China's agricultural patents: How has their value changed amid recent patent boom?

Li jun Liu, Cong Cao, Min Song

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Patent applications have surged in China over the past two decades. Has the application boom been accompanied by a simultaneous drop in the value (quality) of the patents? Our research examines this question by analyzing invention patents in agriculture. Using data from China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) for patents between 1985 and 2005 that had been granted before January 2011, we conduct duration analysis of patent life span and the length of patent renewal with the Weibull and Cox Proportional Hazard modeling respectively. The results show that the value of Chinese agricultural patents, measured by their life span and renewal length, has been improving, although foreign grants are still maintained significantly longer than domestic ones. For domestic grants, private entities, especially companies, are more likely to have a longer patent protection period than public entities. Furthermore, patent value varies significantly across different technological fields, with grants to inventions in complex and emerging technologies such as agricultural biotechnology and agricultural chemicals demonstrating higher value than others. The findings have implications for understanding the impacts of China's innovation policy on global patenting activities as well as China's innovation trajectory in agriculture and other sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-121
Number of pages16
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • China
  • Innovation
  • Patent
  • Survival analysis
  • Value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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