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2021 Annual Report of China National Intellectual Property Administration (Selected)

1. Patent
 
(1) Patent application 
 
In 2021, the number of China’s invention patent application was 1.586 million, a year-on-year increase of 5.9%. Among them, 1.428 million were from domestic applicants, accounting for 90% of the total amount with a year-on-year growth of 6.2%; 158,000 were from foreign applicants, accounting for 10% with a 3.6% rise. 
 
Among the domestic invention patent applications, there were 1.314 million service inventions, accounting for 92.0%, up by 8.2% as compared with last year. The proportion of enterprises in domestic invention patent applications reached 66.8%, an increase of 6.1% over the previous year.
 
In 2021, the number of utility model patent applications in China was 2.852 million with a 2.5% drop; 806,000 design patent applications were filed, a year-on-year increase of 4.6%.
 
(2) Patent Examination 
 
In 2021, 1.266 million invention patents were concluded. 77,000 prioritized patent examination cases of three types were accepted, 74,000 of which were invention patent applications, a year-on-year increase of 31.5%. 
 
In 2021, the examination period for high-value invention patent was shortened to 13.3 months, and the average examination period for invention patent was shortened to 18.5 months.
 
 
(3) Patent grant
 
In 2021, 696,000 invention patents were granted, up by 31.3% year-on-year. Thereinto, 586,000 were domestic invention patents, accounting for 84.2% of the total; 110,000 were foreign invention patents, up by 23% year-on-year. Among the granted domestic invention patents, 565,000 were service inventions, accounting for 96.4%, increasing by 33.3% year-on-year. 21,000 were non-service inventions, accounting for 3.6% with a 23%uptick.
 
In 2021, 3.12 million utility model patents were granted, up by 31.2% year-on-year. 786,000 design patents were granted, up by 7.3% year-on-year.
 
In 2021, China's invention patent grant rate was 55%.   
 

(4) Statistics of valid invention patents 
 
As of the end of 2021, the number of invention patents granted and maintained valid was 3.597 million, a year-on-year increase of 17.6%. Among them, the number of domestic invention patents was 2.773 million, accounting for 77.1%, a year-on-year increase of 21.7%; the number of foreign invention patents in China was 824,000, accounting for 22.9%, a year-on-year increase of 5.8%.
 
As the end of 2021, the number of high-value invention patents per 10,000 people in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) reached 7.5.
 
(5) PCT international patent application
 
In 2021, 73,000 international patent applications submitted through PCT were accepted, up by 1.5% year-on-year, including 68,000 domestic fillings with a year-on-year increase of 2.1%. 78,000 International Search Report (ISR) were completed, a year-on-year increase of 11.6%. Since 1994, a total of 521,000 international patent applications submitted through PCT have been accepted and 485,000 PCT International Search Reports have been completed.
 
In 2021, 107,000 PCT international applications entered China national stage, up by 6.3% year-on-year, including 106,000 invention patent applications and 916 utility model patent applications. Since 1994, a total of 1.419 million PCT applications have been received.
 

 
(6) Patent reexamination and invalidation 
 
In 2021, 76,000 patent reexamination requests were accepted, up by 39.2% year-on-year. 54,000 cases were concluded, up by 12.4% year-on-year. The average period of concluding a reexamination case was 16.4 months. Among the concluded invention patent reexamination cases, 47.2% of the rejection decisions were revoked, and 52.8% rejection decision were maintained or the cases were closed by other means (including request rejected, deemed withdrawal, and the initiative withdrawal by the applicant).
 
In 2021, 7,628 patent invalidation requests were accepted, up by 23.5% year-on-year. 7,065 cases were closed, down by 1.1% year-on-year. The average period of concluding a patent invalidation request was 5.8 months. Among the concluded invalidation cases: for invention patent, 24.7% were fully invalidated, 15% were partially invalidated, and 60.4% were maintained; for utility model patent, 42% were fully invalidated, 17.8% were partially invalidated, and 40.2% were maintained; for design patent, 49.9% were fully invalidated, 0.9% were partially invalidated, and 49.1% were maintained.
 
The total of the accepted reexamination requests and invalidation requests since 1985 was 401,000 and 75,000 with 320,000 and 70,000 concluded respectively. 
 
Regarding the circuit trial on patent reexamination and invalidation, the circuit courts of Shanghai, Guangdong province, Jiangsu province, and Hunan province heard 27 cases in 2021 in total. By the end of 2021, 25 multimedia court rooms and 35 multimedia collegial rooms had been built, and a peer-to-peer remote hearing system had been served in Intellectual Property Protection Centers in Beijing, Nanjing, Zhejiang province, and Pudong district of Shanghai, covering various modes such as offline hearing, online hearing, and remote hearing in protection centers.
 
2. Trademark
 
(1) Trademark application
 
In 2021, the number of trademark registration applications in China was 9.451 million, of which 9.193 million were from domestic applicants, accounting for 97.3% of the total, up by 0.8% year-on-year. The trademark applications from foreign applicants in China reached 258,000, accounting for 2.7%, up by 11.6% year-on-year. 3.202 million trademark applications for services were filed, accounting for 34.1%of the total amount with a  7.3% rise year-on-year.
 
 
 
(2) Trademark examination
 
In 2021, 10.568 million trademark applications were examined, up by 20.3% year-on-year. The average examination period for trademark applications was stable at 4 months, while the average period for trademark registration was reduced to 7 months.
 
 
 
(3) Trademark registration
 
In 2021, the number of registered trademark reached 7.739 million, marking a 34.3% growth, including 7.545 million domestic trademarks, accounting for 97.5% with a35.3% rise and 194,000 foreign trademarks, accounting for 2.5% and up by 5.2% year-on-year.
 
