The return of Chinese scientists and engineers who have worked abroad may be contributing to the growth of interest in intellectual property in the country, according to a recent whitepaper from law firm Alston & Bird.
The report points to the rapid growth of intellectual property awareness in the Chinese business sector in recent years. The State Intellectual Property Office in China now receives the third most invention patent applications in the world, according to the whitepaper.
The number of patent applications in China continues to grow at an annual rate of approximately 20 percent. Should current trends continue, China's SIPO will become the largest patent office in the world, the whitepaper states.
Growing interest in intellectual property may be contributing to China's rapid economic growth. The World Bank estimates that the Chinese economy grew by 10 percent in 2010.
According to the whitepaper, a "reverse brain drain" phenomenon may be contributing to the rapid increase in patent applications. Many Chinese scientists returning to their native country "bring with them the patent-protective ideologies they have cultivated abroad," the whitepaper suggests.
Intellectual property was a key topic of discussion during the recent visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao to the U.S. During Hu's visit, President Obama praised the Chinese government for taking steps toward greater enforcement of intellectual property rights.