Young Chinese companies are filing international patents on a large scale, according to a new research by Technische Universität München (TUM) research university in Europe and the Munich Innovation Group.
Industries are now heavily investing in their own intellectual property and innovation instead of copying from others has become the key policy of Chinese companies.
Huawei, a telecommunications company in China has established its European Research & Development headquarters in Munich and plan to employ engineers from Munich's universities.
BYD, an automotive enterprise in China has filed hundreds of intellectual property rights in Western countries. Another China based automobile company Chang'an Automobile (Group) Co Ltd is internationalizing its business in Russia, Brazil and Africa.
"For a long time, Chinese companies had a reputation for simply imitating their Western competitors. But the number of patent applications filed by them has increased heavily in recent years," said Dr. Philipp Sandner of TUM's chair for Strategy and Organization. "China has a large number of up-and-coming companies that are pursuing an aggressive internationalization strategy - but some of these companies are still barely known in Europe or the US," added Dr. Sandner.
Downturn of imitation strategy
The imitation strategy of Chinese companies is on a downturn and there is a strong rise in innovative activity in energy, chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries.
Although the majority of Chinese companies are operating in their domestic market, the number of distributed patent applications in Europe and North America over the last years indicates the growing importance of these markets.
Chinese organizations filed over 18,000 applications for European patents in 2012, according to the European Patent Office (EPO).
This number of filings represents 7.3% of all European patent applications in 2012, which places it at the 4th rank after the US (24.6%), Japan (20.1%) and Germany (13.3%).
Despite this growth in filings, the economists think Chinese firms will not be able to sustain the level of growth in their patent applications in long term. Doubts are also raised on these firms' ability to hold on to their rights if they are required to pay renewal fees each year.