As during the first round of research in 2012, the IAM team has approached this project from both quantitative and qualitative angles.

The quantitative side of the research sought to identify the most prominent Chinese companies from a filing and IP-owning perspective, as well as those that have seen significant IP-related activity in local and foreign courts. Although volume is not necessarily an indicator of quality, identifying the top patent filers and owners in terms of China State IP Office, US Patent and Trademark Office, Japan Patent Office, European Patent Office, Korea IP Office and Patent Cooperation Treaty applications has allowed us to pinpoint those entities which are seeking to establish a formidable IP presence on the global market.

Meanwhile, court activity  has served as an indicator of their commitment to asserting IP rights; albeit that plaintiff and defendant positions can, of course, suggest different things when it comes to assessing whether companies are engaging in constructive and sustainable use of intellectual property.

We have also looked at the outside advisers that rights holders use. Those prepared to invest in hiring top-tier domestic and international players are considered to have consciously prioritised quality of work above pricing issues. To us, this signals a recognition of intellectual property as an asset of primary importance.

The qualitative side of the research takes into account the recommendations and combined experience of domestic IP professionals and the overall global IP community. By interviewing in-house counsel, private practitioners and consultants based in China and elsewhere, we have been able to drill down into specific examples of IP best practice and obtain recommendations of  Chinese IP owners whose strategies merited further exploration.