29 Nov
2019

Patents in Asia-Pacific 2019/2020: The new innovation battleground

Asia is more important than ever to global patent strategies. Leading practitioners detail the state of play in the region’s hottest jurisdictions

Asia is the centre of the IP world, accounting for two-thirds of all patent, trademark and industrial design applications filed last year according to WIPO. Its importance will only grow as Chinese companies – already the world’s most prolific patent filers – continue to mature and tech firms from emerging markets seek to replicate their remarkable IP rise. Thinking about the future of patents in Asia, three key jurisdictions stand out. First is China, which as mentioned has already attained numerical supremacy in the patent world. The attempt of its leaders to shift towards a system that emphasises quality is a major initiative that could reshape the innovation landscape but will this effort survive a major trade standoff in which IP protection has become a crucial point of contention? The second place that patent owners are studying much more carefully is India. The country is a major engine of innovation, home to research and engineering campuses for some of global tech’s biggest players. For all that, India’s own companies have generated only a small volume of patent output compared to their peers across the region. But improving patent office efficiency and an uptick in enforcement through the courts are increasingly giving India a bigger role to play in patent strategies. Finally, there is the vast untapped potential of Southeast Asian countries. As their economies mature and absorb more high-tech manufacturing, can they provide adequate IP protection to the tech giants that are increasingly relocating important parts of their supply chain there? To answer these and other pressing questions, IAM has reached out to some of the leading patent practitioners across the region. What follows are in-depth guides to the patent processes of China and India – an indispensable resource for anyone managing a global patent portfolio. We have also commissioned a broad overview of the situation in Southeast Asia, covering why you should think about filing there and whether your patents are worth the paper they are printed on. This Patents in Asia supplement is an excellent primer to some of the most important issues in intellectual property today.