Survey Shows 50% of China's PCT Applications Entered National Phase


The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the PRC recently made a survey on the national phase entry of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international applications of Chinese origin. Results of the survey show that 50% of China's PCT applications have entered national phase.

Of the 12,373 PCT applications from China between 2000 and 2006, 6,416 applications have entered the national phases through SIPO, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), or Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (collectively as "IP5"), while national phase entry of PCT applications from the US, Europe, Japan and Korea during corresponding period stands at 64%, 79%, 84% and 59% respectively.

The survey reveals that China's PCT filing has been increasing rapidly, at an average annual growth of 40%, with applications surging to 1,962 in 2008 from 133 in 2000. In comparison, PCT filing during corresponding period from the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Korea reports an average annual growth of 7%, 13%, 18%, and 27% respectively. Yet, it has to be noted that the total number of PCT applications from China is relatively small, less than 3% of those from the US. For the period between 2000 and 2006, while PCT applications from the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea amount to 451,000, 273,000, 309,000 and 354,000 respectively, only 12,351 PCT applications are filed from China.

The survey finds that on the basis of China's small scale PCT filing, only one application gets national phase entry through one of the IP5 for each application from China, whereas the corresponding figures for PCT filing from the US, Europe, Japan and Korea are 1.5, 2.2, 2.5 and 1.5 respectively.

According to experts of the field, the survey reflects that innovators from China are increasingly aware of the importance of seeking patent protection under foreign jurisdictions, but still lag behind in making good use of international filing. As such, measures are needed to increase the filing for national entry and improve the rate of national phase entry in order to fully explore the benefit of international filing.