Contest searches for the latest high-value patents

Published on 05/07 2020  Source: China Daily


A patent that could have brought in more than $100 million has ended up a freely accessible reference for other companies due to a poorly drafted patent claim.

The patent, for drone navigation technology, is owned by a Chinese university. The patent has been referenced by more than 200 companies globally-including all major drone manufacturers-within just one year after it was filed. But it has never been transferred or licensed because a few small changes would render its narrowly scoped patent claim meaningless.

This was a case shared by Ma Tianqi at the Zhongguancun Intellectual Property Forum held online on April 23. He is the deputy general manager of the State Intellectual Property Operation Public Service Platform.

A high-value patent depends critically on quality patent documentation drafting, he said, citing the ubiquitous selfie stick that has survived more than 20 invalidation attempts because it is protected by a well-drafted patent application.

In terms of technology itself, Ma said "high-value technologies" do not necessarily mean great technological complexity or a big budget.

"They are the ones that are capable of being fully commercialized and utilized. Judging the value of technologies is a highly technical job that requires the discerning eye of well-trained IP strategists or agents," he noted.

Jin Qinxian, head of the Office of Technology Transfer at Tsinghua University, said at the forum that the university will evaluate every invention before deciding to proceed with a patent application.

"For those of greater value, the university will handle the filing and pay all the expenses. Inventions deemed less valuable can still be patented, but by the inventors themselves and at their own expense," he said.

To promote public dialogue on high-value patents and innovation, Beijing's Haidian district launched a high-value patent competition in 2018. The 2020 edition of the annual event kicked off at the Zhongguancun Intellectual Property Forum.

As a joint effort by the Haidian district government, the Haidian district intellectual property bureau and Intellectual Property Publishing House, the competition will last through August, with its awards ceremony scheduled to be held between September and October.

Its purpose is to discover innovative technologies featuring high-value patents and share ideas on how to identify, protect and commercialize high-value patents, according to the official website of the competition.

Tech projects from sectors including artificial intelligence, mobile internet, cloud computing, new materials and biomedicine will be favored in the solicitation stage of the 2020 edition.

Entries will be evaluated in terms of technological importance, patenting strategies and commercial viability. One of last year's winners was a medication used to treat strokes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most activities of the monthslong competition will be moved online. Interested teams anywhere in the country can register to enter the competition on its official website starting on April 27. The preliminary rounds will take place at the end of July with the finals held in August.

Lei Xiaoyun, head of IP utilization promotion at the National Intellectual Property Administration, said at the opening ceremony that the competition has become an important vehicle for promoting IP utilization and sharing ideas on how to cultivate high-value patents.

"The first two editions of the competition attracted an impressive number of entrants," she said. "A total of 46 teams from all across the country took home awards and quite a few of them secured new rounds of funding after the competition."

Deputy head of the Haidian district government Lin Jianhua said the district, as a national technology and innovation hub, places IP high on its agenda.

"Haidian district boasts more than 130,000 valid invention patents, accounting for 46.2 percent of Beijing's total," Lin said. "The number of invention patents per 10,000 citizens in the district is 405.3, 30.5 times the national average."(Source: China Daily)