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Written by: Lawrence A. Maxham

When it comes to patent litigation in China, the popular beliefs, based either on old facts or maybe even on no facts, are that China ignores patents and treats foreign-owned patents with a decided lack of regard.

Empirical data shows that in one recent year (2014), of 1.3 million patents issued in China, only about 7% are foreign-owned. Strangely, an analysis of patents litigated in China shows that about 7% were owned by non-Chinese entities.

What is even more interesting, Chinese courts grant injunctions to foreigners at a slightly higher rate than to Chinese patents (93% to 90%), and foreign patent owners won more of the time than did Chinese owners (84% to 80%).

While foreign patentees have been faring very well in winning and getting injunctions, damages awarded to the winning patent owner have been maddeningly low. However, some recent cases have awarded substantially higher damages to the winner. That’s “higher,” not high.

Our observations are that US technology companies now file a high percentage of their patent applications in China where they believe they will be able to enforce or license their inventions. Remember, the life of a patent is generally about 20 years from filing, so businesses are making bets based on the present situation and on what they see for the future.

The statistics above are attributable to research by Renjun Bian, a J.S.D. candidate at UC Berkeley School of Law, which were published on 7 February 2018 in Dennis Crouch’s Patently-O Blog.

Are you or your business considering filing in China but need more guidance before going forward? Call Us or Email Us today and let us help you make the most of your patent filing experience. We offer a reduced rate consultation and an introductory small business discount!

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