As of the end of last year, the number of valid invention patents in China totaled 697,000, including 351,000 belonging to domestic owners, according to an official statement issued Tuesday.
This is the first time that the number of valid domestic invention patents exceeded the number of invention patents in China owned by overseas right holders, said a statement jointly issued by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the National Copyright Administration at a press conference.
According to the statement, in 2011, China received 1.63 million patent application cases, and 526,000 involved invention patents, the kind bearing the most innovative value.
China's patent law provides that patents fall into three categories: invention; new design; innovative utility model.
As of the end of March this year, the total number of invention patent applications in China accumulated over the last 20 years stood at about 3 million, said SIPO Director Tian Lipu.
The patent application figure indicates growing public awareness of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in China, and the number of valid patents reveals the realistic market value of the granted patents, Tian said.
The fact that domestic patents have outnumbered overseas patents in China signifies that China has seen more vigorous domestic innovation, he said.
Furthermore, as of the end of 2011, China had received 9.71 million trademark registration applications, and the country led the world in valid registered trademarks by owning 5.51 million trademarks, the statement said.
However, China is still not a "strong country" in the international trademark competition, said Fu Shuangjian, deputy director of the SAIC.
China had over 50 million registered enterprises and small businesses by the end of last year, but only 5.51 million valid trademarks. Only about one in nine businesses owned its own trademark, indicating weak awareness about trademark protection, Fu said.
Also according to the statement, China has stepped up IPR protection with an intensified crackdown on IPR violations and counterfeit goods.
In 2011, police forces in China solved 43,550 cases in a special campaign combating IPR violations and counterfeit products, closing 32,573 illegal sites for such violations and arresting 54,658 criminal suspects.
Moreover, administrative agencies at all levels in China have dealt with 155,900 cases of related violations, and 1,702 cases were transferred to judicial agencies in 2011, the statement said.