Propensity to patent, competition and China's foreign patenting surge
Foreign applications for Chinese patents have been growing by over 30% a year. This paper explores two hypotheses in explaining the foreign patenting surge in China: market covering and competitive threat. With foreign companies more deeply engaged with the Chinese economy, returns from protecting their intellectual property in China have increased. As domestic Chinese firms' ability to imitate foreign technology gains strength and competition between foreign firms intensifies in the Chinese market, such competitive threat creates an urgency for protecting intellectual property. Using a database that comprises China's State Intellectual Property Office patents and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patents, I find strong support for the competitive threat hypothesis. The estimates imply that competition between foreign firms in China can account for 36% of the annual growth of foreign patenting in China.
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