* Subsidiary of BBK Electronics
** Subsidiary of ZTE Corporation
E21B – EARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING
F24F – AIR-CONDITIONING, AIR-HUMIDIFICATION, VENTILATION, USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
G01R – MEASURING ELECTRIC VARIABLES
G02F – DEVICES OR ARRANGEMENTS, THE OPTICAL OPERATION OF WHICH IS MODIFIED BY CHANGING THE OPTICAL PROPERTIES OF THE MEDIUM OF THE DEVICES OR ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE CONTROL OF THE INTENSITY, COLOUR,
PHASE, POLARISATION OR DIRECTION OF LIGHT, e.g. SWITCHING, GATING, MODULATING OR DEMODULATING”
G06F – ELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
H01L – SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES
H02J – CIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER
H04L – TRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
H04N – PICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
H04W – WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
Y02P – CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
Chinese Smartphone Makers
Not surprisingly, many of China’s state-run facilities top this list, along with big names in consumer-tech like Huawei, Nubian (ZTE), OPPO Electronics and Lenovo. What’s most noticeable is that many of these patent filers are in the mobile handset business, perhaps indicating a continued effort to chip away at the firm grip that Apple and Samsung enjoy on market share for similar devices in the Chinese market and abroad (focusing on India in particular). Patents are a big piece of the puzzle, in order to remain competitive in such a saturated market, it will be crucial to support future legal claims against foreign entities. ktMINE took a look at patent classifications in this market over time, and despite the observation that filings in the relevant classifications appear to be flattening out (if not declining) in patent applications, Chinese smartphone makers’ share of granted patents seems to be growing as US granted patents for similar technologies begin to wane.
Comparing Share of Granted Mobile Phone Patents of China and US
According to the International Data Corporation, OPPO and vivo (both BBK Electronics subsidiaries) continue to threaten Huawei’s market share in China by doubling their market position year-over-year. Apple also continues to struggle in China, having a 34% loss in its year-on-year growth. IDC projects that their losses will continue on into 2017. That being said, the quality of these patents remains to be assessed, not to mention that the Chinese patent venue leaves much to be desired in terms of legal protection and regulation. It certainly seems as though China is getting serious about patent protection and this effort appears to be poised to continue in the years to come. Take a look at our recent post Looking Ahead, the State of Patent Litigation to dive into this further.