Pursuit of innovation boosts patent numbers




China has granted an accumulative total of more than 5 million invention patents, and the 5th millionth patent certificate was issued to Jiangsu Tomilo Environmental Testing Equipment, a high-tech company headquartered in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, for an innovative refrigeration system.


The system developed by the company and Xi'an Jiaotong University is mainly used for testing new energy vehicles, capable of reducing energy consumption by one-third, local media reported.


"It is among our 20 effective invention patents," said Zhang Yanjun, deputy general manager of the company.


The company's pursuit of innovation is the epitome of substantial progress in Jiangsu's intellectual property creation, operation, protection and utilization.


Government data show that during the past decade, the province's average ownership of invention patents per 10,000 people increased to 41.17 in 2021 from 5.73 in 2012. Invention patents reached 16,242 in 2012, with 68.98 percent of them granted to businesses. The number jumped to 68,813 last year, with 85.28 percent of them granted to businesses.


The increases show Jiangsu's IP improvement, said Niu Yong, an official from the Intellectual Property Office of Jiangsu Province.


Back in 2016, the province proposed "six strategic changes" in its IP development initiative for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). One of them was that the focus of IP creation needed to shift from quantity accumulation to equal emphasis on IP quantity and quality, Niu recalled.


Jiangsu took the lead in the country to implement a high-value patent cultivation plan, embarking on a journey toward building a strong IP province.


To date, 99 high-value patent cultivation demonstration centers at provincial level and more than 300 at city or county level have been founded across the province, covering key industries such as advanced machinery manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, new materials, and energy-efficient, eco-friendly products.


The provincial-level centers have rolled out more than 10,000 applications for invention patents, nearly half of which have been granted. International patent filings via the Patent Cooperation Treaty surpassed 1,100.


An IP-friendly environment is a crucial consideration for many foreign-funded businesses to determine their investment project location. It has also been key for Jiangsu to have attracted so many foreign-invested companies.


"China's IP system has increasingly improved in recent years, from which we have gained a deep understanding of IP protection activities in Jiangyin and Wuxi cities (in Jiangsu)," Yu Zhigao, senior vice-president of R&D and engineering in North Asia at Bekaert, a Belgium-headquartered company specializing in steel wire transformation and coating technologies.


A trade secret enforcement case, which ruled in favor of Bekaert, gave the foreign-funded company more faith in China's business environment.


An IP protection station was founded at the Bekaert subsidiary in Jiangyin in 2015, which involves multiple government departments including the city's IP office, market supervision administration, legal courts and procurators.


The move demonstrates that the authorities treat owners alike in IP protection, whether they are domestically grown of foreign-funded, local media reported.


IP protection is highly valued in Jiangsu, which has been factored in when the provincial authorities planned for the province's high-quality development, said Su Zhiping, head of the Jiangsu IP office, adding that her team is committed to stronger IP protection, aimed at a continuously improving business environment.