Chinese companies increase number of tech patents awarded in US – Financial Times

What happened: According to data from IFI Claims, China was the only country whose number of US patents grew in 2018. Most of those applied to developments in computing and communications technology. China is also on track to beat Germany’s patent figures by as early as next year, although it still only accounted for 4% of all patents issued in the US in 2018. Phone-maker Huawei ranked 16th in terms of most patents filed, followed by fellow Chinese company BOE Technology.

Why it’s important: Current trade war tensions between China and the US center around accusations of IP theft, including forced technology transfers. Although the sheer number of patents filed doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of innovation, China’s figures do point towards a still-growing tech research and development scene. It also shows that Chinese companies are increasingly anxious to protect their intellectual property as they aspire to enter overseas markets.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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