So what is the best strategy for patenting in China? I recently gave my “10 Ways to Improve and IP Strategy” talk at IQPC in Florida, and a general consensus among IP managers at the conference was to start filing patents in China now, as if China had a rigorous system for patent enforcement today, in anticipation that China will have a rigorous system of patent enforcement ten years from now. While patents today may have limited value in practice in China, tomorrow, they will likely prove very valuable – perhaps essential – assets to have to succeed in Chinese markets.
This is not unlike, in principle, the idea of buying real estate in questionable neighborhoods in anticipation that those neighborhoods will improve and the value of the asset will rise – which if enough people act with similar logic, can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. China has declared it wants to be an innovator country, not just the factory for everyone else, and having foreign companies outpace Chinese companies on patenting in China would not support that declaration, meaning that the government, as well as commercial interests, will push Chinese company domestic patenting activity. Chinese innovator companies, seeking the benefits of enforceable IP rights in China, will become an inside force for strengthening IP laws. The Chinese system of enforcement almost can’t help but to improve.
Photo credit: Hemera