By Gu Yekai, Yuan Taoxiong, People's Daily
Intellectual property (IP) is indispensable to innovative and high-quality development. Over the recent years, China has witnessed a rise in both the number and quality of valid invention patents, which indicates continuously strengthened impetus for innovation.
Beijing OriginWater Technology Co., Ltd. is a tech firm engaged in wastewater recycling, seawater desalination and production of high-quality drinking water. It has obtained a number of patents in key membrane materials and selective separation technologies.
Recently, the company successfully kicked off pilot production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate from a salt lake in Ngari prefecture, Tibet autonomous region with a key lithium extraction technology it has forged, which is the first production line of this type in China.
This has boosted confidence of Huang Jianglong, president of the company. "Enterprises, supported by reliable and competitive technologies, will surely achieve stable and long-term development," he said.
The quality of China's IP creation has constantly improved, as the country sees continuous optimization in the structure of invention patents.
As of the end of 2022, the total number of valid invention patents in China had reached 4.21 million, the highest in the world. The average ownership of high-value invention patents reached 9.4 patents per 10,000 people, up 1.9 over the previous year.
Patent-intensive industries, featuring rich resources of innovation and strong impetus for innovation, have become a pillar supporting China's high-quality development. In 2021, the added value of these industries increased 17.9 percent year-on-year to exceed 14 trillion yuan ($2.04 trillion), which accounted for 12.44 percent of China's GDP that year.
Innovent, a biopharmaceutical company based in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu province, has built a product chain that includes 36 new drugs that treat tumors, metabolic disorders and other diseases, according to Gao Jianfeng, vice president of human resource of the company.
So far, the company has filed over 700 patent applications in multiple countries and regions, including 106 under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and 144 authorized patents.
A large batch of innovative enterprises have absorbed energy for market competition through IP creation like Innovent has done, and become top players in the market that can make innovations independently.
As of the end of 2022, 355,000 enterprises in China held valid invention patents, 57,000 more from a year ago. The number of high-value invention patents held by domestic enterprises in China reached 968,000, up 28.7 percent year-on-year.
According to a 2021-2025 plan on the protection and utilization of intellectual property right (IPR), the added value of patent-intensive industries in China is expected to make up 13 percent of the country's GDP by 2025.
Focusing on incentive measures, industrial integration and IPR protection, local governments and departments across China have constantly rolled out policies to encourage innovation and promote faster high-quality development.
Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi province has established an industrial patent database that covers nine tech industries; east China's Jiangsu province has built 12 demonstration centers for nurturing high-value invention patents in the biopharmaceutical sector, and set up pharmaceutical IPR protection centers in Nanjing and Suzhou to help enterprises better safeguard their IPRs; north China's Hebei province has launched patent information analysis and other relevant services under the assistance from six patent service providers in the province.
"China's patent-intensive industries still has ample room for improvement despite its rapid development," said Ge Shu, director general of the Strategic Planning Department of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
According to him, the CNIPA will adopt more forceful policies to make the patent-intensive industries even stronger and promote deeper integration of IP and industry development.