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Chinese phone maker Huawei files most European patents in 2017

Business2018-03-08

A Chinese company has topped the European Patent Office's 2017 patent-filing tally for the first time, according to results announced on Wednesday in Brussels. Chinese telecoms giant Huawei filed 2,398 patents, followed by Siemens and LG on the EPO ranking list. The company followed Dutch electronics firm Philips to be the second largest patent-filer in 2016, with Samsung at the third place on the listing. The latest listing shows a 16.6 percent year-on-year growth in the number of patents filed by Chinese companies in Europe. The total number of patents filed by enterprises from all nations grew by 3.9 percent. Other Chinese companies that filed a large number of patent applications in 2017 included Huawei's rival ZTE, e-commerce giant Alibaba, gadget maker Xiaomi, and car-maker BYD. China has also become a top-five patent recipient is the US. "We highly value our intellectual property (IP) and feel that patents registration is one important measurement of our international competitiveness," said Song Liuping, senior vice-president and chief legal officer at Huawei. Fu Xiaolan, director of the technology and management center for development at the University of Oxford, said the growth in the number of patents being filed in Europe by Chinese companies reflects their "innovation, growing appreciation of the importance of IP protection, and preparation for further internationalization". "China is increasingly becoming an innovation leader, as opposed to just playing the role of catching up with other advanced economies," Fu said. China's plan for innovation Overall, China ranked fifth among nations, for the number of patents filed with the EPO in 2017, behind the United States, Germany, Japan, and France. Innovation is at the heart of China's 13th Five-Year Plan and Beijing has set the target of becoming an "innovation nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050. To better protect companies' IP, China has established IP rights courts nationwide, investigated 1.3 million cases, and pressed charges against almost 100,000 violators during the past five years. One of the courts ruled in favor of Huawei against Samsung in a January case, forcing the South Korean company to stop selling some smartphone models in China. Huawei also got 11.6 million US dollars from Samsung through a patent infringement case in 2017. Tim Smith, principal at London-based IP consultancy Rouse, said the patent quality of Chinese companies is improving quickly, something that has been helped by their international activities. "Developing an international patent portfolio is a much more expensive exercise, given the higher patent filing and associated translation costs. This demands a focus on quality and on prosecuting only those patents that offer real commercial advantage," said Smith. (CHINA DAILY)

A Chinese company has topped the European Patent Office's 2017 patent-filing tally for the first time, according to results announced on Wednesday in Brussels.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei filed 2,398 patents, followed by Siemens and LG on the EPO ranking list.

The company followed Dutch electronics firm Philips to be the second largest patent-filer in 2016, with Samsung at the third place on the listing.

The latest listing shows a 16.6 percent year-on-year growth in the number of patents filed by Chinese companies in Europe. The total number of patents filed by enterprises from all nations grew by 3.9 percent.

Other Chinese companies that filed a large number of patent applications in 2017 included Huawei's rival ZTE, e-commerce giant Alibaba, gadget maker Xiaomi, and car-maker BYD.

China has also become a top-five patent recipient is the US.

"We highly value our intellectual property (IP) and feel that patents registration is one important measurement of our international competitiveness," said Song Liuping, senior vice-president and chief legal officer at Huawei.

Fu Xiaolan, director of the technology and management center for development at the University of Oxford, said the growth in the number of patents being filed in Europe by Chinese companies reflects their "innovation, growing appreciation of the importance of IP protection, and preparation for further internationalization".

"China is increasingly becoming an innovation leader, as opposed to just playing the role of catching up with other advanced economies," Fu said.

China's plan for innovation

Overall, China ranked fifth among nations, for the number of patents filed with the EPO in 2017, behind the United States, Germany, Japan, and France.

Innovation is at the heart of China's 13th Five-Year Plan and Beijing has set the target of becoming an "innovation nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse in scientific and technological innovation by 2050.

To better protect companies' IP, China has established IP rights courts nationwide, investigated 1.3 million cases, and pressed charges against almost 100,000 violators during the past five years.

One of the courts ruled in favor of Huawei against Samsung in a January case, forcing the South Korean company to stop selling some smartphone models in China. Huawei also got 11.6 million US dollars from Samsung through a patent infringement case in 2017.

Tim Smith, principal at London-based IP consultancy Rouse, said the patent quality of Chinese companies is improving quickly, something that has been helped by their international activities.

"Developing an international patent portfolio is a much more expensive exercise, given the higher patent filing and associated translation costs. This demands a focus on quality and on prosecuting only those patents that offer real commercial advantage," said Smith.

(CHINA DAILY)

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