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China's patent applications soar amid innovation drive

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- China's international patent applications soared to 8,000 cases last year -- the fifth most in the world -- as the country strives to promote independent industrial and technological innovation.

Applications totalled 103 in 1994, when the nation approved the Patent Cooperation Treaty of 1970 designed to protect inventions with a unified patent application procedures.

Gan Shaoning, a senior official with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), told a press conference Thursday China's promotion of intellectual property was in full swing last year when governments at all levels gave priority to independent innovation.

Independent innovation is key to boosting the nation's industry, Gan added.
Statistics from SIPO show China approved 582,000 of 977,000 domestic patent applications in 2009, up 41.2 percent year on year.

Gan said Chinese companies and individuals made up 50.9 percent of all domestically approved invention patents -- surpassing those from overseas for the first time.

Gan said the innovation drive's goal is to promote Chinese companies' focus on research and product quality to increase the number of internationally recognized Chinese brands.

A Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) blue paper released last year said the country should boost self-innovation rather than rely imports of technology.

Based on a CASS survey of 15 key domestic industries, the report said inadequate investment in research and development has held the nation back from industrializing faster.