In 1985 China put in place its first patent law. It acceded to the World Trade Organisation in 2000. As China’s presence on the economic global stage increases, its patent applications increase with its own patents and those from countries seeking patent protection in China. According to China’s State Intellectual Property Office, in 2007 China received more patent applications that any country (694,000). (The US had the second most applications (484,955), followed by Japan (443,150).
This article by Christine Kaemmer is a useful and well structured resource for those who need to research Chinese Patents and Utility Models. It’s written so that it’s accessible to non IP experts – and sensibly stresses the importance of using expert searchers for prior art work.