Patent Filings Surge in China

Applications are rising by 20% a year on the mainland, a sign of growing concern for intellectual-property rights. But could they be trouble for multinationals?

Add one more item to the list of things being cranked out in huge volume in China these days: patent filings. That may come as a surprise to many, since the country has long been known for paying little heed to intellectual-property protection. According to recently released data, China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received 694,000 patent applications in 2007. That puts it far ahead of both the U.S., with 484,955 applications, and Japan, with 443,150.

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