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Patent Applications from Chinese Inventors Surpass U.S.

8 / 4 / 2024

In a significant shift, the latest data reveals that Chinese inventors have filed more international patent applications under PCT than their U.S. counterparts for the first time ever.

Patent filings are indicative of a nation's scientific and technological capabilities, with profound implications for economic and national security. According to a report from the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), Chinese inventors submitted approximately 68,600 patents through the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2022. This surpasses the roughly 58,200 applications from the U.S. during the same period.


Just to compare, in 2015, the U.S. held twice as many patent applications as China. However, by 2020, China had closed the gap, and then, in 2022, has exceeded U.S. patent filings. These figures attribute the divergent growth in economic and scientific development rates. China’s accelerated development contrasts with slower progress in other regions.

The report underscores the remarkable rise in AI-related patents, with China’s filings soaring from 650 in 2012 to over 40,000 in 2022. The U.S. also experienced significant increase, from around 920 to 9,400 patents during the same period, covering various AI techniques and applications across sectors.

However, concerns have been raised regarding the quality of patents, with some suggesting that China may systematically over-report patents, driven by financial incentives. While U.S. inventors still dominate in many areas, China’s rising influence underscores the increasingly competitive global landscape.


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