China has reached the top in terms of global patent filings.
A November report from the World Intellectual Property Organization reported that China has secured the top spot in the global patent filings tables for 2021, “way ahead of all other countries,” as a Xinhua story on the report put it.
China’s IP office, CNIPA, received 1.59 million of the reported 3.4 million total patent applications filed worldwide, according to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization in the middle of this month.
The number of patents filed in China is similar in magnitude to the combined total of the next 12 offices, ranking from second to 13th. China received approximately 1 million more applications than second place office, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which received 591,473 applications.
China’s share of the world total has almost doubled, the WIPI report says, from 24.4 percent of all applications to 46.6 percent in 2021. By contrast, it notes, each of the other four offices in the Top 5 experienced a decrease in their respective shares during the same period.
China fared well in the trademark tables, as well. An estimated 13.9 million trademark applications were filed in 2021, an increase of 4 percent over the number filed in 2020. As is the case with other forms of IP, WIPI noted, the increase in trademark applications is largely due to the sheer volume of applications filed in China. In 2021, CNIPA accounted for 11.5 percent of the annual increase in global trademark filing. China’s class count, which adjusts for differences in filing systems across national and regional offices, is an astonishing 9.5 million trademark applications, followed by a relatively paltry 899,678 at the USPTO.
As China’s participation in international patent, trademark and, indeed, other forms of intellectual property, increasing at a staggering rate, it is no surprise that we have seen a commensurate increase in top flight IP work being done there. Asia IP asked a large number of professionals – mostly in-house counsel and corporate legal managers – what they were looking for from their legal service providers. From their answers, we have compiled our list of China’s 100 IP Experts, those lawyers who understand just what their clients need and are able to provide them with the best practical advice.
Top-notch individuals are easy to come by in Beijing, Shanghai and in areas like Guangzhou and Shenzhen on the Pearl River Delta, and are increasingly easy to come by in other regions of the country, as well. While a few large, traditional firms continue to place multiple lawyers on our list, they are increasingly challenged by smaller upstarts, which are often formed by alumni of the older firms, blending the traditions of those firms with a fresher outlook and a, perhaps, more innovative, nimble approach.
Two IP powerhouses in China accounted for a combined 10 percent of our list: Unitalen and Wanhuida Intellectual Property each placed five lawyers on the list. Several firms placed four lawyers on the list: Liu, Shen & Associates; Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent; and NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys. Linda Liu & Partners placed three on the list, while no other firm placed more than two lawyers on the list, tallying up an impressive total of more than 60 different law firms represented on our list, demonstrating clearly that while the largest firms might still remain in the lead, that lead may not be as large as they think it is. The upstarts are hot on their heels.
Most of the lawyers named to our list have multiple practice specialties. Many of them are litigators, while others concentrate on prosecution work or provide strategic advice.
All of them have something in common: they are experts in their fields and, in one way or another, they provide extra value for their clients. They are Asia IP’s China IP Experts.
– GREGORY GLASS