The Chinese Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced today that approximately 100 million yuan ($14.65 million) will be made available to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) applying for patents abroad. According to one report,
SMEs, 95 percent of which are privately-owned, have played an increasingly important role in China's economy over the last several years. SMEs contribute to 60 percent of China's GDP, 50 percent of tax revenues, 68 percent of exports and 75 percent of new jobs every year, according to official statistics.
SMEs accounted for 66 percent of patent applications in China in 2008, but overseas is a different story.
Ma Hongya, an official from the Beijing Intellectual Property Bureau, told the Global Times that the Chinese firms applying for patents abroad are mainly large companies, and SMEs cannot afford to carry out the procedures and research an application requires.
In order to be eligible, patents must be in PCT format and must first be approved by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). State-owned enterprises will not eligible for the subsidy. Additionally,
[F]oreign patent application projects must either help exert China's industrial advantage and be internationally competitive; be expected to explore the international market or expand its international market share; or have patented products with an expected large capacity in the international market and good market prospects.
Under the proposed policy, the government will provide SMEs as much as 500,000 yuan ($73,238) for each patent application abroad.
Read People's Daily Online "Central government to subsidize foreign patent applications" (link)
See also, "MOF to support overseas patents" (link)