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China’s Nanotechnology Patent Landscape: An Analysis of Invention Patents Filed with the State Intellectual Property Office
Volume 6, Issue 4

Rachel Parker, University of California, Santa Barbara
Claron Ridge, University of California, Santa Barbara
Cong Cao, State University of New York
Richard Appelbaum, University of California, Santa Barbara

China is determined to become an “innovation-oriented” society, by adopting a development strategy that couples export-led growth with one that emphasizes the commercial potential of technological breakthroughs. Nanotechnology is one emerging technology in which China is currently investing substantial resources. To gauge the potential of China’s innovation in nanotechnology, the authors analyze nanotechnology-related patents filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office. There has been a significant increase in patents since 2000, with domestic applications increasingly surpassing foreign applications since that time. The authors find that most of the domestic patent applications were from Chinese institutions of learning, such as major universities and institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, while most of the foreign patents were from firms. This suggests that even though China is becoming globally important in nanotechnology-related research, its commercial potential has yet to be realized.

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