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Drop in Chinese Utility Model Grants Accelerates in April 2023 in Shift from Quantity to Quality

Recently released data for April 2023 from China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) shows an acceleration in the drop of utility model grants. Cumulatively (from January through April 2023), utility model grants were down almost 37% year-on-year to 757,817 grants
and down over 70% in April 2023 to 268,331 grants versus April 2022. Utility model grants were down 21.7% to 600,206 grants in the first quarter of 2023 versus a year ago.  This drop, combined with an almost 3% increase in invention patent grants in the first third of 2023, seems to indicate China’s shift from quantity to quality and the continuing crackdown on abnormal (irregular) patent applications.

Data follows:

  2023(1-4) 2023(1-3) 2023(4) 2022(1-4) 2022(1-3) 2022(4) April Change Cumulative Change % April Change %Cumulative Change
Invention Patents 252541 162902 89639 245499 160671 84828 4811 7042 0.053670835 0.027884581
Utility Models 757817 600206 157611 1035288 766957 268331 -110720 -277471 -0.702489039 -0.366145125
Designs 245523 183325 62198 260781 170778 90003 -27805 -15258 -0.447040098 -0.062144891

CNIPA announced that it found 815,000 abnormal patent applications in 2021, of which over 90% had been withdrawn as of the time of the announcement.  CNIPA has also been fining patent agencies for filing abnormal patent applications including a record 2.49 Million RMB fine in June 2022. In 2023, CNIPA revoked the licenses of several patent agencies for filing abnormal patent applications.

The full dataset from CNIPA is available here: 2023(1-4) (Chinese only).

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Author:
Principal, and Director of China Intellectual Property Practice

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