Patent Application, Grant and Patent Law Amendment in China

  • 12 18, 2020
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  • Author:Gupeng Zhang, Sen Du, Mengya Zhang


  This study employs 920,108 invention patents from the State Intellectual Property of China (SIPO) to examine the impact of two patent law amendments, which occurred in 1993 and 2001 respectively, on the patent grant. The first patent law amendment in 1993 led to less strict criteria for patent approval. And the second patent law amendment, which occurred in 2001, showed a similar positive impact on patenting as well. It is more likely that the first patent law amendment encouraged foreign applicants to make patent application, because their applications and grant share started to rise after 1993. By contrast, the second patent law amendment played an opposite role by motivating Chinese applicants to make patent application, which is reflected by a rise of application and grant share by Chinese applicants in post-2001 period. Patent grant is viewed as one of the key indicators for judging the patent value. We find that foreign applicants from the U.S., Japan and European Union have higher patent grant rate than that of Chinese applicants, suggesting that patents held by foreign applicants may have higher potential value than those held by Chinese applicants. Different types of applicants may differ from each other in terms of the patent grant rate, where research institutes have higher patent grant rate than that of corporations and individuals. Since the filed patents in China can enjoy a provisional protection for 3 years at most, some applicants do not request their examination. After an examination of the novelty, inventiveness and practicality of patent, the patent office determines whether to grant it. By using a bivariate probit model, we make an econometric analysis of this case. The result confirms the positive impact of both patent law amendments in 1993 and 2001 on the patent grant. We also find other determinants of the patent grant, for example, R&D human capital investment, applicant’s competitive technology advantage in the patent’s field, and applicant’s research ability, play positive roles in driving applicant to ask for examination. Patent’s complexity plays a positive role in driving the patent office to grant it. We discuss the significance of our study at the end of this paper.

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