Chinese Manufacturers Told No Shortcut with Patent Lawsuits
Technology innovation is critical for the future of the printing consumables industry if it is to survive in China.
According to patent lawyer Helen Duan (pictured), innovation is the only key to avoiding patent disputes if aftermarket manufacturers are to prosper in the future.
Duan told over one hundred Chinese company leaders, “There is no shortcut to avoiding costly patent lawsuits.” Costly in terms of time and resources.
Duan, who is one of the best-known patent attorneys serving the printing consumables industry in China was speaking at the 2021 office supplies and printing consumables conference held during May in Zhongshan, China. She provided an analysis of the patent minefield in the printing consumables industry.
“Innovation or litigation,” Duan warned.
Duan recognized the achievements made by the domestic printing consumables industry in recent years. “Thanks to the unremitting efforts of many industry leaders and leading companies,” she said, “domestic consumables have developed step by step from the weakness of the past to the strengths of today, occupying a significant place in the world.”
According to Wisdombud’s database, as of November 30, 2018, there were 22,703 Chinese patent applications involving toner cartridges, of which 5,475 were domestic patent applications, accounting for 24.12% of all applications. Compared with the budding period of the technology in this field, the number of patent applications has increased from less than 50 per year to more than a hundredfold.
In terms of ink cartridges, according to the China Intellectual Property Office, China has 6,487 patents published, ranking third in the world. The top two are Japan and the United States. However, the proportion of original patents in China is 59.5%, which is higher than 37.7% in the United States. Since 2011, China’s annual applications in the field of ink cartridges have surpassed that of the United States, and in 2015 it has surpassed Japan, becoming the largest patent application country.
Speaking of future development, Duan suggested that domestic consumables companies should establish an intellectual property sharing platform, strengthen cooperation, share patented technology information, in order to jointly avoid patent risks.
“Enterprises can also conduct patent licensing and technology transfer to improve the use and management of intellectual property rights. Leading companies must have a sense of taking the lead and set an example for small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies should also be good at learning from existing successful experiences,” said Duan.
As a patent lawyer, Duan observed that domestic industry enterprises have stimulated creativity, showed a willingness to innovate and enhanced their awareness of intellectual property rights and understanding of patent minefields. It all paves the road for the sound development and progress of the industry.
Duan is also General Manager of Zhuhai Innopat Patent and Trademark Agency Co., Ltd.
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