Chinese companies may have filed the most patents globally last year, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to breakthroughs in innovation, said Ryan McCarthy, the principal and chief representative at the Shenzhen office of intellectual property (IP) law firm Fish & Richardson.

He called for efforts to boost the quality of these filings.

“When you see more patents filings, that’s typically a very clear sign of innovation,” he told TechNode in an interview at TechCrunch Shenzhen 2019 on Monday.

“But the number of patents that are actually issued is probably a better sign of quality.”

The National Intellectual Property Administration of China, the country’s top patent office, received some 1.54 million patent applications in 2018, accounting for nearly half of total filings globally, according to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) report last month.

China’s rise to become top patent-filer worldwide coincides with the country’s push for complete technology self-reliance amid its ongoing trade conflict with the US.

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