The Greater China IP Updates – March 2022
Huawei Now 5th on U.S. Patents List
Huawei Technologies is moving up the list of companies getting the most patents in the U.S. In 2020, Huawei received 2,770 patents which put it in 5th place behind IBM, Samsung, Canon and TSMC. This compares with 2020 when Huawei was in 9th place. Although Huawei has been excluded from the U.S. market for networking equipment and banned from buying components that use U.S. technology, it has been making greater efforts to boost its own technological base. Huawei’s rise in 2021 is partly due to the decline in patents granted to the other heavy hitter companies and that resulted in 7 percent fewer patents awarded last year. U.S. companies accounted for fewer than half of the 327,329 patents issued in the U.S. last year. Looking at the global picture, Samsung remains the biggest holder of patented inventions, but six Chinese entities including Huawei and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, hold more invention patents than IBM which has a global ranking at 8th place. China is expected to overtake South Korea in annual patent rankings perhaps as soon as next year. The U.S. remains strong in several areas, however, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning with IBM, Google, Intel Corp and Microsoft in the lead. Has the Covid-19 epidemic stimulated changes in patent applications? It’s too early to say because patent applications are confidential for the first 18 months. Some trends are an early indication of the future though, with telemedicine, new seed varieties and supply chain logistics being amongst the fastest growing categories.
China Highlights IP Coverage in RCEP
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) took effect on January 1, 2022. With China signing on as one of the biggest economies, there is a clear emphasis on Intellectual Property with the chapter on IP including 83 clauses, transitional arrangements and 2 annexes for technical assistance. As one of the biggest agreements on IP signed by China, the chapter covers copyright, trademarks, geographical indications, patents, designs, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, anti-unfair competition, IP enforcement, cooperation, transparency, and technical assistance with the aim of reducing impediments to trade and investment by promoting closer economic integration via the adequate creation, utilization, protection and enforcement of IP. One aspect of the RCEP is that it takes into account the different levels of economic development and capacity in different countries as seen in the relevant provisions on transitional periods and technical assistance using the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade Organization as its basis.
China Joins Hague International Design System for the International Registration of Designs
On February 5, 2022, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that China had joined the Hague International Design System that allows registering up to 100 designs in 94 countries through one international application. The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced that the 1999 Act will take effect in China on May 5, 2022. The newly amended China Patent Law that took effect last year extended the term of a design patent from 10 years to 15 years, which is in line with the minimum term of protection under the Hague System.