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Determinants of foreign patents in China


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  • Sun, Yifei


This study examines patterns of foreign patents and their determinants in China from 1985 to 1999. It reveals that China's patent system is not significantly different from those in most countries, though it is more oriented towards promoting technology diffusion rather than protecting inventors' rights. Since China patent law came into force in 1985, foreign patents, as well as China's domestic patents have been growing rapidly. The study confirms the substantial differences between foreign patents in China and China's domestic patents revealed by previous studies. First, foreign patents primarily fall within the category of inventions, whereas the majority of Chinese domestic patents consist of utility models and industrial designs. Second, foreign patents in China are largely awarded to organizations, while individuals comprise the majority of Chinese domestic patentees. Third, foreign patents in China concentrate in a small number of advanced and newly industrialized economies (NIEs). In addition, this study finds that foreign patents in China are primarily driven by demand factors such as imports from the origin countries, while innovative capabilities of the origin countries or their distances from China are not very significant yet. Finally, this study reveals that innovative capabilities of foreign countries are starting to show significant impacts on their patents in China, particularly on inventions, indicating increasing competition in the Chinese market.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Patent Information.

Volume (Year): 25 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 27-37

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Handle: RePEc:eee:worpat:v:25:y:2003:i:1:p:27-37

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Keywords: Foreign patenting Domestic patenting Chinese patent system Chinese utility models Importation Geographic factors Innovation capability;


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Cited by:
  1. Maria Comune & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2011. "Intellectual Property Rights and South-North Formation of Global Innovation Networks," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 069, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  2. Yang, Deli, 2008. "Pendency and grant ratios of invention patents: A comparative study of the US and China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1035-1046, July.
  3. Keupp, Marcus Matthias & Friesike, Sascha & von Zedtwitz, Maximilian, 2012. "How do foreign firms patent in emerging economies with weak appropriability regimes? Archetypes and motives," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1422-1439.
  4. M. Comune & A. Naghavi & G. Prarolo, 2011. "Intellectual Property Rights and South-North Global Innovation Networks," Working Papers wp764, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.


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