For the trademark registration examination in 2021, preliminary approval accounted for 56.9%, partial rejection and rejection accounted for 15.2% and 27.8% respectively.
 
 (4) The number of valid registered trademarks
 
By the end of 2021, there were 37.24 million valid trademarks, up by 23.4% year-on-year, among which, 35.323 million trademarks were owned by Chinese applicants, accounting for 94.9% of the total with an increase of24.4% year-on-year. 1.917 million valid trademarks were owned by foreign applicants, accounting for 5.1% with a 7.7% rise year-on-year.
 
 
(5) Madrid international trademark registration applications
 
In 2021, a total of 5,928 applications for Madrid international trademarks registration from Chinese applicants were received. By the end of 2021, the cumulative number of valid Madrid trademarks registered by Chinese applicants reached 49,000. The Madrid international trademark registration has switched to a fully electronic procedure, with 97% of applications made online. By the end of 2021, the average formality examination period for Madrid international trademarks registration application filed by Chinese applicants had been shortened to two months.
 
In 2021, the top ten goods and services that Chinese applicant filed for Madrid international trademarks registration are: Class 9 (Scientific instruments, computers, digital storage media, etc.), Class7 (machines, machine tools, motor, etc.), Class 35 (advertising, business management, etc.), Class 11 (Lighting equipment, microwave ovens, refrigerators, etc.), Class 12 (vehicle, etc.), Class 25 (clothing, footwear, headgear, etc.), Class 10 (surgical, medical instruments, etc.), Class 42 (scientific and technological services, etc.), Class 21 (household or kitchen utensils and containers, etc.), and Class 5 (pharmaceutical, etc.).
 
The top ten contracting parties that are designated by Chinese applicant are Russia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and Malaysia. The top ten provinces (cities) having the most applicants of Madrid international trademarks in China are Guangdong, Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province, Shanghai, Shandong province, Fujian province, Beijing, Anhui province, Hebei, province and Hunan province.
 
In 2021, 27,000 Madrid international trademark registration extension applications designating China filed by foreign applicants were received. The examination period for such application has been shortened to 4 months, and the period for the examination of international transfer, change, and renewal has been shortened to 1 month, reaching the fastest level ever.
 
In 2021, the top five classes of the goods and services that the foreign applicant of Madrid trademark international registration filed for when designated China are Class 9 (computer and software products and electrical and scientific products, etc.), Class 42 (scientific and technological services, etc.), Class 35 (advertising, business management, etc.), Class 5 (pharmaceutical, etc.), and Class 25 (clothing, footwear, headgear, etc.).
 
 
(6) Trademark opposition
 
In 2021, 176,000 trademark opposition requests were received with 31.1% growth year-on-year, 172,000 had gone through the formality examination. Formality examination period had been reduced to 2.5 months. 164,000 opposition examinations were completed, up by 10.1% year-on-year, and the average examination period for opposition was shrunk to 11 months. For the concluded trademark opposition cases in 2021, the opposition was established in 38.6% of the cases, partially established in 10.4% cases, and not established in 51% cases. Malicious registration has been effectively contained in the opposition procedure.
 
 
(7) Trademark review
 
In 2021, 473,000 trademark review cases were accepted, seeing a 28.8% rise year-on-year. Among them, 383,000 were involving the review on the rejection and 90,000 were the complex cases involving two parties. 383,000 review cases were handled and judged, including 308,000 rejection review cases and 74,000 complex cases involving two parties.
 
Circuit trial on trademark review was launched actively, and four circuit courts were set up in Tianjin, Jinan, Chengdu, and Yantai to provide parties involved with convenient and quick, intelligent and accurate, open and transparent trademark review services.
 
 
3. Geographical indications
 
(1) Geographical indication products
 
In 2021, 22 applications for geographical indications protection products were accepted, 99 were approved for protection, and 7,677 market entities were approved to use the special sign of geographical indications. As of the end of 2021, a total of 2,490 geographical indications products had been approved, and 17,000 market entities had been approved to use the special sign of geographical indications.
 
 
(2) Geographical indication trademark
 
In 2021, 477 geographical indication trademarks were newly approved for registration. By the end of 2021, 6,562 geographical indication trademarks had been registered, of which 215 were registered by foreign applicants.
 
Among the registered geographical indication trademarks, Class 31 (agricultural products, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.) was the most popular choice with 3,346 trademarks, accounting for 51%, followed by Class 29 (meat, fish, eggs, milk, etc.) and Class 30 (coffee, tea, rice, honey, etc.) , with 1,178 and 1,107 trademarks, accounting for 18% and 16.9%, respectively.
 
The top five provinces in the number of registered geographical indication trademarks are Shandong province (855), Fujian Province (594), Sichuan Province (552), Hubei Province (500), and Jiangsu Province (379), collectively accounting for 43.9% of the total.
 
By the end of 2021, 215 foreign geographical indication trademarks had been approved and registered, an increase of 2.4 % compared with the end of 2020. The top three countries are France (154), Italy (24), and the United States (14), accounting for 89.3% of the total foreign geographical indication trademarks registered in China.
 
 
4. Integrated circuit layout design
 
In 2021, 20,000 registration applications for integrated circuit layout design were received, up by 41.6% year-on-year. 13,000 certificates were issued, a year-on-year increase of 11.6%. Since the implementation of the Regulations on the Protection of Layout-designs of Integrated Circuits on Oct. 1st, 2001, a total of 66,000 registration applications for integrated circuit layout design have been received, and 52,000 certificates have been issued.
 
By the end of 2021, 24 revocation requests over integrated circuit layout design had been accepted, of which 4 were newly accepted in that year. A total of 18 cases were examined and concluded.
 
Date: June 6, 2022
Source: China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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