According to the China National Intellectual Property Administration, China’s patent applications have reported a major upwards spike in the first four months of 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. In the CNIPA’s statistics for January through April 2020 report, they show that even though there was a drastic drop in patent filings in February due to the COVID-19 peak, compared to 2019, there is an overall upswing in the number of post-virus patent filings in China.

In a statement made by the National Intellectual Property Administration (NIPA), there was an almost 8% increase in invention patent filings in April 2020 compared to April 2019; with 106,270 invention patent applications filed in April 2020 compared to 98,529 filings from April 2019. The total number if 2020 invention patent filings are almost the same with 2019 – with 434,682 in 2020 compared to 439,271 at this time last year.

In response to the epidemic, the number of patent applications in February were down by 33.2% compared with the same period last year, but rebounded quickly in March, with year-over-year growth of 10.5%. In April, the growth rate further increased to 15.7%. The sharp turnaround implies that market entities have fostered innovation to improve their ability to respond to the epidemic.

The NIPA also reports an 8.1% increase in domestic enterprise patent filings in the first four months, and high-tech enterprises are the backbone driving the growth. Out of the 65,000 Chinese enterprises that applied for invention patents, about 29,000 are in high-tech industries, accounting for 44.6%. The data indicates each high-tech enterprise has applied for 4.9 patents over the past four months.

The number of patent filings by domestic pharmaceutical and medical companies has also increased, with 9,000 invention patents from January to April, up 8.4% year over year and 9% higher than the overall growth rate.

Additional Statistics:

  • Utility models continued their upswing with an amazing 77% increase in April 2020 compared to April 2019; with approximately 200,000 utility model filing in April 2020 compared to about 113,000 in April 2019.
  • Cumulative numbers show Chinese utility model filings in 2020 now exceed 2019’s filings with approximately 764,000 compared to 616,000 last year at this time.
  • Approximately 185,000 design patents were filed cumulatively from January to April 2020.
  • Approximately 18,500 PCT international applications were filed cumulatively from January to April 2020.
  • Roughly 2.471 million trademark applications were also filed from January to April 2020.

Is this increased filing trend from China any indication of a global increase in the number of foreign filings? It seems only time will tell.